Cattle roping has a home in Perth County

  • Community   Fri, Jul 1st, 2022   Gary West
Cody McGonigle demonstrating the art of cattle roping at their farm in North Easthope township.

Cody McGonigle demonstrating the art of cattle roping at their farm in North Easthope township.

By Gary West
With the annual Calgary Stampede just around the corner, we found a cowboy and cowgirl in North Easthope Township in Perth county, that could sometime in the future also be competing on the world stage. Cody, 23, and sister Ally McGonigle, 22, put on a steer roping show for this writer last week that would make any cowboy cheer with excitement. According to their mother, Susan, they both started riding ponies at the age of 2 or 3 and started showing at local fairs and the Stratford and District Saddle Club in both the English and western divisions.
Cody got his start roping off a pony named Tina, but moved on to his home bred horse, Dusty Nevada Joe, as he got older. He got his start in roping at John Thomson’s farm on the outskirts of Stratford. He joined the high school rodeo team and made the finals that year in Wyoming, where he competed against other high school kids from Canada, the USA, and Australia. Cody spent the summer at Sid Cooks’ Ranch in Nanton, Alberta, training horses and cattle ranching with the horse trainer that was raised in North Easthope township in Perth county himself.
McGonigle then won a full rodeo scholarship to Olds College in Alberta and he started competing in the Dodge Ram rodeo circuit and the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) circuit. He made the finals in the Ram rodeo in 2017 and he continues to compete in the IPRA circuit and at “jackpots.”
In 2019, he and his sister built a rodeo Arena on their parents' farm and in 2020 purchased longhorn cattle and some calves to hold roping practices. In 2021, the brother-sister pair purchased longhorn x Corriente’ cattle for roping practice and stock contracting. They also started training their own young horses and now are taking in horses on contract to train for other horse enthusiasts. Cody has been called out by farmers in the area to rope cattle who might have escaped from their barn or feedlot to the bushes and hills of the township. He has become well known in the Perth County area for bringing most of those cattle back home again through his roping skills.
Cody will say that he couldn’t do it without his sister Allys’ help, because he said she’s almost like a “horse whisperer” and gets along so well with their brood mares and the colts their mares are raising. The pair work on their skills of roping and riding every evening after work, and said it takes continuous practice just like any athlete would do, to continually improve their skill level.