Lyle Brown is a horseman through and through and it is no surprise that he was voted this year’s inductee into The Virden Indoor Rodeo Horsemen’s Hall of Fame.
This honour is bestowed upon people who have made a significant contribution over the years to the horse industry in the Virden area.
“He has a lot of rodeo depth,” says rodeo committee member, Dr. Everett More. “Lyle has followed in his father’s footsteps breeding, training, exhibiting, promoting and organizing for the Percheron breed.”
Brown’s father Ken and grandfather Cecil, before him were also honoured in the Horseman’s Hall of Fame.
Lyle Brown, a father and grandfather of four has followed in his ancestors footsteps and he is leaving a legacy which his own offspring are taking up.
back in the day when everyone had horses, Brown’s great grandfather, Davey was involved with standard bred racers. He used to work with the soured, problem horses, bringing them back to usefulness.
Ken Brown launched the family into Percheron breed.
Lyle’s not that old, but, as a youngster, he and siblings Les and Brenda got to school on horseback. “I rode to Ravine School for my first four years, six miles one way,” he recalls with a grin. “Of course we rode bareback.” Riding a 13.2 hh pony he recalls, “If you fell off it was hard to get back on.”
At the age of 16 and just out of grade 11, Brown was off to ride PFRA pasture for a summer that turned into several years. He soon began rodeo roping.
The farm in the R.M. of Woodworth, a beautiful location on the edge of the Assiniboine Valley, became home for the family in 1975. Located near Ken Brown’s, this property had been grandfather Cecil Brown’s.
Lyle received a PMU contract and was in production by 1976. At that time he spent all day, every day in the out-door arena training horses and roping. In 1982 the indoor riding arena was built.
He did enough bareback riding to quality for ‘all around cowboy’ competition, but tie-down and team roping were his events.
“Rodeo has treated me awfully well,” he concedes and has rows of trophy saddles and buckle awards as well as three horse trailers wins to prove it.
On his first rodeo card with the MRCA in 1979, he was named rookie of the year. By 1976 he was highpoint cowboy in the Selkirk rodeos. He went on to win 12 year-end championships, accumulating calf roping and high point awards.
He has retired from the rodeo spotlight; 2004 was the last year he qualified for finals, receiving a ‘runner-up; award.
The world of Percherons was calling, says Brown. “When Dad slowed down from showing…that made me switch gears. I couldn’t do a good job rodeoing and showing. I’m fairly competitive.”
Attending the World Percheron Show in 1998 marked the start of some very big wins and the Brown Percherons came home with Champion Cart Mare.
In the 2004 World Percheron Congress in Brandon, Brown’s wife, Kathy rode “July Bliss’ to the English riding championship.
‘Des Moines World Percheron Congress 2010’ was the biggest show ever, where Brown teamedc up with Gord Ruzicka (AB) to show their percherons. Between the two showmen they were in the top 10 in all but two classes, amongst a field of 18 to 62 entries.
‘July Halt’ was Supreme Champion Gelding and Supreme of the show recently.
It’s important to note that Brown’s Percherons were home grown. They currently breed for 10 of their own studs.
The rodeo horses were all ‘home made’ and Brown says his family and wife Kathy, a top barrel racer, also train all their own mounts.
All of the family are very interested in the horse world, both rodeo and draft. “It’s not just a business, it’s our hobby. That’s part of why the kids have stayed in it.”
“Dad was my biggest mentor,” he says, recalling Ken’s words, “The only thing better than a good little horse is a good big horse.”
This horseman realizes that he has made friends all over North America.
He started in an advisory capacity with the Virden Indoor Rodeo in 1988, when it began, and by 1990 he was on the board. Soon afterward he chaired the umbrella committee.
Now on the board as a director at large, he says “I’m a lifer.”
He has served as vice-president of the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association (MRCA), chair of their ‘finals’ committee and president of the Team Ropers.
He has served on the Manitoba Percheron and Belgian Club, Manitoba Penwoods Draft Horse Futurity since it’s inception and is currently co-chair of the NAERIC Draft Horse Classic.
Brown has judged draft horses as far away as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as well as local shows.
Brown reveals the importance of the horse world in his life, stating, “They say Virden is the ‘Oil Capitol’, but it’s the horse capital.”
|2016 AWARD||Jim and Elaine Hyde|
|2015 AWARD||Rick and Paddy White|
|2014 AWARD||Doug Sexsmith|
|2013 AWARD||Geraldine Fowler|
|2012 AWARD||Morris Clarke|
|2011 AWARD||Lyle Brown|
|2010 AWARD||Darrell Nolan|
|2009 AWARD||Sherald Joynt|
|2007 AWARD||Donna Hunter|
|2006 AWARD||Wilf Dryden / Murray Peel|
|2005 AWARD||Betty Joseph / Don Gee|
|Ron & Merle Coleman||Arnie Andrews||Ray Dryden|
|Dino Fontana||Ken Brown||Don Brown|
|Don Brown||Bea Lowe||Wilf Van Loo|
|Bob and Arlene Ross||Jack and Carol Forsyth||Betty Joseph|
|Wilf Dryden||Donna Hunter||Darryl Nolan|
|Orville Fowler||John Clarke||Bill and Pearl Brown|
|Lloyd Robinson||Stu Taylor||George Sproat|
|Ken Horn||Vern MacFarlane||Bill and Gail McQuaker|
|Ed Page||Don and Marg Gee||Murray Peel|
|Cecil Brown||Sherald Joynt||Lyle Brown|