Competing in rodeos as a way of staying in shape in the off season is not exactly what the Canadiens had in mind when they presented Carey Price with his off season fitness program.

The team relented when Price said he would limit his participation to the Team Roping competition.

He debuted July 11th at the B.C. Rodeo Association event at his hometown of Anahim Lake.  Against 35 other teams Price and his partner Virgil Poffenroth roped a steer in 7 seconds flat to take first place money of $634.27 each.   It’s a long way from the big money of an NHLer, but in this case Carey would tell you, it’s more than the money. 

Price made it two victories in a row at a BCRA event two weeks ago at Nemiah Valley near Williams Lake.  Agaisnt 24 other teams, the team was able to bring their steer down in 15.4 seconds.  This time first place money for Carey and his partner was $300.30 each.

In the team roping  event, one rider is responsible for putting a rope around the steer’s head while the other goes for a hind leg.  They’re designated in rodeo jargan as “headers” and “heelers”.  Price is a “heeler”, meaning he must put the rope around the steer’s hind leg. (see rules below)

Price and his partner competed together again eight days ago at the Chilliwack Rodeo in B.C.’s Fraser Valley. Price failed to register a point but, according to the Chilliwack times, Carey made a lot of friends.  After competing in three of the ten scheduled events so far, Price ranks 6th in the BCRA rookie of the year standings with a total of $934.52 in prize money. 

Price is not the first member of the Canadiens to be involved in western rodeo competition.  Left winger Perry Turnbull, who played 40 games with the Habs during the ’83-’84 season after being acquired in the trade that sent Doug Wickenheiser, Gilbert Delorme and Greg Paslawski to the St. Louis Blues, is said to have competed in his off-seasons.

Here are the rules of the Team Roping Rodeo Event.

The header’s job is to give the steer a head start advantage and starts from a box, behind the barrier rope. If the header breaks the barrier rope, ten seconds is added to the final time. Once the steer has reached the advantage point, header catches the steer either by the horns, neck, or a combination of the one horn and the neck. After dallying his rope, the header will then turn the steer to the left for the heeler. The heeler will then move in and attempt to rope the steer’s hind feet. A five second penalty is accessed if only one hind foot is roped. Time stops when both the header’s horse and the heeler’s horse are facing each other and there is no slack in the ropes