When it looked like the Permit Finals Challenge wasn’t going to happen as part of the 2020 WNFR, Debbie Neely started working her magic. “We’ve […]
Profile: Wild Time Productions
Although he retired from his bronc riding career at a young age, a career in rodeo is exactly the life Sylvain Bourgeois has enjoyed for the past 25-plus years. As the co-owner of Wild Time Productions and 2 Wild Ranch, Sylvain also works as the rodeo manager for the renowned Festival Western Saint-Tite, held in Quebec, Canada each September; and he has been instrumental in the growth and development of the sport of rodeo across Canada. “I started riding broncs as a 15-year-old in 1985 and loved it. However, the distance you had to travel back then was great and you often spent 50-60 hours a weekend traveling between rodeos. Although I sometimes regret letting go of bronc riding, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, I love what I’m doing. I was still riding broncs in 1995 when I was hired by the festival, but once I started Wild Time Productions with a friend in 2000, I decided to focus on producing rodeos.” When Sylvain began producing rodeos, there were only about 5 or 6 in the province. Within 5 years, that number had increased to over 12 rodeos each season, and after working with the festival as the rodeo manager all these years, the numbers have steadily multiplied and there are now over 40 rodeos in the province for cowboys and cowgirls to compete. “In 2005, my partner decided to go a different direction, so I bought him out and ran things alone for a few years before selling half of the company to the festival in 2008. They had the office, accounting and marketing to offer me, and I was able to promote rodeos for them. It has been a wonderful partnership and things have grown incredibly for us both.”
In 1997, Sylvain married Tania Daudelin, a barrel racer from strong barrel racing lineage. A close friend, Gary Seutter, gave Sylvain and Tania a bucking horse, Wedding Band, as a wedding gift. “I bought 5 more bucking horses to go with him and started having rodeos in 2000 so that I had places to buck my horses. At the time I wanted to raise bucking horses, but we had too many rodeos and an immediate need for horses; so my partner, Eric Desjardins and I partnered and found land and started buying bucking horses from wonderful contractors all over north America. Ten years ago, we started our breeding program and we currently own approximately 60 to 70 horses. We have horses we’ve bred that are ready to buck right now, so having all of the rodeo cancellations this season has been overwhelming.” Sylvain leases all timed-event stock and bucking bulls for the rodeos he produces. Sylvain and Tania have two sons, Micheal, 30, who has worked for the past 10 years in Wild Time Productions as a sound man and DJ: and Zach, their 20-year-old bull and bronc rider.
In 1999, Sylvain produced his very first International Professional Rodeo Association co-sanctioned rodeo and has produced only IPRA first-sanctioned rodeos ever since. The relationship with IPRA has led to many positive changes for rodeo in Canada. The IPRA Canada branch started out with 100 members and has grown to over 700 members attending over 40 rodeos across Ontario and Quebec in the IPRA Canada circuit. The Festival Western St-Tite is now a 10-day event that draws over 600,000 spectators and visitors to the area as well as the top cowboy and cowgirl competitors across Canada and the United States. Although they’ve had to cancel the event in 2020, they have plans for a virtual Festival Western St-Tite, with 10 days of performances being aired on the Wrangler network, and virtual concerts, dance lessons, and other exciting events available on an online platform. “It’s a way that we can still keep in contact with the fans, partners, volunteers, and the cowboys and cowgirls. In 2021, we will celebrate the 53rd event. I look forward to life getting back to normal and getting back out there to all the committees that are a part of our family. It is hard not seeing them all summer, but we look forward to working with them and making their events successful in the future.”