Bashaw artist Laurie Hall created a work of poultry art for the Cowboy Kicks event held in Red Deer March 18. ECA Review/Submitted Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 11:00 Apr 09, 2022

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Bashaw artist has been boosted by artistic efforts to help rodeo cowboys, and it’s all due to chickens on cowboy boots.

Bashaw artist Laurie Hall recently took part in Cowboy Kicks, a special fundraising event to benefit the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team (CPRSMT) Fri. March 18 in Red Deer, which centred on purpose-built fibreglass cowboy boots to be auctioned off. Hall’s efforts raised $7,000 for the rodeo charity.

Hall has been involved in art since high school and has been an active member of the Bashaw Art Club since moving to the central Alberta town in 2015. 

An artist who’s had plenty of self-instruction, she said she works mostly in acrylics with some water colours and added she’s too impatient to work with oils.

Cowboy Kicks was an evening of art, entertainment and benefit at Westerner Park, although the COVID pandemic delayed the event more than once. 

Hall stated she was flattered to be offered a chance to paint for the event. 

The auction was planned to benefit CPRSMT, a group that helps rodeo athletes with their health. 

“The team strives to help athletes in their rodeo careers by providing pre-event care and treatment, acute injury arena coverage, crisis control and post-event care and follow up,” noted CPRSMT social media.

Hall stated her interest was piqued when she noticed a callout for artists for the Cowboy Kicks event on social media. Hall sent the organizers a selection of her work that induced animals and cars and “…they said they really liked my chickens,” said Hall in a phone call March 31, adding that organizers offered her the unusual opportunity to paint a large boot.

After artists were recruited organizers decided to have six four and a half foot boots painted along with 12 smaller boots as the highlight items of the auction. 

Hall noted planning out images for the boot was one challenge, but just getting the huge fibreglass footwear home was another. “It barely fit in the back of my car,” she said. 

The boots were custom made in Sylvan Lake for the event and weren’t heavy to carry but were rather awkward.

The artist said she was inspired to create her boot design with a chicken romance, and benefited from the input of other Bashaw artists, which she greatly values. 

Hall became so immersed in her cowboy boot project she’d wake up in the middle of the night with ideas, including which colours to use and how to get leather details on the boot. But the boot definitely had a fowl story to tell. “I knew I was going to put the chickens on,” she said.

The artist noted that the night of the auction was a bit nerve-wracking for her, as she wasn’t sure people would appreciate the wry humour of her work, but those worries were unfounded. Hall was very happy to see her boot sell at auction for $7,000 which had been offered in a package with a romantic weekend getaway.

After all was said and done Cowboy Kicks raised about $300,000 for  CPRSMT.

Hall added she was honoured to help with such a worthy cause and loves to contribute as a way to help other people.

She noted that art lovers of all kinds should mark down May 1 on their calendar, that’s when the Bashaw Art Club will hold their charity benefit sale.

One Cowboy Kicks experience Hall said she will remember is the accomplishment of seeing her work sell at the auction for a final bid of almost double the package value.

Seeing the final tally of her boot’s price brought one reaction from the artist: “…crying my eyes out, just absolutely sobbing,” added Hall.

This item reprinted with permission from the East Central Alberta Review, Coronation, Alberta