Bell Memorial - Inducted 2018
Dianne Finstad specialized in rodeo and agriculture coverage for decades. She began her career in 1981at CKRD-TV and Radio in Red Deer. Her award-winning TV programs “This Business of Farming” and “Makin’ 8" were enjoyed by many Western Canadians. Dianne regularly covered the Canadian Finals Rodeo for TV, radio, and print, as well as the Calgary Stampede for CBC Television and reported from the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. She co-hosted Shaw’s broadcast of the Ponoka Stampede for five years. Dianne was a regular contributor to Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine, Canadian Rodeo News, and the Red Deer Advocate.
Dianne was born and raised on a southern Alberta ranch near Manyberries. She watched rodeo events from a young age and her interest in the sport and agriculture set the foundation for her broadcasting and writing career. Dianne attended Lethbridge Community College and graduated in 1981 with a Diploma in Radio Arts and Broadcast Journalism. She continued to perfect her trade at CKRD Radio and TV, where she worked for 25 years. As a news anchor and a reporter, Dianne covered stories of urban and rural news and life in Central Alberta. As the Ag Director, her coverage of Western Canada's rural community was second-to-none.
On the show “This Business of Farming”, Dianne travelled and interviewed countless individuals and families with professionalism using her knowledge of agriculture which endeared her as a host. Dianne also hosted seven seasons of “Makin’ 8” at CKRD-TV, which aired the first televised coverage of the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR). A constant on the rodeo circuit, Dianne covered the stories of the cowboys, the infield events, and the chuckwagon races.
Terri Mason with Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine wrote, “Her personable, upbeat interview style, deep knowledge of rodeo and chuckwagon racing and pure enthusiasm has won her a legion of fans.”
Dianne joined Newcap Radio from February 2007 to May 2012 as the Agriculture and Rodeo Director were she provided daily farm reports and regular rodeo coverage. She was well known for providing behind the scenes interviews of the rodeo cowboys behind the chutes.
“Her knowledge of each event is vast and she seems to know everyone in the field which made her reports factual and informative […] She gives the cowboys and cowgirls a chance to talk about their sport and get some of the spotlight reserved for the mainstream sports.”
- Jim Claggett, Freelance Sports Writer & past Producer with Shaw TV Red Deer
Dianne became a Freelance Reporter/Writer in 2012. Her focus remained on agriculture and rodeo projects and she continued to be a regular contributor to numerous publications such as Horses All and Canadian Rodeo News. She has written for the Calgary Stampede for many years and in 2012, began providing daily rodeo highlight blogs for the Stampede’s website. She was also a regular part of the crew for the CFCW live radio broadcasts for the CFR.
Throughout the years, Dianne has been a Master of Ceremonies and a sought-after guest speaker for many agricultural and rodeo functions, including the Advancing Women in Agriculture conferences.
Dianne received the Bill Kehler Award in 2010 from the Ponoka Stampede Association for her dedication to promoting the sport of rodeo. In 2009, she was awarded a trophy buckle from the Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Lethbridge College in 1995, was made an honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists in 1997 and the Alberta Human Ecology and Home Economics Association in 2010. She was also active in the Alberta Farm Writer’s Association and strongly supported 4-H for the development of agriculture in youth. Dianne became a member of the Red Deer Westerner Board in 2018, when the CFR moved to Red Deer’s Westerner Park.