CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News
It may not have been Folsom Prison but central Alberta’s Gord Bamford was singing the blues after he was thrown in the ATB Financial Outlaw Roundup jail.
The June 30 event saw RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm rounding up local celebrities who were sentenced by a judge to raise money for the Ponoka Splashpark before being allowed to go free.
“We raised just over $17,000 for the Ponoka Splashpark,” said Marvin Beier, business manager at ATB Financial in Ponoka.
In years past the roundup has donated money to Ponoka Victim Services and the Youth Centre but this year Beier felt the chance to work with other local service groups on a project that will help the community was too good to pass up.
“We decided they were going to be a really good partner to work with. The splashpark is made up of people from the Lions Club, the Kinsmen Club and the Kinettes and it was going to benefit the whole community,” said Beier. “It is something that benefits everybody. It helps kids out directly and is a place for families to go to spend time together.”
The biggest name in the jail was Bamford but it was Patrick Lentz, from Almita Piling Inc., who pulled in the most amount of money. Beier was quick to point out it wasn’t a competition and thanked all of the volunteers who donated their time and resources to the roundup.
“Everybody participated and it takes a lot of work in advance to make sure people are calling up their contacts so they can get out of jail,” said Beier. “The morning itself is a lot of fun.”
Beier was impressed with how some of the outlaws really took it upon themselves to raise funds for the park.
“Some of them didn’t want to leave jail. They kept wanting to raise more and phone more and more people,” he said. “It is such a community effort and we couldn’t do it without the support of the community.”