Bull riding to remember Harty

Flying bull riders make for some serious sports action entertainment, but what about cowboys playing a game of Mexican bull soccer?

Flying bull riders make for some serious sports action entertainment, but what about cowboys playing a game of Mexican bull soccer?

These events and more will be part of what is to come at the 10th annual Jace Harty Memorial on June 20 at the Ponoka Stampede Grounds. One of the organizers, Bart Thompson, said this is the second year it has been hosted at the grounds and the memorial is a “good way to carry on his memory.”

Harty was a bull riding champion who died in a car accident at the age of 23 in 2002.

Part of the PBR Canadian Touring Pro circuit, organizers have for the first time added bucking steers to the event list. Thompson expects 30 of Canada’s top bull riders to compete in a panoply of bulls versus cowboys. Other events will include up-and-comers in the junior bull riding and steer riding.

Watch out for Mexican bull soccer as well. Organizers are putting a team together; a bull or two to shake things up for competitors. It is something to check out, explained Thompson, “if you want to see something different.”

A cabaret will close the day out with Kory Wlos as the entertainment. Thompson said Wlos is a friend of one of Harty’s teachers in Crestomere who has kept in touch with the family over the years.

“It’s a good evening of family entertainment,” Thompson said.

Planners will also be bringing bleachers right into the arena to give spectators a close look at the bull riding.

Proceeds from the event will go towards Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta, Ponoka Ag Event Centre, Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Challenge 2012, Brain Care Centre; and Broncs Rodeo Academy at Ponoka Composite High School.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, kids 12 and under are admitted free. Check out the website: www.jacehartymemorial.org.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

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