By Tiffany Williams
Two very important and special presentations were made during the 72nd annual Ponoka Stampede.
Wayne Vold received the Bill Kehler award, which is given each year by the Ponoka Stampede Association in honour of rodeo announcer Bill Kehler who announced in Ponoka for over 25 years. It is given to a cowboy, cowgirl or chuckwagon person who best demonstrates these qualities: leadership, guidance, sportsmanship, promotion and most importance dedication to the sport of rodeo or chuckwagon racing. These are what Kehler stood for.
“I’m very humbled to win this award. I knew Bill very well and when I was trying to record records he would spin mine,” said Vold after receiving the award. “I was totally shocked and I had no idea that it was happening.”
Ponoka Stampede Association president Blake Butterfield said that the Vold family has been involved in rodeo for years and that Vold is an asset to the sport.
“He was very deserving to win it and there is a lot of history there and he does a great job for us,” said Butterfield.
Vold and Jerry Sinclair were also inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame during the stampede.
“I’m honoured and humbled to be recognized for bronc riding,” said Vold. “They ask you where you want to receive your plaque and my favourite rodeo is the Ponoka Stampede. It is a well oiled machine, it’s big and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Vold has a very colourful and interesting rodeo career including winning the junior steer championship at the Calgary Stampede in 1958. He also finished fourth in the saddle bronc event in 1963 and 1964. The next two years he was the Canadian saddle bronc champion. He became a stock contractor in 1965 and this year will supply 17 rodeos. He has 110 horses and 55 bulls, 35 bareback horses and 40 saddle bronc horses. He is also a great singer and sang the national anthem during the stampede.
Sinclair made rodeo history in 1970 when he was the North American saddle bronc champion at the Calgary Stampede, rookie of the year and the Canadian saddle bronc rider of the year. No other cowboy has won all of these awards all in one year and the record still stands. The Stettler cowboy qualified for the Canadian Finals rodeo in 1974, 1981 and 1984 and for the Calgary Stampede 11 out of 13 years that he competed.
Sinclair was also very pleased and honoured to be inducted into the hall of fame.
“They both left their mark in rodeo and they were successful at what they did. It is an honour to be inducted in and the fact that they choose to be inducted at Ponoka is a feather in our cap. They like to do it here and we have had quite a few do it here as well,” said Butterfield.
Sinclair was an exceptional cowboy when he competed and is a pretty good guy and Vold produces a better rodeo than anyone Butterfield knows.
Both men are fine cowboys who have carried on the western tradition with pride and dedication and gracefully accepted their honours.