The long-standing Ponoka Fish and Game Association will be proudly celebrating a little of ‘the old and the new’ this coming weekend — Sept. 2 to 4 — when they play host to the gala 50th anniversary of their traditional, and always exciting, Rifleman’s Rodeo at Lake Pofianga.
This classic rifle shooting competition featuring elusive wildlife targets set amongst natures finest has been staged in a great family atmosphere among friends and keen marksman of all ages for five decades, and everyone is invited to join in on the action, special events and camaraderie that will ‘blast off’ in just a few days.
The humble beginnings of this popular event came from way back in the 1960s, when a group of avid hunters doing some target practise up on ‘Chicken Hill’ decided that it was time to organize an annual rifle competition at which Fish and Game members, families and guests could take part.
Their very first Rifleman’s Rodeo was held in 1966 on the September long weekend at the Bowie farm, south of Ponoka, and over a half century has grown rapidly in popularity, drawing hundreds of competitors from the local area, throughout the province and beyond.
When a five-acre parcel blessed with lush rolling countryside, trees, wildlife and a pristine pond just northwest of Ponoka was donated to the thriving local Fish and Game Association — many members, families and volunteers came together to start adding many amenities.
A new challenging shooting range would become the new home of the annual Rifleman’s Rodeo in 1976, and over the years, countless other major improvements have been made to the pristine 200 acre natural area. This includes renovations to the clubhouse and a remodeled kitchen, as well as the addition of a lodge and cabins, the ongoing care and maintenance of the campground, the stocking of the lake and much more.
The Ponoka Fish and Game Association has always been very active and dedicated to their ongoing training, instruction and education programs of conservation. This has included playing host to hundreds of youth and adults at popular summer camps, hunter safety seminars, archery, canoeing and many other year round events.
The 300-plus member Ponoka Fish and Game Association also has property in the Gull Lake and Chain Lake areas, which they have also developed and will continue to promote more activities that are all dedicated to the preservation and safety of our precious environment and species.
Great weekend promised
The Ponoka Fish and Game Association are really excited about the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Rifleman’s Rodeo competition this weekend at Lake Pofianga, which will also serve as an exciting reunion for many past participants as well as early and former long-standing members and competitors from the past, their families, alumni and special guests.
The keen and exciting Rifle competition for the junior and senior participants will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 2) followed by a noon shootout for a chance to win a new hunting rifle.
In the evening, there will be a fabulous pit-roasted pig and smoked beef barbecue, special events and a glorious fireworks display.
The youth, men, women and team rodeo competitions will continue throughout Sunday and Monday and will close with the presentation of prizes in all categories.
Everyone is welcomed to attend this historical 50th Anniversary celebration of the Ponoka Fish and Game Rifleman’s Rodeo.
Tickets are limited for the Saturday meal and those wishing to take part or need more information on the event are urged to get in touch with Leonard Davis at (403) 588-2834 or Todd Nabozniak at (403) 888-6254 as soon as possible.