Ponoka Fish and Game to host 50th annual Rifleman’s Rodeo

This first ever Ponoka Fish and Game Rifleman's Rodeo, and its upcoming 50th anniversary, highlighted in Reflections this week.

Shown here is the official program of the first annual Ponoka Fish and Game Association Rifleman’s Rodeo/Sportsman’s Show and trading day that was held on Sept. 4

Shown here is the official program of the first annual Ponoka Fish and Game Association Rifleman’s Rodeo/Sportsman’s Show and trading day that was held on Sept. 4

In 1955 the hunters and avid sportsmen and women of the town and county teamed together to form the Ponoka Fish and Game Association (PFGA).

They were passionately dedicated to the keen support, protection, and maintenance of our precious fish and wildlife population and environment, and over the years this very active club has thrived and steadily increased their membership to over 900 and counting.

During those very busy and exciting six plus decades the PFGA has built lakes and kept them stocked with fish, established pristine natural areas for game birds and wildlife cover, as well as being a longstanding member of the Alberta Fish and Game Association and an active supporter of the high standards of their vital provincial programs. Along the way the keen and strong participation of this local club has included countless annual projects and events in the area, highlighted by the establishment of the magnificent Lake Pofianga Recreation and Conservation camp north-west of Ponoka, where thousands of children and adults from near and far have been trained in hunting and fishing, while learning the best principals of sportsmanship and safety.

The PFGA Rifleman’s Rodeo

As well as hosting an ever-growing list of projects and programs in and around our Ponoka town and county districts the local Fish and Game Association also features the annual gala presentation of over 30 game trophies to the winners of the season’s annual big game and fish competitions as well as the perfectly natural outdoor summer camping experiences for training and family activities, canoeing, fishing derbies, turkey shoot, toboggan rally, rifle range, and so many other functions for all ages, occasions, and causes.

One of the early milestone events for our Ponoka Fish and Game Association was the first annual Rifleman’s Rodeo/ Sportsman’s Show/trading day, which was held on Sunday-Sept. 4, 1966 at the Bowie farm south of Ponoka. The primary objective of this exciting competition is an education in conservation as well as a most unique opportunity for hunters of all ages to subject his and her abilities and equipment to a rigid test of marksmanship prior to entering the regular hunting season. Life-size pop-up targets of a bear, antelope, rabbit, fox, sheep (and others) appear in outdoor natural settings, at which the participants shoot in order and are scored on the basis of kill potential. The rifles and equipment used in this enjoyable weekend family event are restricted to those normally used in the field, with a strong belief that straight shooting always affords less lost game as well as serving a vital role in both the conservation of our big game species as well as the vital safe practises of all hunters.

From that very first Ponoka Fish and Game Rifleman’s Rodeo in September of 1966, the element of success, fellowship, and growth of the family event has been totally overwhelming. Avid sportsman of all ages from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the North West Territories, the United States, and other locations have returned year after year to join fellow Albertans, guests, and large crowds of spectators to a unique marksmanship experience as well as a fabulous weekend of friendly hospitality and special family activities such as ‘The Hunter’s Ball,’ and so much more. In the early years of the Rifleman’s Rodeo some improvements in program, mechanics, and rules were made, which included the introduction of events for ladies, seniors, juniors, 12 and under, and family shoots, with all vying for a handsome array of prizes, which have always been kindly provided by the Association and a host of local sponsors.

In the 1970s the Ponoka Fish and Game Rifleman’s Rodeo was relocated to the pristine and spacious Lake Pofianga natural area, where it has proudly been the feature September long weekend attraction for 50 memorable years. To honour the milestone anniversary and grand traditions of this long-standing, popular, and very successful Rifleman’s Rodeo tradition on Sept. 2 to 4 a great weekend of shooting and social activities for competitors, guests, and spectators is being planned. As well as the host club many of the original and long-standing members and families of the 72 year old association will be on hand for the gala celebration, which will also include a pig roast, dance, and tours of the newly renovated clubhouse and facilities. The public is always welcome, and everyone is urged to mark their calendars and watch for more information on tickets, camping, and all sorts of family activities.


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