Hog Root 43 was held this past weekend, July 15 to 17, at the Calumet Curling Club, east of Ponoka. The Ponoka Piston Poppers car club hosted the event.
There were cars and campers from Calgary, Nanton, Strathmore, Stettler, Bashaw, Ferintosh, Enwistle, Millet, Armena, Lacombe, and Red Deer. When you hold an event that’s this much fun and organized so well people are willing to make the drive. Lots of old friends meet every year and make new ones over the weekend.
Calumet Curling Club is maintained by Dan and Linda from Ponoka Fertilizer. All of the grass is mowed nicely for parking the cars and campers. The small dining area in the hall and the kitchen filled to capacity with cooks are tidy and capable of serving a large group. They also bring a shelter to surround the bonfire and get the wood up for it. With some hardy nighttime camaraderie the fires can be big and go late.
Friday night a few of the fellows get together and do some deep frying. This year it was wings and spiral cut potatoes along with some beers and peanuts in the shell for snacks. Piston Poppers came and went accepting registrations and selling T-shirts. It was a chance to relax before the work on Saturday.
The “hog” was a 130 pound dressed pig from Family Meats in Ponoka, that went on the barbeque/smoker at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Bobby and helpers baby that pig all day and the smell keeps people coming back over for a peek when he lets them. The pig is pulled and served at suppertime with all the trimmings. Bob Ronnie catered the salads and desserts. The fellows boiled up some corn and we had baked potatoes and beans to boot. It was an absolutely delicious meal plated up by club members and volunteers after a hard day of cruising.
The cruise. Oh my! It was suggested this year that it be called “The Divorce Cruise.” It was 125 kilometers of directions to drive and questions to answer. You need to know left from right. You need to be able to count. You need to be able to spell. You need to be specific. You need to be able to do all of this on the fly in a hotrod, in writing that’s readable by someone other than yourself.
Sigh. It also helps to have a driver who is good at u-turns when you can’t read something at 100KPH. The cruisers made stops in various places along the route for lunch, libations and ice-cream. These included Mirror, Alix, Ferintosh, and Bashaw.
Twenty-five questionnaires went out with cars, although some didn’t take one preferring to follow along without the writing. 10 questionnaires came back to be marked.
Doug and I won the prize for the cruise: a nice bottle of wine and a wine glass, mostly thanks to Doug’s u-turn skills and someone who deciphered my chicken scratches. I am waiting on the divorce tally. Just after supper the 50-50 was drawn and Dan Churchill won an undisclosed amount.
As mentioned, supper was grand and during that time we also had the annual Hog Root thunderstorm. It seems to make a regular Saturday night appearance. People piled into the hall to eat and then the rains came … along with pea-sized hail and wind.
Luckily most had seen the black clouds coming and had prepared; awnings down and such. We were very lucky in only having the pea-sized hail and no hot rods or campers were damaged. West of Calumet towards Ponoka the hail was much bigger and more damaging.
Many members lost crops and sustained damage to their homes, vehicles and livelihoods. Pictures went around the campfire that night of the devastation the storm caused in the community.
Sunday morning the fellas treated all of the campers to a pancake breakfast to wind up the weekend. Pancakes and eggs, ham and home fried potatoes with onion and mushroom rounded out the menu with lots of coffee to recover from the night before. Delicious! Then it was time to clean up, pack up and say goodbyes for another year.
The Ponoka Piston Poppers do different events around the community of Ponoka and surrounding communities. They provide support and entertainment in different ways, such as the parade for seniors. They also respond to requests from the community and donate to some causes.
Part of their mandate is first to promote interest in the preservation and restoration of antique, specialty vehicles, hot rods and muscle cars and trucks. Secondly, to foster fellowship and camaraderie among car enthusiasts.
- Story submitted by Helen Bartley