WPCA driver Layne McGillivray gives Luke some assistance in roping a calf at this station, one of the many at the annual rodeo challenge held June 30. Photos by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Challenge maintaining its stride

After 19 years, annual special event for kids still going strong

One of the events that both participants and volunteers look forward to each year at the Ponoka Stampede is the Rodeo Challenge.

The event is 19 years old and certainly showing no signs of slowing down, according to organizer Ken Krossa.

“It seems to have gone pretty fast, it’s all a blur,” he said.

Around 25 kids were joined on the infield June 30 by a number of local volunteers as well as the drivers and outriders from the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) to ‘compete’ in some fun — ranging from ‘bucking’ horses and bulls to ‘racing’ a chuckwagon to getting to ride a horse around the barrels.

The event has also grown to include a wagon ride on the race track and an opportunity to sit on a real bull.

Krossa is still amazed with the support the WPCA provides to the event as well as all of the people that show up to help out.

“The volunteers provide the horses and other items, so without all of the volunteers or the drivers and outriders, we wouldn’t be able to do this without them,” he said.

“This is for the kids and the list continues to grow. So long as they keep coming, I believe the volunteer support will be there.”

He added that the kids love being able to get out on the ground and take part in the events. In addition, the kids are definitely happy to get a trophy and other rewards after it’s over.

The kids and families will also get to relive the experience, as several local photographers take and provide the competitors with photos from the event.

The Krossas got together with Diane and Lynden Vold and her family to kick start the idea of having kids with special needs between five and 18 years old taking part in various ‘modified’ versions of some rodeo events along with a couple of other interactive activities — tailored after a similar event at the Calgary Stampede.

 

Rick Fraser, WPCA driver, watches and gives some pointers to the ‘driver’ of this chuckwagon as they round the barrels at the annual rodeo challenge.

John Walters of the WPCA helps one of the many kids to get one a horse for a brief ride at the annual rodeo challenge.

WPCA champion outrider Casey knight shares some laughs and a smile with Xander at one of the bucking stations.

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