An entertaining and fun event keeps succeeding in support of an important holiday project.
Ponoka Secondary Campus’ (PSC) Santa Showdown, held Dec. 12 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex, brought in $2,070 this year in front of a rambunctious crowd of around 300 people — mostly students.
Graduating students do most of the work selling tickets and working various jobs at the event, with the money raised going to the PSC Santa’s Anonymous project. The money will be put to good use with donations of food and toys being down slightly and delivery of the hampers taking place today (Dec. 20).
Ron Labrie, PSC teacher and coordinator of the showdown, stated the money raised was down slightly from 2016.
“We were down a few hundred dollars, however our grad class is smaller this year, so that might have impacted the total,” he said.
A total of 29 grads — 18 boys and 11 girls — played in the event, by selling at least one book of 20 $2 tickets for the showdown.
This was the 24th year for the showdown, which Labrie explained has changed over the years and that’s part of why it has stayed a success. The showdown includes two 25-minute halves of hockey plus several contests during the intermission with all goals and contest wins earning each squad a point. This year, by the way, was won by the students by a single point.
“The Santa Showdown has changed from a traditional hockey game back in the 1990s to the current format where most students have not played hockey,” he said.
“In fact, we are proud of this graduating class who checked their egos, just wanted to raise money and maintain the spirit that the Santa Showdown has produced. The game is also a wonderful way to enjoy some laughs with PSC staff outside the classroom.”
To date, the showdown has raised more than $30,000 for Santa’s Anonymous, which is a bit more remarkable considering tickets were just a dollar for the first four years before being doubled when the Toonie came out. That said, Labrie and others are working on some ‘surprises’ for next year’s milestone event.
“Each year, we strive for a better experience for both spectators and players. We were happy to reignite our ‘carollers’ to entertain in the lobby pre-game and the Ponoka Ice Sensations synchro skating team was a huge hit at halftime,” he said, noting 2017 was the second year the event saw a pair of Grade 7 students volunteer to referee.
“The 25th Annual Santa Showdown next year will be a milestone and thus, we have already been brainstorming as to how we can make it the best ever. Also, there will be some organizational changes to improve our ticketing experience.”