PSC students that are part of the Skate Ponoka synchronized skating team perform for the crowd of about 300 as the halftime entertainment at the Santa Showdown Dec. 12. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

PSC Santa Showdown succeeds due to students

Ponoka graduates bring in more than $2,000 in annual event to support Santa’s Anonymous

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.”


PSC students with the Skate Ponoka synchronized skating team drew lots of cheers for their halftime performance at the Santa Showdown Dec. 12. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Aside from the two-25 minute half hockey game, the intermission boasted several events including the fastest skater with the students winning two of the three runs. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Another of the halftime events is the sleigh ride, shown here by one of the teacher teams struggling to get off the starting line though they would eventually win their race. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Disaster struck the students’ team during one of the sleigh ride races, as the rider couldn’t hang on in the first turn around the net and wound up crashing into the boards to give the teachers the easy victory. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Here a student ‘runs the gauntlet’ off teachers attempting to hit them with foam rubber balls with each hit counting as a point in yet another halftime contest. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Students get their turn to ‘hit’ a teacher in the gauntlet to add to the team’s point total while PSC principal Ian Rawlinson stays at the net to await his run. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

The shootout contest during the intermission is always a fan favourite and the crowd rose to its feet when the shot hit the twine over top of the teacher’s goalie. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

One final intermission fight, the tug-o-war, before the second half of hockey begins took a bit longer than usual to decide a winner, but the students walked away with the win mostly because they were able to stay on their skates longer. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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