Reflections of Ponoka: Remembering Ponoka’s small town heroes

For as long as I can remember I always got a real thrill out of watching, cheering for, and maybe even getting to meet or play with

'72 volleyball champs

'72 volleyball champs

For as long as I can remember I always got a real thrill out of watching, cheering for, and maybe even getting to meet or play with some of our many exciting and colorful small town heroes of the past.

Later, as a member of the local newspaper staff, I have been lucky enough to be able to follow and write about these great teams and individuals as they have proudly represented our town and county in countless activities.

To salute their efforts, we will strive to continue to feature them on the Reflections and Remember When page every week in the Ponoka News. We really appreciate the ongoing contributions of our readers, and we thank you for the great photos and story ideas that have encouraged us to keep this feature section going for many years. These photos are from the Ponoka News files and the Ponoka Composite High School Quill and Shield yearbook.

One of Ponoka’s finest swimmers

Keith Ferguson, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Ferguson, was an active member of the Ponoka Swim Club, and in the summer of 1960 earned the opportunity to compete in the Canadian Amateur Swimming Association provincial finals. During a weekend meet bringing together the best swimmers from Alberta and Saskatchewan, the young Ponoka teenager captured the William Wrigley Trophies for finishing first in both the junior men’s half-mile freestyle and the men’s open mile swim races.

In the half-mile swim, Ferguson broke the Alberta/Saskatchewan provincial record by seven seconds, and at the halfway point of the mile dash he was under the previous record by eight seconds. What was really remarkable about these great efforts was the fact that the tall young Ponoka swimmer had only been competing competitively for two years.

Our gentleman barber and fine horseman

Diminutive Monte Klein was well known around Ponoka for several decades as a congenial barber but in his spare time he was also an extremely gifted horseman. Along with wife Anne and son Mervin, Monte was also active in community activities but never missed the opportunity to dress in his finest and ride his magnificent steeds in Ponoka Stampede parades and countless other events

In the summer of 1960 Monte entered his two fine horses in the Central Alberta Light Horse Show in Lacombe, and came home with the major haul of trophies and ribbons shown in the photo. His three-year-old stallion Alberta Red Genius took top honours in the American Saddle Class, Championship American Saddle Class, and in the Gents Bridle Path Hack, as well as a second prize in the glamour section. Later, Monte and yearling filly Dixie Rose captured first place in both the pony class and Championship of the Ponies, as well as a second in the quarter horse yearling section. This popular long-time resident of our community continued to show his horses, as well as give a pretty fair $1 haircut for several decades,

The great Broncs sporting tradition

Visitors need only to wander down the busy halls of the Ponoka Composite High School to get a glimpse of the countless banners, trophies, and team pictures that represent the many decades of participation and success for all facets of their ongoing sports program. Whether it is football, track and field, volleyball, basketball, badminton, table tennis, curling or wrestling, the young students have always carried on the proud tradition of being tough competitors and great sports, win or lose.

Shown in the picture on the right are the 1972 Provincial Senior High School Volleyball Champions. The boys shown in back row are: Peter Backus, Raymond Comeau, Neil McNairnay, Rick Wierzba, Marley Oness, and team Coach Wayne Lloyd. Seated in the front row with all the hardware are: Randy Parks, Craig Gates, Randy Whalley, and Bernie Comeau.

Many of these players will be back in town Sept. 8 to join their classmates, teachers and guests in the gala 40 year celebration of their 1972 graduation from the hallowed halls of the Ponoka Comp.

In closing this chapter we must also congratulate and thank all the volunteer coaches, sponsors, officials, fans, and promoters from throughout our community and districts who have and always will be there to support our teams and individuals in each and every exciting year round activity, whether at home or on the road.