Remember when we were kids and our parents got us up real early and we rushed downtown to get a perfect spot from which to watch the Ponoka Stampede parade, rain or shine, but hopefully hot and sunny?
It was a real thrill if we were entering our decorated bike or wagon in the parade or had been asked to ride on a float and smile and wave at everyone for two hours, and believe it or not some of us were even brave enough to volunteer to walk with a shovel and wagon along the 3-mile long route to work as the ‘pooper scoopers.’ Well here we go again partners, and it’s time to start churning up those great ideas for your floats, your outfits, your businesses, your vehicles, your bikes, and all the rest just in time for the fun and frolic of the gala 82nd edition of our Ponoka Stampede parade.
The theme of our forthcoming Ponoka Stampede parade, which will head out from the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex on Friday, June 29th at 10 a.m. sharp is A Salute to the Canada Winter Games 2019 which will take place in Red Deer in February of 2019.
This year’s honorary parade marshall will be Canadian Olympic speed skating champion Catriona Le May Doan. Long-time Ponoka Stampede Association member Greg Gordon has been spearheading the annual parade as well as the keen business decorating competition for as long as I can remember, and as always he and his dedicated committee members and volunteers will be welcoming floats and contestants bright and early on Friday, June 29th in front of the arena. For more information on both the parade and business decorating entries please watch for the advertisements in the Ponoka News or get in touch with Greg at 403-704-3541.
Over the years the Ponoka Stampede Association has graciously presented a unique parade theme that has saluted all facets of the town and county of Ponoka and its citizens, organizations, and ongoing avid annual participation in so many vital special causes and events. Some of these themes have been to honour: the oil and gas Industry, community volunteers, 4-H, UFA stores, the Year of the Horse, eight decades of Stampede legends, our First Nations, Canada 150, and so many other countless milestones and successes of our town, our county, our province, and our nation.
In the early days the Stampede parade would form at the Canadian Pacific Railway station parking lot on 50th Avenue and then wound its way around town and up to the grounds, where the judges would hand out the prizes.
No matter how many of these Ponoka Stampede parades that we have seen, and how much the trends have changed throughout several family generations, we will always marvel and cheer loudly for the magnificent floats, clowns and costumes, colourful marching bands, horses and riders, First Nations dancers, heavy machinery, rodeo stars and celebrities, proud veterans and current armed forces members, amazing antique and hot-rod to wildly modern cars/trucks and motorcycles, children on bikes, sport or club teams and groups, emergency equipment and personnel, the rumbling displays of early farm and industrial equipment, the RCMP leading the way, and so much more in a rush or colour, music, and cheering.
This grand summer parade tradition has carried on for 82 glorious years, and in this special Reflections feature for the Ponoka Stampede section of your Ponoka News, we are pleased to present some of the gala photos along the way, and we hope that you enjoy every magic moment of the big show, both yesterday and today.