Stampede Association readies itself for 80th anniversary

Planning is moving along for the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association’s 80th anniversary set for 2016.

Planning is moving along for the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association’s 80th anniversary set for 2016.

During the association’s AGM Tuesday, Nov. 4, president Mike Stretch said the Ponoka Stampede is ranked eighth in the world, much of that because of the dedication from the hundreds of volunteers who help out on the busy week. “Ponoka and community should be very proud.”

With 80 years running, Stretch said a special committee has been formed to put together a special celebration. It appears those plans are already starting to come together with the announcement of Clint Black and Dallas Smith as the main stage entertainers for 2016.

Usually the musical groups are not known by the time of the AGM, said Stretch, but the scheduling was such that the association was able to secure them sooner.

Mayor Rick Bonnett said the Town of Ponoka will continue to work with the association in its planning efforts. “Everything you guys do puts Ponoka on the map,” said Bonnett.

Association pays off debt

While the association’s total revenues after expenses ($308,000) were approximately $100,000 less in 2015 compared to 2014, the group was also able pay off its debt, said Gord Parker, accountant with Rowland, Parker and Associates.

“$308,000 is not anything to be ashamed of,” said Parker.

“It’s still very healthy and very strong,” he added, “It comes down to a lot of volunteers.”

Those volunteers help ensure the week runs smoothly and keeps the costs down for the group. Despite that the association does pay volunteer groups for clean up and other programs.

Total revenues were at $3.65 million, up from $3.48 million in 2014 but expenses were also up. Costs for the grandstand and communications, promotion, security and parking, advertising and video production all increased as well as further promotion of the Ponoka Stampede Queen.

Beer garden sales also dropped to $344,000 from $357,000 in 2014.

There was other growth as well with the Jace Hardy Memorial Bull Riding event seeing an increase in admissions and drink sales. This increase in revenue helped the bull riding event earn $13,000 after expenses despite $3,000 a decrease in sponsorship money.

Stretch is in his second year as the Ponoka Stampede president.