With floods affecting many southern Alberta rodeos the Ponoka Stampede appears to be on the lucky list.
Stampede president Joe Dodds is always eager for the kickoff and this year has started with a bang. The association has taken on the Jace Harty Memorial Bull Riding event for the first time and with a full campground appeared to be well received.
Dodds is grateful that rain and flooding was not a worry for Ponoka. “We’re lucky and let’s hope it stays that way.”
At the midway most people would have by now seen the obstacle course on the Stampede hill. Dodds says Dodge will showcase some of its trucks and people will get the chance to ride with a professional driver.
The Remuda Award-winning committee also brings the best stock from Western Canada, including from the Calgary Stampede. There is such a demand for the animals that cowboys from around the world can’t wait to try their hand on a bucking bronc or bull.
Although the association has not made any set plans, Dodds says they will work with the Calgary Stampede, which is slated for July 5 to 14, as they deal with the effects of flooding of their grounds.
The Stampede Association may have to keep Calgary’s stock for some time until they are ready, “because we’re all family.”
For Ponoka, expect to see the Alberta Mounted Shooters Association compete in their finals with fast riding, quick draw action on the last morning at the Calnash Ag Event Centre June 27. Country singer Wynonna Judd will entertain crowds the same evening. This is also the day cowboys can raise awareness of breast cancer by being “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” a program started by Wrangler.
The Stampede parade salutes Big Brothers Big Sisters who are celebrating 100 years in Canada. Mentors and clients will walk in the parade to raise awareness of the program. Beth Reitz, executive director for Ponoka’s branch, has a goal for 100 mentors for 2013.
A shiny Allan Cup will also dazzle parade-goers. The Bentley Generals, winners of the cup, have been named honorary parade marshals.
The ladies only Chicks for Charity fundraiser is set for June 29 at the Stagecoach Saloon. Last year the group raised $20,000 for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre obstetrical program and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Star of
CBC’s Heartland, Amber Marshall, is also coming to support the breakfast. She plans to arrive at 10 a.m. and then make her way to the Rodeo Challenge at 11 a.m. Marshall has copies of her Life & Style magazine to hand out along with her 2013 calendar.
Ash Cooper’s commissioned painting of Canadian Saddle Bronc Champion Rod Hay is up for grabs June 30 at 4 p.m. Art buffs will have a chance to place top bid for the painting during the Art Auction at the Stagecoach Saloon. There are a total of 21 pieces for sale and funds will pay for hosting the event and support the Tom Butterfield Scholarship.
Canada Day brings recognition to members of the Ponoka Legion who will parade into the grandstands. The Tim Hortons Family Festival and the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society will have entertainment and fun times for children.
It’s also the last day of the Stampede. The best chuckwagon racers, who start June 26, will compete for the high stakes $50,000 Dash for Cash and the best rodeo competitors will compete for saddles and bragging rights.
This is indeed the “Wild Wild West of ’36.”