A range of diverse and original artworks were up for grabs during this year’s Ponoka Stampede western art auction held on Canada Day.
Organizers Inge Sybrandi and Ponoka Stampede vice-president Blair Vold were pleased with increased interest, especially considering the Calgary Stampede’s western art auction has changed in recent years.
For Vold the auction is another addition of the western heritage that makes the Ponoka Stampede week so popular. “I think there was a great crowd and it’s just part of the Ponoka Stampede.”
“Inge’s done a great job, she’s a local artist, and she’s brought these people to Ponoka,” he added.
For Sybrandi’s part there is much trepidation before the beginning of the sale. Her biggest worries were that the sale wouldn’t go as well as planned or some unforeseen event would make the sale difficult. Despite those worries, the sale exceeded her expectations with strong bids and a large crowd to watch it unfold at the Stagecoach Saloon.
Sybrandi’s goal is to bring quality work to Ponoka that has a balance of new and established artists with work that can meet the expectations of buyers. “Every year the quality is getting better.”
Among the submissions, including the original painting of Jake Vold riding Mucho Dinero by Lacombe artist Kim Penner — which sold for $3,900 — were submissions by rodeo entertainers Ash (Crash) Cooper and Dr. Lynn Phillips. While most people know Cooper and his hijinks in the Stampede grounds, not many know he is also an accomplished artist. Likewise for Phillips, who is the rodeo announcer during the Stampede week.
“Entertainers crossover into artists and vice-versa because what Dr. Lynn does and what I do is creative, just in a different medium,” said Cooper.
He enjoys the fun that comes along with rodeo entertaining but also enjoys taking a different pace with artworks. “You’ve got creativity and you’ve gotta let ‘er go.”
Phillips said his biggest challenge is actually staying focused on whatever project he is working on next. From hosting radio shows to rodeo announcing to painting and writing, Phillips enjoys all of it.
“The hardest thing is focusing,” joked Cooper.
Both admit that sometimes their best ideas come when driving or travelling from one location to the next.
Other works submitted included pieces by former Miss Ponoka Stampede Ashley Akkermans, Shane Yellowbird and Dee Butterfield, to name a few.