By Tiffany Williams
Shane Yellowbird grew up in Hobbema, a short 15 minute ride from Ponoka, went to school in Ponoka, played hockey here and rodeoed here. A lot has changed for the rising country star as he recently played in New York City rubbing elbows with some of New York’s finest.
Yellowbird’s debut album, ‘Life Is calling My Name’, continues to rise on the charts with his fourth single making it to the top 10. His newest single ‘Drive Me Home’ reached the top 10 in early June and his smash hit ‘Pick Up Truck’ has marked its 48th week in Canada’s top 100 and ‘I Remember the Music’ has been on the top 100 for 33 weeks.
Yellowbird grew up around rodeos and the Ponoka Stampede. He says some of his best memories are being at the midway at the stampede.
“Rodeo is where it is at for me because that is where I grew up,” said Yellowbird.
“I was sneaking into cabarets when I was a kid and I know what people want that is why it is my favourite place to be.”
He used to compete in steer wrestling, tie down roping and team roping and thinks if he wasn’t singing he would be rodeoing.
He says that he is really looking forward to coming to the Ponoka Stampede because the last couple of years he has been so busy he has not been able to make it back.
In 2002 he was on stage at the talent night showcase and was very excited performing then.
“I thought holy crap how did I make the top 10? I hadn’t done anything. That was huge for me and now I’m headlining the show, it’s only been a dream of mine for about a year and I didn’t think I had it in me it’s crazy.”
He thinks that it is so unreal because when he was a kid he was dreaming of being a hockey star and playing for the Edmonton Oilers, not a music star.
The last year has been filled with many great accomplishments for Yellowbird; he has been on tour with Paul Brandt, was nominated for a Juno, was named Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year and was honoured with the Chevy Rising Star award at the Canadian Country Music Awards.
Yellowbird thinks that the theme reflects what kind of town Ponoka is; loving, humble and grateful people similar to the men and women serving overseas.
“We ought to recognize the troops 365 days a year and they are working their butts off over there putting their lives on the line and everything,” said Yellowbird. “A lot of people don’t realize that and it’s really good to hear that Ponoka is taking part in that matter and helping troops overseas.”
Yellowbird hits the stage on June 26 with George Canyon when the chuckwagon races are over followed by fireworks.