Patrick Lentz, left, gives this little girl Kelly a hand with riding Dottie around the barrels while WPCA driver Doug Irvine lends some further assistance July 1 at the Rodeo Challenge. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Laughter remains the goal at annual Rodeo Challenge

Ponoka Stampede provides a great fun stage for kids facing challenges to enjoy some rodeo

Seeing the smiles and laughs from the kids is all that everyone wants to see.

That’s the true purpose behind the Rodeo Challenge at the Ponoka Stampede, where 25 kids from five up to 18 years old with special needs can get away from it all for a couple hours and enjoy the life of a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl.

Those with special physical, emotional or mental needs get to take part in a variety of rodeo events that come with modifications to fit the kids needs. The event is also a chance for the kids to socialized with others, including the many volunteers from the local area as well as some special guests — the drivers of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WCPA) and their families who love to come help out.

The group took over the Stampede infield for the morning of Canada Day (July 1) marking 18 straight years of the event, something that Ken Krossa couldn’t have imagined would last this long.

“It all started with our daughter going and participating at the Giddy Up Rodeo at the Calgary Stampede,” Krossa stated.

“After seeing what went on and how it was run, so when we finally got back I approached Diane Vold and she agreed we could do something like this.”

Next he know though, the idea was brought to the Stampede board of directors and they really loved it.

“They came back to me, said it was a great idea, then asked if I would run it,” he said with a bit of wry smile.

“I accepted and I’m still here.”

Last year saw 30 kids take part, but Krossa explained it was too busy and hectic for everyone, so the decision was made to cut it back to how it was previously with 25.

“It’s all for the kids and continues to be immensely popular, with a list that continues to grow,” he added.

“We have new kids each year, with trophies and awards to hand out. And the support we get from the WPCA and other volunteers is excellent. So long as there are kids coming, I think the support will be there.”

Along with the experience, the kids also get to take home some photos of themselves due to the generosity of several local photographers who lend their time and expertise to the event.


Dottie gives Chayse Marcoux a ride around the barrels with the assistance of volunteer Patrick Lentz during the annual Rodeo Challenge held July 1 at the Ponoka Stampede grounds. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Many volunteers from Ponoka plus WPCA drivers and their families helped 25 kids have some fun during the annual Rodeo Challenge held July 1. Photos by Jordie Dwyer

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 2019 Ponoka Festival of Trees

Paige Hinton sings during the Senior’s Candy Cane Coffee Friday, Nov. 15.… Continue reading

Future of Parent Link unknown after province announces changes

Likely less programs for children as scope increases to include older kids

Fort Ostell Museum, Ponoka FCSS make their requests to council

Museum deals with drug dealers and operates tight budget

Waste collection made simplier in the new year

Ponoka residents will see change in garbage recycling pickup

REFLECTIONS: Ponoka was booming after the war years

By Mike Rainone for the News At the end of the long… Continue reading

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

Notley kicked out of legislature for comment on election watchdog firing bill

When Speaker Nathan Cooper directed Notley to apologize, she refused

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Red Deer man facing 13 charges after late night pursuit

Leduc RCMP with assistance from Edmonton Police make arrest

Nothing funny about funny money in Leduc

Leduc RCMP investigate multiple files involving counterfeit currency

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

University of Calgary to slash payroll after post-secondary funding cuts

The government is also cutting all funding for the Infrastructure Maintenance Program

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Most Read