Ponoka Stampede sets sights on new grandstand

Among the expansion plans will include 16 new corporate suites for the association

Another year down and the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association (PSA) shows no signs of slowing down.

The PSA held its AGM Nov. 2 with a few new directors joining the ranks of the busy association.

President Blair Vold is excited for the PSA, which has set its sights on a new grandstand in the south end of the grounds.

Future expansions include setting up 16 new corporate suites, which doubles the number of specialty suites for the PSA’s corporate customers.

Among the improvements will be landscaping and changes to gate access when coming into the grounds. Vold says the hope is to make the area more user friendly.

Within those plans are to find ways to take advantage of Stampede-owned or leased land south of the main grounds closer to the Battle River. This will help the PSA create more space for rodeo stock or for chuckwagons, says Vold.

An area structure plan is in the works, which lays out clear lots with numbers and size. “It’s more for emergency planning like the situation we had with the tornado two years ago,” said Vold.

An emergency plan has been put into place that sees emergency management coordinator Ted Dillon ensuring the proper steps are followed.

Having a more organized parking structure in the campground will help with a proper evacuation plan if it’s needed, added Vold. New director Murray Schur will be in charge of the camping and parking and Vold expects the whole process to take a year or two.

More acclaim for Ponoka Stampede

Pro Rodeo Canada named PSA the Large Rodeo Committee of the Year for 2017.

This is the 12th time the association has won the award, explained Vold, and he feels it’s a testament to the countless volunteers who help ensure the rodeo runs smoothly.

“We’re ranked probably in the world in the top seven or eight as far as prize money,” he added.

Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money are dished out every year to rodeo athletes around the world. It’s one of the reasons so many big rodeo names compete in Ponoka.

“It’s special for a little town of 7,000 people to put that much money up,” said Vold. “We’ve got $600,000 going back to the cowboys.”

Besides the volunteers and the big money, Ponoka also has some of the best athletes in the rodeo world. As one example, Vold referred to last year’s NFR world champion team roper Levi Simpson who calls Ponoka home. “We’ve got people moving to Ponoka and buying places…who want to be part of rodeo.”

Add to that the Calnash Ag Event Centre, which also enhances rodeo events from barrel racing to other equine sports timed events.

Revenues see slight dip

The PSA’s revenues dropped slightly from 2016 showing gross revenues at $3.5 million for 2017 compared to $3.6 million the year before.

Expenses were under the overall revenues giving the association $150,000 in revenue over expenses compared to $253,000 in 2016.

Expenses sat at $1.4 million and cost of sales sat at $1.9 million.

Directors

The PSA saw two new directors added to its roster: Murray Schur and Cole Butterfield were added to the list with Blake Butterfield, Jim Harbidge, Keith Kjenner and Rick Wierzba nominated.

Each one will sit for three years in their position.

Vold remains president for one more year, Bruce Harbin is vice-president and Mike Stretch remains past-president.

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