The 2019 Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Red Deer will feature a somewhat smaller Ponoka contingent than has been seen in past years.
There will be seven competitors representing the area at the championship Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.
Jordan Hansen, who makes Ponoka home now and comes in with just over $29,000 in earnings, will be joined in the bull riding with local product Zane Lambert sitting at a bit more than $17,000.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group consists of five team ropers.
Logan and Keely Bonnett will get their first shot at the CFR, having earned almost $20,700 and nearly $25,900 respectively this season competing as a pairing.
Also hoping to battle for a big buckle will be Brett Buss, with close to $13,400, and Klay Whyte, sitting just short of $11,900.
Former world champion team roping header Levi Simpson will also be there, coming in at just over $13,300.
In addition, 2018 Ponoka Stampede Queen Alicia Erickson will be at the event, hoping to be named Miss Rodeo Canada.
The annual send-off celebration for all those heading to the CFR will be held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre on Oct. 23, starting at 6 p.m. Those that want to are encouraged to drop in.
The Bonnett’s are already celebrating a bit, with both their horses — Tieto and Cruz — earning honours from the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) in 2019 as the team roping heading and healing horses of the year.
Two other prestigious horse awards went to area athletes.
Lacombe’s Justine Elliot, who is also off to the CFR, was presented with the ladies barrel racing horse with the most heart award for her horse Blondie.
Meanwhile, Curtis Cassidy of Donalda had his horse Tyson, used by several competitors throughout 2019, awarded as the steer wrestling horse of the year.
One other notable appointment announced by the CPRA will see Ponoka’s Brenda Vold make yet another appearance as the CFR’s official timer.