For the first time in many years two brothers are running for municipal office in the Ponoka area.
County resident Jerry Bonnett, 60, handed in his nomination for division 2 while his brother Rick, 47, put his name forward to be mayor for the Town of Ponoka. The former did not speak too much about his intentions and is unsure if Rick even knew.
“We haven’t talked about why he’s running,” Rick explained.
He was reluctant to discuss Jerry’s candidacy as he did not want voters to think they were working together. “It’s not like we want to take over the program of it.”
Despite this, worry Rick believes the municipalities must function together and does not see any issues if they are both elected.
Jerry feels the municipalities must communicate regardless of who gets elected and said after dealing with a bankruptcy worth millions of dollars between them, they can deal with most issues.
“That was the biggest challenge of our life,” he stated.
Residents may remember the brothers’ feedlot that went bankrupt just north of Ponoka at the end of 2004. This was two years after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Alberta and the Bonnetts were heavily invested in cattle exports to the United States, explained Jerry.
He learned some valuable lessons from the experience. “Don’t ever rely on one trading partner. If we had more directions to go within the cattle industry at that time, we probably wouldn’t have been in the trouble we were.”
“When the American’s shut the border we were hooped,” he added.
Rick says there were four brothers working together; Allan and Doug managed the company while he and Jerry were involved in operations.
“We were like bottom-end management in a company,” he said.
Rick had no issues with discussing the history of the business. “It’s always in the back of people’s minds.”
Dealing with the border closing made it a challenge for the company to make any money and the experience provided many lessons.
“We had a business philosophy. We didn’t change our business philosophy and it basically cost us,” added Rick.