The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce received updates from Ponoka Stampede Association and the Town of Ponoka during its monthly lunch meeting on May 21.
Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA)
Bruce Harbin, president, Keith Kjenner, board member, and Naomi Akkermans, 2019 Ponoka Stampede Queen, were present to represent the PSA.
The PSA is holding a public open house and barbecue for the grand opening of its new Wild West Grandstand and Rooftop, luxury executive suites that will make their debut this stampede. All the suites have already sold out for this year.
The old bleachers, for general seating, will be located between the fence and the new structure.
“It should bring 5,000 corporate guests to the rodeo,” said Harbin.
“We’re hoping to develop some new commerce for the community and for ourselves … we’ve got a really good concert lineup this year too.”
The PSA has a new 48 by 16 foot jumbo tron screen this year as well.
Rather than a talent show, which had rising costs, there will be three stage shows this year: LeAnn Rimes, Lee Brice and Washboard Union.
Also new this year is the Downtown Mammoth Arena Beer Garden and VIP party booths with enhanced services including secured, roped-off areas to party, private washrooms and waitstaff.
“What we’ve done is set up specialized area that you can purchase corporately or personally,” said Kjenner, adding that the beer gardens can get crowded.
“We’re just trying to cater to, more specifically, corporate groups that want to bring in 20 or 30 people and spend time together and not get lost in the mob,” said Kjenner.
The parade marshal has not been chosen yet for this year. The theme of the parade is the 20th anniversary of the Rodeo Challenge.
The chamber members discussed how businesses could best take advantage of Stampede week. The pancake breakfasts used to be big with the campers in the RV parking area during Stampede, but those have died off in recent years.
Harbin says business owners can make requests for appearances from the Stampede Queen or ask the board members for help.
“I’m also a representative of your community,” said Akkermans.
The mornings before rodeo performances are the best time to coordinate events with the PSA.
Town Walk ‘n’ Roll challenge
The Town of Ponoka is in the third year of the Walk ‘n’ Roll Challenge, a competition between Ponoka, Stettler and Wainwright.
Ponoka has lost the challenge in the past years and the mayor has had to do some “embarrassing things that he has not liked,” said Andrew Jones, summer student for the town’s community services department.
To encourage more participation in this year’s Walk ‘n’ Roll challenge, the town is going to present businesses with a further challenge and added rewards.
“We’re putting out a business challenge this year. The hope is to get businesses involved in sharing our social media posts and creating traction around the event, encouraging customers and employees to partake in walking.”
For example, at a golf couse, if golfers go out without a golf cart, that counts as walking and 18 trips. Participating Businesses’ logos will be advertised along with the Walk ‘n’ Roll challenge as free promotion and encouraging an active community.
Last year the town and county had 10,000 registered trips, just 500 short of beating Stettler and winning the competition. More detailed information will be sent out to businesses in an e-blast.
To participate, walk, bike, roller blade, or use any other form of non-motorized transportation to get to your destinations whenever possible and track the trips until August 31. Trips can be recorded at www.ponoka.ca.
The chamber discussed the Alberta Chambers of Commerce’s (ACC’s) 2019 proposed policy book during the meeting May 21. The ACC is “The Advocate for Alberta Business.”
The policies in the book were proposed for consideration at the ACC’s 2019 annual general meeting and policy session, which was held in Camrose May 23 to 25.
The Ponoka chamber discussed the policies, which ranged from agriculture and forestry, including protecting canola production, to economic development and trade, education, energy, reducing Alberta’s corporate income tax rates, improving health care, transportation and utility corridors and ensuring the future of Canadian oil and gas.
The members were encouraged to consider the proposed policies and give their vote for a representative to take to the AGM.
Ponoka Trade Show
The trade show did well this year, making more money than was projected, and received great feedback.
The trade show will be held on April 17 and 18 in 2020.