The Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA) has a new president.
During the association’s annual general meeting held Nov. 2, board member Jason Cline was elected to the presidency for a two-year term and he’s looking forward to the 2022 Ponoka Stampede.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted past president Bruce Harbin’s term. While the association presidency is usually only for a two-year term, Harbin’s term was extended to three as the 2020 edition of the Ponoka Stampede was cancelled due to the onset of the pandemic.
“Harbin stayed on for an extra year to have another chance to put a rodeo on,” said Cline.
“It’s an honour to be the president of the Stampede. He worked hard to become president. It’s a big job.”
As the new president, Cline is already working hard with the Stampede planning committee in preparation for the 2022 event.
“We’re building our rodeo, booking concerts, doing all the work that needs to be done,” said Cline.
A focus for Cline, and the entire Stampede association, will be rebuilding community involvement after two pandemic impacted years.
Because of the pandemic, a lot of the youth sports and other community groups which rely on the Stampede for funding have not received it for the last couple of years.
“It’s been tough on them too,” said Cline. “You don’t realize the impact of it until you don’t do it.”
According to Cline, the Stampede could not run without the volunteers from the community groups.
Groups, like the Ponoka Lions Club, run the parking shuttles, and various church groups run the food booths. In return for running the various aspects of the Stampede, the groups receive funding.
Something else Cline would like to see is for the association to begin making use of the multi-million dollar Wild West suites and covered rooftop patio which was completed in 2019 and has yet to see much use due to the pandemic.
The Ponoka Stampede has a long and rich history in the Ponoka area, first running in 1936.
“The Ponoka Stampede is very important,” said Cline.
“We need to preserve the tradition and the history while moving forward with everything we’ve been facing the last two years.”
Past-president Harbin feels there is reason to be optimistic with the new president.
“Everything is moving forward,” said Harbin.
“I look forward to seeing how things progress and helping out where I can.”
Joining Cline and Harbin in the senior leadership of the PSA are vice president Rick Wierzba, and directors Blake Butterfield, Cole Butterfield, Rick Cline, Greg Gordon, Jim Harbridge, Danny Jones, Terry Jones, Trevor Jones, Keith Kjenner, Brad Raugust, Murray Schur, Mike Stretch and Blair Vold.
Unless pandemic-related restrictions dictate otherwise, the Ponoka Stampede will return in the summer of 2022.