The Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association (PSA) is sitting in a good place and its future looks bright.
That was one of the key takeaways at its recent AGM. On a board level there were two changes: Bruce Harbin takes over as president, stepping up from the vice-president role while Blair Vold becomes past-president; and Trevor Jones, joins the ranks of directors, adopting the portfolio of long time director Dale Olsen.
For Harbin, the 40-plus years of dedication of Olsen cannot be understated. He said Olsen is a prime example of the dedication that can be found among directors and volunteers.
Looking to the future, the newest addition to the Stampede Grounds is the Wild West Suites which broke ground recently. The estimated $3 million project is something that has drawn much excitement from customers and rodeo fans alike and is expected to be ready for the 2019 edition of Stampede.
“(With) 16 new suites it should be awesome,” said Harbin.
It’s a long term investment, however, the demand for the suites are high with a wait list already created for groups. Harbin is already looking at some of the growth challenges that come with the new building such as parking and stage set up, but he’s confident it will come together.
The suites are situated just south of the bleachers. The PSA’s emergency preparedness plan will include a plan of action for the suites
As for being president, Harbin’s goal is to maintain the status quo, offering that the rodeo week itself has been going well. “It’s a lot bigger than one person,” he said.
“A lot of moving parts that make it all happen.”
One benefit of the busy Stampede week often downplayed by the PSA are the number of organizations able to raise money for their operations.
“A lot of groups and clubs are able to use it as a vehicle to fundraise for their annual activities,” explained Harbin.
It’s one of the reasons that saw the PSA win the Pro Rodeo Canada Committee of the Year Award this year at CFR Red Deer. “We had a good representation of Ponoka there,” added Harbin of the CFR performance.
“Our Miss Ponoka Stampede got first runner up to Miss Rodeo Canada.”
Looking at the numbers
As far as revenues and expenses are sitting, PSA’s 2018 fiscal year saw growth.
The bottom line of excess of revenues over expenses shows a profit of $299,000, that’s just about double what the PSA saw in 2017. This puts the PSA in a cash position of $2.34 million.
The big ticket items continue to be food and beverage sales ($580,000), plus gaming revenues ($557,000). Both items are up about $100,000 each compared to 2017.