Quite the list of homegrown cowboys and cowgirls are competing at the 47th Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Red Deer from Nov. 3 to 7.
In true Ponoka spirit-of-the-west tradition, the Ponoka Stampede Association held their CFR send off on Oct. 27 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre, wishing the contestants well and congratulating them on making it to the finals.
Contestants from the Ponoka area are: Jake Vold, Wacey Finkbeiner, Zane Lambert, Justine Elliott, Shelby Spielman, Shayna Weir, Taylor, Tyrel Flewelling and Tel Flewelling, Klay Whyte, Kash Bonnett, Keely Bonnett, Logan Bonnett, Brett Buss, Jestin Jacklin and Nash Loewen.
Also representing Ponoka are stock contractor Nansen Vold, bull fighter Kris Buffalo and timer Brenda Vold.
“I’d say Ponoka is very well represented in the world of rodeo,” said PSA president Bruce Harbin.
“I think it’s a real testament to our community,” he said, adding it’s the local cowboys and cowgirls that keep western heritage alive and make the Ponoka Stampede what it is.
“It does my heart good to know they’re out there.”
And the contestants are just the start of showcasing Ponoka’s hometown pride.
Nansen Vold’s bull Timber Jam is bull of the year, Elliott’s horse Blondy is the barrel horse of the year and Keely Bonnet’s horse Cruz is the heeling horse of the year.
Ponoka’s own Miss Ponoka Stampede Naomi Akkermans is also competing in the Miss Rodeo Canada pageant.
At the send off, Akkermans said a few words of congratualtions as she introduced the Ponoka contingent going to the CFR.
There was a shipping delay with the special jackets for the contestants, the traditional gift from the PSA to local CFR representatives, so they were not presented during the send off.
The CFR is six days of action-packed performances featuring Canada’s 120 top athletes at Westerner Park in Red Deer.
In 2018, Red Deer was chosen as the home of the CFR for the next 10 years.