Goons tarnish a great Cup final

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MIKE RAINONE/Hammertime

It doesn’t really matter who won game 7 of the Stanley Cup final series between Vancouver and Boston last Wednesday evening.

Why, after a thrilling and hard-fought playoff run does a mindless group of idiots have to spoil the exhilarating atmosphere by rioting and trashing the fine coastal city of Vancouver? We can be quite sure that most of these goons aren’t even hockey fans, and know little or couldn’t care less about our great Canadian game.

Instead, they sought some mindless attention by taking advantage of the situation to display their total ignorance destroying other people’s property, and violently endangering the lives of many others. All of us will remember with great pleasure when the same Vancouver and the province of British Columbia played host to the magnificent Winter Olympic Games in February of 2010. It was an absolutely superb sports spectacular in every sense, one that all of us in Canada should be extremely proud of. For two wonderful and exciting weeks they put out the welcome mat for thousands of athletes and spectators from throughout the world, with very few serious incidents occurring during the entire event.

I am quite sure that 99.9 per cent of those avid game 7 fans, both inside and outside the rink, went home when it was all over just a little bit disappointed, maybe celebrated a little bit, but never expected that sort of trash to tarnish their fine city and the keen spirit of a great game that almost turned into a war. We all have the freedom to cheer for whichever team we wish, but win or lose, our pride and respect for our nation, our fellow citizens, and our environment should always prevail.

Thank goodness that most of that massive crowd chose to watch out for one another, to support the vastly outnumbered emergency personnel, and are now responding by turning in those responsible. Hopefully the punishment administered will fit the crime to deter this sort of useless crap in the future, and that the good name and worldly reputation of the City of Vancouver will soon be restored.

We’re off to the rodeo

I don’t know how Wild Wild West of ’36 I am going to get, but I am really looking forward to the 75th diamond anniversary celebration of the Ponoka Stampede from June 27 to July 3. It has been a real pleasure to work with the Ponoka Stampede Association and the Ponoka News to put together some neat stories of the long and proud rodeo history, traditions, champions, characters, and keen support from in and around our community.

Personally, it has been great to have been around for more than 60 of those rootin-tootin Stampede flings, and some of my fondest early memories include: cotton candy, a thrill ride on the big midway, fireworks, the parade, and of course cheering loud for the rodeo action and the fast and dusty wagon races. As we got older we might get to stay up on grounds later, blow all our allowance trying to win your girl a stuffed teddy, or maybe even take in the beer gardens with the rest of the rowdies.

Welcome to all our many thousands of visitors in the Stampede campground city, with hopes that you will get lots of super Ponoka hospitality, both on the grounds and at the gala Downtown Festival, which goes every day from June 27 to July 2. Our Ponoka Chamber of Commerce will once again host their congenial shuttle service from the grounds to town and back throughout the Stampede.

Your morning hunger pangs can be satisfied with heaping plates of goodies at free pancake breakfasts on: June 30, Ponoka News, Chipman Avenue, 8 a.m.; July 1, Gemini Corp. in the industrial park, 8 a.m.; and on July 3 at the Alberta Cattleman’s breakfast and Cowboy Church service, in front of the grandstand from 8 to 11 a.m.

Special events at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex below the grounds will include a daily Western Art and Gift Show (June 30 to July 3), Farmers’ Market (June 27 to 29), and the beer gardens on the evenings of July 1 and 2, with designated driving buddies suggested.

While your whole family are taking in the rodeo, chuckwagon races, and great entertainment each day, don’t forget on June 30 to ‘Be Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ for breast cancer research, then don the bright red shirts and caps for Wrangler Patriot Day in support of our Canadian Forces and war veterans on Canada Day, July 1.

The gala Stampede parade goes on June 29 at 10 a.m. so dress up your family, float, bike, wagon, horse, car, or whatever in whichever (1936-2011) era theme you wish, let loose, and have a great week, all of you!

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