Yippee-Kio-kia. Open the gates and let ‘em loose. Our kids are out of school this week, and with report cards in hand, will most definitely be looking forward to two months of glorious and sunny summer holidays with lots of free time and absolutely no homework. All of us will fondly remember that last week of school after exams, when the wind-up class parties were always great, whether it be to the show, or on an outdoor outing with lots of neat games and treats.
As most of us will also recall, during those last few days of each grade there will always be lots of high fives, hugs, and a few tears as you said goodbye to your class-mates after 10 mostly exciting months of hard work and some play, but now it’s July and time to put away the books and let loose. As the parents are adjusting to having more company around the house all day, they can simply send them off to the neighbours or outside, while the teachers and staff will take a very deep breath, relish the break and the silence, then later long for September when they will greet another fresh set of smiling faces for another exciting adventure of educating our vibrant future citizens.
Whether our younger generation will seek a part time job during the holidays, become a volunteer, or just hang out with family and friends, some will head off to those great summer camps, while others will go on a fabulous hot holiday with their favourite family, and maybe even a friend. Whatever the case, play safe, have fun, make lots of new friends, and sleep in whenever you want.
We’re off to the rodeo
The 78th edition of the Ponoka Stampede rolls into town this week, and as always our community will volunteer in so many ways to help make it all happen, as well as extending a warm welcome to thousands of visitors and contestants from near and far. Everyone is invited to drop in and visit all of our friendly local merchants and attractions, where hospitality and top-notch service is front and centre, all year round.
Although I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots or a hat and wouldn’t fare too well on the back of a horse, I really look forward to Stampede time when every member of the family can get together for a real good time, rain or shine. I guess I can say without revealing my age that I have been around for over 65 of those wild and woolly rodeo showdowns, where the keen western spirit spreads throughout Ponoka and surrounding districts for eight glorious days.
Of course everybody loves a parade, and the gala three mile long event through town on Friday, June 27 starting at 10 a.m. will attract thousands of fans of all ages, all cheering to the 2014 theme of ‘The Year of the Horse.’ The always thrilling rodeo events and specialty acts go at 1 p.m. daily, followed by the evening kid’s wild pony race, pony chucks, and chuck wagon races at 6:30 p.m., and then it all comes to a roaring finale on Canada Day July 1 with the showdown performances for the rodeo events and wagons at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.. Other great evening action in front of the big grandstands will include: the 12th annual Jace Hardy Memorial PBR Bull riding event June 24 at 6:30 p.m., the Corb Lund concert June 25 at 6:30 p.m., Talent Show on June 26 at 6:30 p.m., the Big and Rich concert June 30 at 6:30 p.m., as well as fireworks, late night music and dancing at the Stagecoach Saloon and on and on. Two very special annual events at the Ponoka Stampede will be the Rodeo Challenge on June 28 11 a.m. in the rodeo infield and the Cowboy’s Church Service June 29 from 8-10 a.m., also in the infield.
*Hungry rodeo fans can start the morning off right by attending the free pancake breakfasts from 8 to 11 a.m. June 25-Ponoka News/ATB on Chipman Avenue; June 26-UFA Farm Stores and Cervus Equipment at UFA Petroleum in the industrial Park; June 29-Alberta Cattlemen’s annual breakfast at the main grandstand; and on July 1st hosted by Gemini Corporation in the Industrial Park, as well as the I.G.A. BBQ on July 1 at 11 a.m.. Another unique Stampede event is the Chicks for Charity Champagne Breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Stagecoach Saloon on Saturday-June 28, which by the way is ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ day. And don’t you dare forget the thrills, chills, and treats along the West Coast midway from June 25 to July 1.
*Special events during the Stampede at the Calnash Ag Event Centre will feature: the Canadian Mounted Shooters starting at 9 a.m. on June 24-25 and 26, and the Ponoka Stampede Cattle Penning competition on June 28-29-30, also starting at 9 a.m.
*At the Complex: Western Art and Gift Show: June 28-29-30-July 1 (10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) with live art auction on June 30-4 p.m. at Stagecoach Saloon. Always popular Beer Gardens and Dance are set for the Complex on June 27 and 28 at 8:30 p.m. Special Farmers’ Markets will be hosted at the Complex on June 25 and 26 at 9 a.m., and June 27 at 11 a.m., while the jolly Tim Horton’s Family Festival and Klaglahachie Square outdoor event will be featured at the Ponoka United Church on July 1 from 1 to 5:30 p.m..
There is absolutely no doubt that what-ever part of the shenanigans you may choose to take part in, you will have a great week, all of you.