The thundering hooves, high-octane action and adrenaline-filled atmosphere of the Ponoka Stampede that draws in the top rodeo athletes from around the world and fills the stands with roaring fans, is back with the 87th annual installment.
The official motto of the Ponoka Stampede is “The Wild West of ’36 Lives On,” however, its roots extend even further back than that.
The Ponoka Sports Association was formed around 1920. Their first event was a rodeo to raise funds for a community rest room. It wasn’t until 1936 that a two-day rodeo was undertaken, complete with a carnival and sporting events, celebrated on Canada Day.
This was the start of the Ponoka Stampede, and it would continue to grow to what it is today.
Now, 87 years in, the Ponoka Stampede is a world-renowned event, and has the title of Canada’s largest seven day pro rodeo.
With 80,000 fans and $800,000 in prize money drawing the best cowboys and cowgirls to our small, but bustling, town, it’s sure a buckle on our belt.
The week-long event has something for the whole family and just for adults as well, from daily rodeo action and the midway with both gentle rides for the kiddos and adrenaline-pumping thrillers, to concerts and live entertainment. Don’t forget the six nights of WPCA chuckwagon races, fireworks and the Pro Rodeo Showdown and the Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash, either.
The annual Cattle Raffle goes hand-in-hand with the Ponoka Stampede and is always a popular event where the winner walks away with either $75,000 in cash or 50-bred heifers.