Jace Harty event opens for Stampede

The 11th annual Jace Harty Memorial Bull Riding is bursting out of the gate as the opening event of the Ponoka Stampede lineup

The 11th annual Jace Harty Memorial Bull Riding is bursting out of the gate as the opening event of the Ponoka Stampede lineup this year.

For 10 years the professional bull riding event was held on its own, honouring Jace Harty and giving back to the community in his name. “This event has been very special to so many people, with tremendous support of many individuals, sponsors, volunteers and fans,” said event organizer Patrick Lentz.

Combining the memorial and the stampede has been in the works informally for the past several years. “Basically we wanted to grow the event,” said Lentz in an interview with Ponoka News. “Certainly we’ve considered it a success for the 10 years we’ve taken to get to this point.”

“We had to get to that next level,” he added.

“Our family was very much a part of the process in joining forces with the Ponoka Stampede, and will continue to be involved with the event as it continues to grow ,” said Carrie Harty.

Lentz knows the Harty name will stay connected to the theme of giving back with the Ponoka Stampede Association fully on board. “We thought it would be something new and fun,” said president Joe Dodds.

“We are very honored, proud and humbled by the support of the many sponsors, volunteers & fans over the past 10 years, and are very excited about the future of the event, and the decision of the Ponoka Stampede Assoc. to annually kick-off the Stampede with this very special PBR event in Jace’s name,” said Harty.

The association is putting up an additional $40,000 for the contestants, which matches the amount the memorial has raised for groups within the community over the last 10 years.

The event starts at 6:30 on June 24, beginning with the steer riders.

After the bull riding a cabaret will be held in the Stagecoach Saloon. This year’s live entertainment is a talented Ponoka boy, Jamie Woodfin.