July and the Ponoka Stampede may be a part of the week recognized as a Cowboy Christmas, but this year, for the first time, the Ponoka Broncs Rodeo Academy is gearing up for an event to showcase cowboys around Christmastime.
The Broncs Academy is presenting a family dance and movie night as a kickoff to three more days focusing on rodeo family fun: the Ponoka Rodeo Masters Ultimate Cowboy and Cowgirl Championship.
“The kickoff is kind of a chance for families to get out,” said Scott MacGregor, one of the event’s co-ordinators and a teacher at Ponoka Composite High School.
The family dance and movie will take place Dec. 28 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre. Call PCHS for ticket details at 403-783-4411.
On Dec. 29 the ag event centre will host a rough stock futurity and derby, “which will feature the best young stock and riders from around,” said Scott Wyzykoski, organizer with the Rodeo Masters.
The Ultimate Cowgirl Championship will take place on Dec. 30. Fifteen cowgirls will compete in seven events: barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, cow riding and chute dogging.
Dec. 31 boasts the Ultimate Cowboy Championship. Wyzykoski said 15 professional cowboys will entertain crowds by competing in all six rodeo events: team roping at 1 p.m. and bareback riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling for the 7 p.m. performance.
A bareback and bronc riding school will also be held during the day, Dec. 29 and 30. There will be six instructors, three for each event, as well as a classroom portion and equipment check, said Wyzykoski.
“They’ll be riding something called a spur board,” he said. “They’ll get on at least one bucking horse too, if they want.”
“It’s open to absolutely anyone. There will also be some professional cowboys there as well,” Wyzykoski added. Tickets for the school are $50.
The proceeds from the family night and the rodeo events are going to support the Broncs Rodeo Academy. Students will also volunteer throughout the event. “We are giving our students the opportunity to give back to their community,” said MacGregor.
However, MacGregor says the sole purpose and focus of this fundraiser isn’t just to raise money for the academy. “We’re not there to … I guess gouge the community for more money, especially after Christmas.”
MacGregor wants the focus of all four nights to be family fun and a way to maintain the Broncs Rodeo Academy in Ponoka. With Ponoka’s great rodeo past and inevitable future, MacGregor believes Ponoka is the perfect place for the academy.
“We just want to celebrate. We believe in community events, this is a family event,” he added. “Our ultimate goal is to make this a family event.”