Leaving the chutes bucking, the Ponoka Stampede will give performers, spectators and cowfolk alike a fantastic, wild, seven-day ride.
This year kicks off with the pro rodeo. They cowboys and girls have come to lay it all out in the dirt, take no prisoners and ride with passion
“It’s just something that gets our adrenaline going, and something we love to do,” says team roper and CPRA cowboy Brett Buss.
Once the dust settles, Juno Award winner and Canadian country legend Charlie Major will take to the stage. He’s going to play his hits and assures people that, while rocking in their cowboy boots, they’re going to have a great time.
Other performers at the Stampede include the talent show top 10 finalists, Kory Wlos, Justin Ament, and declared beach bum country sensation Billy Currington.
Chuckwagon riders will thunder down the track, each vying for a coveted spot in the Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash.
Bullfighters Scott and Jesse Byrne, rodeo clown CrAsh Cooper and trick roper and rider Jerry Wayne Olson will also take to the arena to perform the practiced and the impossible.
One of the Stampede’s favorite attractions, the midway, is back to give people a break from the four-legged fun. According to Stampede director Joe Dodds the British Columbia-based West Coast Amusements midway has been brought fun to the Ponoka Stampede more than 15 years.
“They bring a good selection of entertainment for kids and adults,” Dodds said. “We’re very pleased with them. They always run a good, clean, respectable show.” Although he’s keeping it under his hat, Dodds hinted the midway is bringing something new this year.
Five pancake breakfasts, as well as numerous barbecues, are lined up at the griddle to keep the bellies of every cowboy, girl and lil’ buckaroo full until the Stampede next year.
Along with Stampede staples, new events are being added to the ever-growing list of attractions. The Canadian Cowboy Mounted Shooters are making their first appearance this year at the AG Event Centre. “I just thought it’d be something they’d want to show the public,” said Allen Watson, a director on the board of Canadian Cowboy Mounted Shooters.
“Our job is to put on a good stampede,” said Dodds.
They’ve done it 75 times before and rain, shine or snow this year will be no different.