Once again, the annual Bentley fair and rodeo is offering something for everyone to either enter, or take part in, or watch. It runs Aug. 4 to 7 and goes rain or shine.
The theme this year is “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Bentley Rodeo”.
The first recorded rodeo dates back to 1966 and was sponsored by the Bentley Elks Club. The Bentley Sunset Hills Riding Club actually started a parade and pancake breakfast in 1963.
Something was needed to fill the gap between parade day and the rodeo and so committees were formed and a “town and country fair” was developed.
Now the Bentley rodeo has been going for 50 years.
This year’s events kick off with a pancake breakfast in the Thursday morning with the parade to follow. Anyone is invited to enter the parade. Just meet at the curling rink parking lot before noon to be judged and placed in the parade.
Following the parade, the bench shows that open in the curling rink that include arts and crafts, photography, sewing,baking, and school exhibits opens to the public. Horticulture has no convener this year so any flowers, vegetables, fruits, plants or arrangements brought will be on display only (not judged).
There is also a Senior’s Pie Social hosted by the Outlook Get-Together Club in the Bentley Community Church gymnasium.
There are events for children including the Kid’s Wool Bustin’, face painting, magic show and more. Most events are free.
The museum is open each day. No admission charged.
Both Friday and Saturday morning kick off with pancake breakfasts.
On Friday afternoon there is a kid’s penny carnival and fun zone and in the evening the indoor rodeo starts and there is a beer garden for the adults.
Friday evening there is a drive-in type movie shown on the side of the old grain elevator. This year the movie is “Good Dinosaur”.
Saturday and Sunday mornings a provincially sanctioned horseshoe tournament gets organized and play starts, and the19th annual Kroozin’ West Show and Shine takes entries and numerous vehicles are on display and are judged. New coordinators are running it for the Revmasters Car Club this year – Matt and Robyn Macfie and helpers. The local fire department has their concession nearby. All spectators are more than welcome to come wonder through the show for free.
Also on Saturday, the bazAART Show & Sale opens at 11:00 a.m. in the old Bentley Community Hall. There is a variety of displays including six local artists and six from the surrounding area. Works include painting, weaving, photography, mixed mediums of pottery, quilting, sewing, jewelry, rustic sign decor, slump glassware, and tile painting.
Two very young artists are displaying their talents publicly in the show for the first time.
Blindman Brewing from Lacombe, Trouble Monk and Drummonds from Red Deer, Ribstone Brewery, Spirit Hills, Field Stone Fruit Winery, Shady Lane Estate Winery, and Six Corners from Okotoks will have displays set up in the hall basement.
The Bentley Library Society will provide food and any monies raised from the “Beer and Wine Tasting” will go the BentleyLibrary Society.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Bentley library is offering free crafts and games for kids at their location, which just happens to be right between the car show and the bazAART show.
The well renowned Bentley Farmer’s Market in the curling rink and its parking lot runs from 1:30 to 3:30 with a large wide variety of vendors, and there are activities for the kids outside.
The finals of the rodeo start at 5:00 p.m. in the arena. There is a beer garden again, and an adult cabaret and dance with Jake Mathews and band begins at 9:00 p.m. in the curling rink.
A good burst of fireworks sets off about 10:15 p.m. that are visible from most of town and beyond.
Sunday is a quieter day with the museum open, doubles play at the horseshoe tournament, and an interdenominational church service starting at 10:00 a.m. with lunch following in the tent in the town hall parking lot.
None of this would happen without the outstanding volunteers of so many clubs and organizations and the generous ongoing support of so many donors and sponsors. Bentley area has a great wealth of volunteerism thank goodness that has continued over the years. However, more help is always needed and appreciated as some people tire out or move away each year. If you can help in any way please talk to a convener/organizer. Check the Bentley Ag Society web site and posters around town.