A young Ponoka singer is set to be in the spotlight again this summer, singing the national anthem at two big events in central Alberta: the Ponoka Stampede and the PBR Red Deer Classic.
Zuriella “Zuri” Ayuno, 10, has sung at the Ponoka Stampede before and said returning to the Stampede grounds is always something she looks forward to.
“Personally, it’s a memorable place and it holds a special place in my heart,” she told the Stampede.
The Red Deer Classic will be on June 11 and the Stampede, returning after a two-year hiatus, will be from June 27 to July 6. Ayuno will open the afternoon performance on June 30.
Ayuno has been singing competitively since she was four years old.
At the end of April, Ayuno competed at the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts, winning first place in the music theatre solo category for her rendition of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman.
From there, Ayuno was off to compete at provincials, and results from that events have not yet been released.
Other local performers taking to the Ponoka Stampede stage to sing the national anthem are Bev Carter Buffalo, Shalaine Stebner and Tammy Tonneson.
Carter Buffalo is a a student support worker for the Maskwacis Education School Commission and works part-time for Mobile Mental Health and as a seasonal instructor for Maskwacis Cultural College. She will perform June 27.
Stebner was just in Ponoka County and has lived in Ponoka for 15 years now wit her family. She’s has been songwriting for the last couple of years and has been a singer her whole life. She will sing the anthem on June 28 and the evening performance on July 3.
With family ties to Ponoka, Wayne Vold, practically rodeo royalty, will perform on July 1. Vold is not only a rodeo legend, but also has also led a notable music career.
Tammy Tonneson, who lives in Ponoka County, will be taking the mic on July 3. She has performed at the Ponoka Stampede and other venues over the years. She works at West Coast Dairies caring for Holstein calves.
The full lineup of anthem performers can be found on the Ponoka Stampede’s Facebook page.