Annual ranch rodeo celebrates family farming

There is something spe­cial about this weekend’s Ranch Rodeo in Donalda, and that’s the families that compete, says organizer Julie Hebbes.

There is something spe­cial about this weekend’s Ranch Rodeo in Donalda, and that’s the families that compete, says organizer Julie Hebbes.

Hebbes is the treasurer of the Donalda and District Agricultural Society and the organizer of the event, which is now in its sixth year. It takes place rain or shine this Saturday, June 7, starting at 1 p.m.

This year, in addition to its usual events, the Ranch Rodeo will pay tribute to the families who compete as families, and have kept farming and ranching in the family, a tip of the cowboy hat to the United Nations’ (UN) declaration naming 2014 the International Year of Family Farming.

The UN states that “fam­ily and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security,” and that “family farming rep­resents an opportunity to boost local economies, es­pecially when combined with specific policies aimed at social protection and well-being of commu­nities.”

It’s something Hebbes agrees with, and says that every year, she sees fami­lies competing together, or supporting each other, at local rodeos including Donalda’s own Ranch Ro­deo.

The declining popula­tion in some of the rural centres has impacted local events in the past decade, Hebbes said, including a local rodeo that closed its doors due to a lack of vol­unteers. It was in this event vacuum that Hebbes started the Ranch Rodeo, which instead of being about bucking horses and bulls, became about finesse and sorting.

“It’s about handling animals, about finesse and good horsemanship,” Heb­bes said.

In addition to the events for adults, there’s plenty of events for kids, includ­ing a sheep scramble for the youngest, a greased pig chase for the older kids, and a kid-untying contest – the kids in this case being young goats.

“We’re also going to take the time to acknowl­edge families who have kept farming in the family and in the area,” Hebbes said.

The event, which has admission costs of $5 for adults and $2 for kids under the age of 12, is one of the fundraisers for the Donalda and District Agricultural Society.

The event is open to all, and Hebbes said people comes from all around, and she hopes to see more people this year.


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