Stettler Stampede attracts over 350 riders this weekend

On the high seas – Children of all ages ride the wave of the High Seas during vacation Bible school at Stettler Alliance Church this week each morning until Friday with plenty of fun

Everything is set to go for the second annual Stettler Steel-Wheel Stampede with a weekend full of horsin’, hootin’ and a hollerin’ Aug. 13 to 15.

Just over 350 riders will compete at Stettler Exhibition Grounds in various events such as saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and ladies’ barrel racing in the rodeo sanctioned by the Canadian Cowboys Association and the Chinook Rodeo Association.

“We encourage everyone to come out to the stampede to watch great top-quality rodeo competitors,” said Ted Nibourg, who chairs the organizing committee of the event co-hosted by Stettler and District Agricultural Association and Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development.

“It looks like the weather will be considerably better than it was last year.”

Last year’s event in the rain and sloppy infield drew 50 local riders among over 300 contestants.

“We have 354 competitors which includes over 100 from the local area,” said Jerry Sinclair, arena director.

“We expect lots of tough competition including many Canadian champions in all shows.”

Stettler Steel-Wheel Stampede has drawn more competitors this year since this is the lone CCA event this weekend.

Action with entertainment and food opens Friday night at 5 p.m. with shows set for Friday and Saturday night at 6 p.m. and the final show on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

During the opening ceremonies of each performance, moments of silence will remember the late Stan Weatherly and Jerry Skocdopole, two longtime supporters of the Stettler rodeo scene who died this year.

Ladies of the Heartland riding group will also make a showing perform during each performance before action continues with bareback riding, steer wrestling, wild pony races, a clown act, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, ladies’ barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.

With a high number of competitors in some events, top riders will also battle in the slack Saturday at 9 a.m. in ladies’ barrel racing, tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling.

Local community spirit will be raised in the ever-popular parade Saturday at 3 p.m. and touring through downtown.

“We expect to have about 60 floats and entries – about the same as last year,” said Stacey Benjamin, office assistant for Stettler Regional Board of Trade, which is coordinating the parade.

“This year, our theme is the navy, to celebrate the centennial of the Canadian Navy.”

Entrants are requested to arrive at the marshalling area at the agricultural grounds by 2 p.m.

From there, the parade will travel along the three-kilometer route as it starts north on Main Street, west on 50 Avenue, past Stettler Hospital and seniors’ lodges, west on 47 Avenue and north on 62 Street end on 61 Street by Highway 12.

All entrants are urged to pre-register.

For more information or to register, phone Stettler Regional Board of Trade at 403-742-3181.

Other major events include a concert by Canadian country music star Gord Bamford and a dance outside Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and a cowboy church service Sunday at 11 a.m.

“Gord Bamford will be the main highlight of the weekend, besides the rodeo events,” said Nibourg who also serves as president of the agricultural society.

Pancake breakfast is on the menu to start all three days, Friday at Stettler Mall, Saturday downtown and Sunday at the Agriplex.

Spectators will be able to take home souvenirs such as T-shirts, hats and hoodies.

Support and sponsorships remains as strong as last year as major event sponsors will receive a commemorative leather jacket.

Younger children will be able to take some time on a few small amusement rides and play area.

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