Stampede will rock Stettler

Stettler will certainly be the place to be this weekend for rodeo buffs as a major outdoor rodeo returns for the first time in 10 years.

Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede is all ready to get out of the chute as excitement has been building in the region since planning for the event was initiated in spring with support from Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Stettler and District Agricultural Society.

Rodeo is king in Alberta and that is certainly true for Stettler and the central east part of the province.

Every summer, residents in rural and agricultural communities patiently anticipate the local rodeo, usually the biggest community event of the year that draws hundreds of people into town.

With 50 local riders entered, and many of them on the professional circuits, this weekend will certainly be a time to celebrate and showcase the great talent that the Stettler region has to offer.

It seems that riders and spectators are so hungry for the resurrection of rodeo here, that the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede has become the highest-paying rodeo on the circuit of the Canadian Cowboys’ Association.

Over 300 riders will be competing, including 95 ladies in barrel racing, which reflects the popularity of rodeo in Stettler.

The stampede will be more than just a lot of horsin’ around.

A parade Saturday afternoon has already drawn over 60 entries, floats and dignitaries.

Then there’s also plenty of other fun for all ages with tailgate parties before each of the three performances and a dance Saturday night.

Kick off your day right with a pancake breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend’s stampede is gearing up to be one of the biggest events in the community in several years.

For many decades, the Stettler rodeo drew thousands of people to the community until – like in many other communities – volunteers and local support faded and the event rested for several years.

A rodeo was by far the top choice when the board of trade conducted a survey last year to determine what major event could be planned and held annually for Stettler.

While this year’s stampede was originally planned as a small event, Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede has the potential to grow.

As part of the previous rodeo, an agricultural fair with animal displays and judging, bench show and exhibits, midway with carnival games and rides and other activities added to the excitement of the rodeo.

Support from businesses, residents and volunteers has been tremendous as the committee has worked hard and diligently to create a great event.

Many businesses are raising the sprit by decorating their premises with a cowboy and western theme.

Let’s all show our spirit by dressing up in our cowboy or cowgirl attire.

See you at the rodeo!

— Richard Froese