Category Archives: Sports

Largest barrel-racing event in Canada coming to CalNash Centre

DJT Photogarpghy - Red Deer - Central Alberta - Calgary - Edmonton - Olds - Photographer 20150801-IMG_1182Over 1100 horses and 750 riders will descend on the CalNash Centre in Ponoka for the 20th annual ABRA (Alberta Barrel Racing Association) finals.

Held from August 19 to 23 the ABRA finals are the largest barrel-racing event in Canada, and in 2014 were second highest added money barrel-race in North America.

“This year, the added money is $119,600, and the total payout between cash and prices will top $217,000,” said ABRA Office Manager Jill McDougall. “Last year we had the sixth largest payout in North America.”

“For us to be rated the second highest added money is a really big deal. Especially when you look at all the events that are hosted in Oklahoma, Texas, California and the rest of the United States.”

“Texas has more horse than all of Canada, so it’s a lots to be proud of,” added McDougall..

Added money is money that added to the pot on top of the entry fees.

“It comes from a combination of sponsors, and final entry fees at races through the year,” said Janet Patriquin, public relations director for the ABRA.

“We have competitors as young as four, and the oldest is in their late 70’s so barrel-racing is something that the whole family can participate in,” said Patriquin.

The association has over 2400 members, and of that, six have been ABRA since the start and have ridden in the finals every year. “They will be honored at a banquet on Friday night,” said Patriquin.

The other highlight of this year’s finals, according to Patriquin, will be the Peewee barrel-races which will be held on Saturday at 4 p.m. “Everybody loves the Peewees, they put more sparkle and color in their hair. That’s the highlight of the event.”

There is no charge for any of the barrel-racing events, and there is a free tradeshow all weekend. For those that cannot make it to the centre, there will be a live webcast.

In the open, there are 780 horse and riders entered. The youth have 270 horse and riders, and the Peewees have 61 horse and riders.

Ponoka Regional Airport turned into dragstrip for the weekend

Ponoka Drag Races
Craig Pateman of Ponoka starts his Chevy S10 heading down the track at the Ponoka 1/8 Mile Drag Race on Saturday, Aug. 1. Photo by David Thielen

By David Thielen

94 cars varying from street legal, to the world’s fastest muscle car and 2000 horse power exhibition cars signed up for the third annual Ponoka 1/8 mile Drag Races.

Gord Wright, one of the organizers for this year’s event, said “that without all of the volunteers that stepped up to help, this year’s race would have been dead in the water.”

“We simply could not have put the race on without their help.”

He described the drag races as a “heck of a deal for a family, because its very cheap entertainment.”

Craig Pateman, of Ponoka, who raced his street legal Chevy S10 this weekend, said “it’s something that gets in your blood.”

Pateman took four years, and three separate bodies to build his S10 from the frame up. “The original was in pretty bad shape when I started.” The motor is a Chevy small block 383. “I have no idea how much I’ve put into building this truck, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford to build a second one.”

It’s street legal, but Pateman says he doesn’t drive it on the street much because law enforcement tends to raise an eyebrow. “it’s just too noticeable.”

“What I like most about racing is the comradery and fellowship. Yeah, we smack talk each other, but it’s all in good fun.”

Pateman normally competes in the races in Stettler, Castrol (near Nisku), Rimbey, and Ponoka, but said “it’s just a hobby. If I were to do it every day, it would probably lose its attractiveness. “

40 years of rodeo at Tees

DJT Photogarpghy - Red Deer - Central Alberta - Calgary - Edmonton - Olds - Photographer 20150801-IMG_1245By David Thielen

Over 400 cowboys from across central Alberta descended on Tees for the 40th Annual Tees Rodeo last weekend.

The rodeo, which attracts most of its riders from within a three hour drive of Tees, is put on the by Tees Agricultural Society and is part of the Central Alberta Rodeo Association.

Justin Steeves, who has been riding bulls since 2012, scored a 60 while riding Angry Bird, on his recorded bull ride, but then on an exhibition ride managed what most of the cowboys later told him was at least an 80 point ride, riding a new bull called Mancy.

The exhibition does not count towards points though. “I was asked to ride him, because they knew I would do it. Nobody had been out on that bull and they wanted to see how he would buck.”

Steeves, who works for the highway department in Rimbey, said he started competing because “I was going to the rodeos anyway, figured I might as well ride in them.”

He said he thinks the most dangerous part of bull riding is actually in the chute while trying to get on the bull.

The rodeo started at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31, and ran until Sunday, Aug. 2. Results for the rodeo were not available at press time.


Slo pitch tournament raises funds for playground

 By David Thielen
Eighteen teams participated in the fourth annual Lions Club Stan Baliant Memorial Slow Pitch Tournament over the weekend at Ponoka’s Riverside Ball Diamonds.
Tournament coordinator Irene Baliant, said that the tournament had been named after her late
husband, but was quick to point out that all of the
money raised at the tournament goes to the Lions
“The money will be used to help in the building of
a new playground at Centennial Park,” she said.
There were nine local teams and nine out of town teams that participated in this year’s tournament.
The furthest team came from Peace River in northern Alberta. Two teams were from Edmonton, then one team each from Calgary, Rocky Mountain House, Sylvan Lake, Clive, and Red Deer.
“All the teams were guaranteed four games and at least one playoff game,” said Baliant.
In addition to the baseball games, there was a homerun derby where entrants pay $10 to enter and then have three opportunities to hit the ball over the fence on the middle diamond. The money
gathered from that is split 50 per cent for the winner, and 50 per cent for the Lions Club.
Other fund raising events for the weekend included a raffle for a baseball bat, a silent auction and regular 50-50 draws.
Going for the double play
Going for the double play