TIPI AT RODEO - According to Marlene Pollock, when the rodeo first began 100 years ago, tipi would line the fair grounds. Now, the traditional tipi isrepalced by RVs. The tipi was set up for demonstration purposes for specators of the rodeo. PHOTO BY MEGAN ROTH/SYLVAN LAKE NEWS

100 years of rodeo action made possible by the volunteers

The Benalto Fair and Stampede marked its 100th anniversary over the weekend

One hundred years of continuous rodeo events would not be possible without the support of the community and the volunteers who make it happen.

Many club, groups and societies in Benalto get involved and ban together to make such a massive undertaking a possibility each year.

The Benalto Fair and Stampede is planned and run by the Benalto Ag Society, though groups like the Benalto Booster Club.

“Because Benalto is small, all the different community organizations usually help out with the rodeo,” said Marlene Pollock, a member of the Benalto Booster Club.

While the July 6-9 weekend was a big one for the sleepy little hamlet of Benalto, Pollock says it wasn’t anything more than the townspeople are used to.

The people of Benalto are used to having people flock to the town at this time every year for the pro rodeo.

She says it is just part of living in Benalto.

“It’s what we are used to, so having the 100th anniversary isn’t all that different to us,” Pollock said.

Even though this year marked the 100th year, Pollock said it wasn’t any bigger than in years past.

Spectators from all over come out to the event every year, rain or shine, making the turnout roughly the same each year.

“There are a lot of people coming through each year, though when it’s raining out we might see a little less people coming to watch,” said Pollock.

While the size of the rodeo itself, and expected spectators were roughly the same size that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to do at this year’s rodeo.

A bench fair, a tail-gate sale, food vendors, fireworks, horse show, horse jumping, a parade, and obstacle challenge and an antique car show filled out the days in-between rodeo events.

Benalto Ag Society Treasurer Karen Turner-Padley said the committee even planned something special to mark the occasion.

“We are honouring a couple families who have been coming and participating in the rodeo for the past 100 years,” said Turner-Padley. “It’s amazing to see families who are part of a rodeo year after year. To make it through 100 years is outstanding.”

Along with the presentation, Turner-Padley is said the parade was also a special event.

The Benalto Fair and Stampede do not hold a parade each year, instead one is held in conjunction with the rodeo every 10 years.

Marking the 100th year with a parade not only lined up with the tradition, but seemed like the perfect addition to the rodeo’s line-up.

“It means a lot to see our little rodeo make it for so long. One hundred years continuous, not many rodeos can say that,” said Turner-Padley.

Where many other rodeos that began in the early 1900 stopped during the World Wars, such as the Calgary Stampede, the Benalto Fair and Stampede has continued straight through.

Turner-Padley says 100 years in a small town means a lot, and it shows the commitment of the town.

“We work together to make this happen. Sure the Ag Society plans it, but the community volunteers to make it happen.”


FREE FREEZIES - It was so hot on July 8 that many of the floats in the Benalto parade were handing out freezies instead of candy. At the start of the parade, at 11 a.m., the freezies were already beginning to melt. PHOTO BY MEGAN ROTH/SYLVAN LAKE NEWS

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