More competitors provided world-class entertainment at Benalto Stampede

Rodeo fans from Western Canada and beyond made their way to Benalto over the weekend to take in events

Enjoying one of the midway rides were Sylvan Lake residents Becky

Rodeo fans from Western Canada and beyond made their way to Benalto over the weekend to take in events at the 96th Benalto Fair and Stampede.

With co-operating weather, and a high number of rodeo entries and spectators, the event proved successful once again, according to Benalto Agricultural Society President Neal Arksey.

“Our entries were up considerably, and we attribute that to the stock,” he said. “Cowboys wants to buck on good stock, so they come here.”

Arksey feels a large part of the rodeo’s popularity among both spectators and participants also comes from its convenient location not far from Red Deer. Being centrally located prompts people to travel from Western Canada, the United States, and even places as far away as Australia, to view and take part, he said.

World champion barrel racer Mary Walker, of Ennis, Texas, was just one of a number of international contestants who competed at the rodeo.

Trailers began pulling into Benalto almost a week in advance of the event, as people staked out their camping spots of choice for the weekend.

This year, a midway added to the weekend’s already-stacked list of attractions, and returned after a six-year absence.

“We find it’s kind of tough because our space is limited for parking and trailers and camping, but we squeezed it in,” said Arksey.

A steady stream of events kept attendees entertained at nearly every hour of the weekend. As well as the pro rodeo, they included a junior rodeo, horse show, an obstacle challenge and mini bull bucking with about 25 competitors.

“We try and keep it rolling so people stay and can have a variety of stuff going on that they can sit around and enjoy,” said Arksey.

The agricultural society doesn’t have a way of determining exactly how many people attended over the weekend, but Arksey said he was pleased with the turnout.

He feels this year’s attendance numbers weren’t record breaking, but were roughly on par with those of last year.

“Last year was pretty warm, and this year we didn’t know what the weather was going to do for us, but people still came out,” he said. “(Attendance) was very comparable to last year.”

Putting on an action-packed weekend, he assured, is no simple feat, and requires the work of many volunteers. That’s why he’s grateful to have had so many people offering help in days and weeks leading up to the fair and stampede.

“We’ve got a great group of people here on the ag society,” he said, adding that help also came from local clubs such as Shadow Riders 4-H Club and Medicine River Pony Club.

“Parents and kids come out to get things ready — anything from painting bleachers to setting up fences or cutting grass. It’s just been tremendous.

“It’s a really good, tight-knit community where everybody comes out and wants to see this thing go well.”

The volunteer-run ag society doesn’t make much money from the fair and stampede, Arksey admitted. The event is held each year out of tradition and to “keep the sport of rodeo going,” instead of acting as a fundraiser, he said.

“If we break even on it, we’re pretty happy,” he said. “For three days of rodeo, it’s a big expense, but we’ve got good sponsors which helps out quite a bit.”

Results from the pro rodeo are available on Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s website at www.rodeocanada.com.

Just Posted

Fishing in Sylvan Lake: species in need of recovery this year

Current concern for Sylvan Lake is overharvest of Walleye and Northern Pike

Burman U prof publishes international development book

The Development Trap: How Thinking Big Fails the Poor looks to challenge perceptions

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman discusses Community Paramedic Program

Hoffman was in Red Deer meeting with patients who have used the service

Man threatens to kill partner, kids, dog

This is a very serious offence: Judge

Instructor receives Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt

A feat many years in the making, Ken Sumner officially earned the black belt in early April

WATCH: Central Albertan receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Leafs’ Matthews has top-selling jersey, edging Crosby, McDavid: NHL

Austin Matthews jersey sales top Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid

Victims grant may miss needy parents due to eligibility rules: report

Only 29 of 50 applicants between 2013 and 2017 received the grant across Canada, a federal report says

Three suspects charged with 38 crimes after Wetaskiwin carjacking

RCMP Rural Crime Reduction Project starts strong in Wetaskiwin

4-20: Pot activists continue their fight beyond legalization

Cannabis activists say there is still a lot to fight for beyond legalization

Comey memos: Trump talks of jailed journalists and ‘hookers’

A 15 page document written by former FBI Director James Comey about dealings with Trump is released to press

UPDATED: Prince Charles to be next Commonwealth leader

Prince Charles to succeed his mother Queen Elizabeth II as head of the 53-nation alliance

Most Read