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Ponoka cowboy takes stuntman role in movie production

Film crew on-site at Ponoka Stampede during rodeo
Ponoka cowboy Jacob Stemo played a stunt double as a bareback rider during the filming of the event - part of a full movie production filmed during the rodeo on Friday. Covy Moore photo

There was a touch of movie magic Friday at the Ponoka Stampede.

And not only that, but Ponoka cowboy Jacob Stemo played a stunt double as a bareback rider during the filming of the event.

For Stemo, it was a chance to get back to his stunt roots.

“My grandpa and uncles were all stuntmen,” said Stemo. “For me, my hero growing up was my grandpa John Dodds.”

Dodds is a hall of famer with a wealth of work promoting rodeo. On top of that, Stemo also grew up watching the likes of stuntmen and cowboys, Brent Woolsey and Tom Eirikson.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of something that my family did,” added Stemo, who has been in a few movies.

The whole experience was a good one and he enjoyed performing at his hometown rodeo of Ponoka. “It was just really a cool experience to come back and get on a bucking horse.”

The movie filmed during today’s rodeo is called In Cold Light. It is a gritty crime thriller about a girl named Ava who is trapped like a bull in a bucking shoot.

Ponoka’s rodeo was the best spot for the production crew to shoot in. The story is actually set at the busy Calgary Stampede but Ponoka’s rodeo makes it easier to shoot larger productions like this.

For producer Mike MacMillan, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

He said support from the Ponoka Stampede Association has made the production a smooth process.

As to the movie, the synopsis reads, “Ava (played by actress Maika Monroe) is trapped. Like a bull in a bucking chute, seconds before exploding onto the rodeo stage. She is hunted.

“Pursued by those who killed her brother, pursued by her own demons. Ava needs to make a choice. To either save herself and fight another day or to push and become the woman she wishes she could be.”

Producers Yanick Letourneau and Mike MacMillan noted that, “We’re crafting something unique and with a genuine signature. We simply cannot wait to share this one with audiences.”

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