The 99th annual Benalto Stampede took place this past weekend.
As the event prepares for their centennial celebrations in 2017, the grounds saw a number of upgrades this season and the hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls in attendance were privy to one of the Benalto Agricultural Society’s best shows to date.
The weekend hosted a plethora of events including a pro rodeo performance with persistently packed bleachers, the annual Benalto Stampede Queen Competition, wild pony races and also the junior rodeo performance.
Friday night at the Stampede the crowd saw the crowning of the Benalto Stampede Queen, Kaelin Lambert.
Lambert, who moved to Benalto with her family when she was three, proudly received the crown upon her cowgirl hat and said she is ready to represent her hometown and her home rodeo.
“It feels awesome – I love this rodeo, I love this town,” said Lambert on being crowned Benalto Stampede Queen. “With next year being our hundredth year, it’s a huge commitment and a huge honour to be able to be Stampede Queen this year and have the chance to be able to promote our rodeo and get as many people out as possible next year.”
It was a proud moment for Lambert’s parents as well.
“It’s an honour to see her as queen today, it’s her dream – she’s always wanted a horse as a little girl and she’s been going ever since,” said Kaelin’s father, Brian Lambert. “She’s doing something she loves and you can’t ask for anything more as a parent.”
It wasn’t even a day after the rodeo had ended before Lambert was on the royal road, as Monday she ventured to the Calgary Stampede to promote her home rodeo at the annual FirefighterVs. Cowboys Pole Climb held at Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall.
The Benalto Agricultural Society is greatly looking forward to their centennial event as it holds rich historical value within the hamlet.
According to the Benalto Agricultural Society’s website, the original society was formed in 1917, with the first fair being held in 1918. Prior to this a sports day was held in Evarts, which ran annually from 1905 until 1915.
Due to the railroad being moved to north of Evarts, it was moved to Benalto in 1916. Some old timers claim there were a few bucking horses and a few horse races held along with this in1916 but this is not known for sure.
The first full-scale stampede was held in 1917 and has been held annually since. The first registered fair under the Benalto Agricultural Society was held in 1918.
In the early days the fair and stampede were ran by two separate groups but held on the same day. After a few years the two groups joined together but the actual year is unknown.The founding executive directors, members and volunteers as well as current have put countless hours into what the society and grounds are to date.
For more information visit www.benaltoagsociety.ca.