The most anticipated weekend of the summer in Bonnyville is nearly here, the Rodeo & Chuckwagon races get underway tomorrow! “The WPCA is the best of the best, there’s no show like it!” says Mitch Michaud with the Chuckwagon Committee. Matt Carswell with the Bonnyville Rodeo Committee echos Mitch, “this is a world-class event, with the best performers from all over the world!”
To get your adrenaline pumping before the rodeo are the wagon races. “It’s a fantastic sport, it’s exciting! Just being in the crowd, in the grand stands,” it’s totally different from a bigger arena, like the Calgary Stampede because you are so close to the action says Mitch. All the best drivers in the WPCA will be racing for day money, as well as a place in the championship race, for the George Normand Memorial belt buckle. Along with day money, drivers are awarded points towards their world standings. For more on the races, check out wpca.com.
With the announcement of Rae Croteau Jr’s retirement from the WPCA, Sunday there will be a tribute to the Rainbow Wagon, “all three generations of drivers will be in the tribute,” says Mitch. Rae Sr, Burt and Rae Jr.
The rodeo will follow the races each evening from the Pro Rodeo & Chuckwagon grounds, “these are the professionals, the best in North America.” Bonnyville pays out day money, “and points earned that can get them to the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Edmonton. Their points also qualify them towards the National Finals Rodeo, in Las Vegas.” Each night the same events done with performers collecting money and points along the way.
- Bareback Riding
- Saddle Bronc
- Steer Wrestling
- Tie Down Roping
- Team Roping
- Ladies Barrel Racing
- Bull Riding
- Novice Bareback & Saddle Broncing
“There’s cowboys coming as far as Oklahoma and Arizona,” Matt says the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo attracts the best from all over and home-grown talent.Watch for Ardmore’s Lane Cust on opening night, Thursday. Another cowboy to watch for… er, cowgirl, the only female Saddle Bronc performer on the pro circuit Kaila Mussell will be in the ring on Thursday.
Opening Night will also celebrate Fountain Tire’s 65th Anniversary with a free family movie, The Jungle Book, following the rodeo performances. The movie will be projected on the big screen center field. Families can enjoy the movie right from the comfort of the covered grand stands.
Gates open nightly, Thursday -Saturday, at 5:30 pm, races start at 6:00 pm. Come early to catch the Bonnyville Riders and see all the attractions at the Midway. There will be vendors exhibits on the grounds, as well as food trucks and tasty treats. Thursday is Family Night, kids 0-15 years old are free. For more events and details, visit bprca.com. To purchase tickets to the events stop by the Bonnyville Centennial Centre or online centennialcentre.ca.