Yeehaw! It’s Rodeo Weekend in Bonnyville

The Bonnyville Pro Rodeo & Chuckwagon (BPRCA) Championships kick into gear tonight with the first performance of the four-day event. “It’s excitement like no other,” promises BPRCA Chair Tina Kissel.

The gates open at 5:00 pm for family night on Thursday, “kids 15 and under are free at the gates,” Tina says the BPRCA loves to start the weekend right by inviting families out, “it’s a family event. The whole weekend is great wholesome entertainment.” Other than Thursday, families can enjoy kids 6 and under are free and 7-15 are just $15. Seniors, 65 and older, are also $15 and a general admission ticket is $20. Buy your tickets now at lakelandconnect.net/bprca. 

“We have the FMX Riders back,” Tina says the pre-show will be a high-jumping, action-packed show by the FMX motorbike riders. “We haven’t had these guys in a while so it’s going to be a good show.” The riders bring out their jumps and sets to the main grand stands and put on a 20 minute performance before the chuckwagon races each evening.

“If you’ve never been to the chucks, you’re in for a real treat,” Tina smiles, “you’ll fall in love with the action!” The World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) is in town and they’ve brought with them nine heats of high-calibre racing. Here’s the lowdown, drivers are hitch covered chuckwagons to a four horse team; an outfit. Four outfits race per heat with two outriders., men on horses, by their sides. The wagons race a half-mile oval track, with the fastest wagon, from all the heats, taking the night. The winning wagon takes home “day money”, a cash prize. The top four wagons at the end of the weekend square off in Sunday’s Heat 9 for the George Normand Memorial Belt Buckle.

There are a few local guys to watch for, including Doug Irvine, from Iron River, and Kurt Bensmiller, from Dewberry. Bensmiller is the reigning Calgary Stampede Champion (WPCA biggest race on the circuit). The Gorst men, Gary, Logan and Dustin, are also fairly local, from Meadow Lake.

Races start with the horn each night at 6:45 pm, Sunday’s finals are at 2:00 pm. There will be an afternoon rodeo performance on Saturday as well, at 1:00 pm. 

Other attractions throughout the weekend, the Chili Cookoff, Friday between Brosseaus Department Store and the TD Bank, from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. The pancake breakfast will be Saturday at the Rodeo Grounds at 9:00 am. The Midway rides are open Friday 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.