Bucks and broncos help raise funds for High River flood
Rodeo: Hell or High Water Rodeo Sept 21-22 at 1 p.m.
By: John Barlow
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 11:23 am
Some of the top rodeo talent in the foothills has been invited to participate to challenge some broncs, bulls and barrels to raise some bucks for those affected by the flood in southern Alberta.
In less than eight weeks a committed group of volunteers has organized the Hell or High Water Rodeo, which will be held at the Millarville Racetrack Sept. 21-22 in hopes of wrangling more than $40,000 to help flood victims in communities such as High River.
Jack Vanstone, a member of the organizing committee, said it was incredible to see the support they had from sponsors, cowboys and cowgirls and volunteers. Without that support they would not have been able to pull this event off in such a short amount of time.
“We had some great folks come on board early on and give us some great support,” said Vanstone. “It is just remarkable, just mind-blowing what the people and the companies have done.”
Support has been so overwhelming Vanstone said they are already predicting they will generate between $40,000 and $50,000 for their charity Hell or High Water Ltd.
The charity was developed after the June flood and it has a mandate to provide funding to those affected by the flood in southern Alberta. Hell or High Water Ltd. will provide funding to those with unique needs not covered by the provincial government, other relief agencies or insurance.
However, what is unique about Hell or High Water Ltd. is the fact they will be choosing who benefits from the money they raise.
Those seeking support can fill out an application on the charity’s website (www.hellorhighwaterrodeo.com) and the application will be submitted to a selection committee. The committee will review the applications and allocate funds to those in need.
“People in High River, Turner Valley and Black Diamond lost homes and businesses,” said Vanstone. “People can lose one or the other, but to lose both is really tough. We want to write cheques to people not organizations. We want to help people who lost their tools, their welding trucks or their equipment.”
Vanstone admitted it will be difficult deciding how to allocate the funds they generate from this weekend’s rodeo, but they want to go through the applications quickly. He said they are hoping to start distributing cheques by the end of September.
“It could be an emotional, long night,” he said. “Those who are waiting for aid have a need and they help, they can’t wait.”
Rod MacBeth, president of Hell of High Water Ltd. said community spirit has driven the charity and that willingness to help has allowed the committee to organize what will be a world-class rodeo this weekend in Millarville.
MacBeth added, the rodeo will provide an opportunity for residents and volunteers in the foothills to come out and enjoy a day away from flood damaged homes and businesses.
“There is a spirit of collaboration, hope and celebration of community spirit permeating southern Alberta right now,” he said. “This rodeo will allow time for members of the community to take a moment and pause, celebrate all they’ve done in the last few months and raise money for the efforts moving forward.”
Those who attend the rodeo will be treated to some of the top young rodeo talent in Canada, as well as some former champions coming back to help out a good cause.
For example, the roster includes former Canadian all-around champions Steven Turner and Kyle Thomson, tie-down champ Al Bouchard and barrel racer Deb Renger. In addition, some of the top local talent will be competing including barrel racers Suzanne DePaoli and Kendra Edey, steer wrestlers Johnnie Webb and Joel Edey, bull rider Jordan Hanson and tie down roper Steele DePaoli.
Vanstone said the rodeo was an invitational and they started at the top of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Professional Bullrider’s Association standings. Competitors will be vying for a $30,000 purse.
Invitations were also given to rodeo athletes in the flooded communities through wild card spots. The rodeo committee selected the wild card spots determined on the athlete’s record and how they were affected by the disaster.
For Webb, a Black Diamond steer wrestler, it was an easy decision to participate when he received the invitation.
“As soon as I heard I saw this as a chance to give back to the community,” he said. “The flood took a lot of people and they are going through a tough time.”
The rodeo starts with the grand entry at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and events get out of the chutes at 1 p.m.
On Sunday the rodeo continues with a youth bull riding competition for cowboys between eight and 18. There will be five age categories and they will be competing for $6,000 in prize money.
Finally, the two-day event will include a six team wild horse race and mutton busting.
In addition to the rodeo action, there will be live entertainment and a beer garden.
Tickets are $15 (children under 12 are free) and are available at Calgary Co-op stores. All proceeds will help flood relief efforts.