Saturday will be like a homecoming celebration for the Calgary Police Rodeo at the Cochrane Lions Rodeo Grounds.
The downtown grounds will be bustling with activities at the annual rodeo that features 155 first responders and family members in a full amateur rodeo, an incredible kids zone, and an evening barn dance on Aug. 12.
The Calgary Police Rodeo has adopted Cochrane and the Lions Rodeo Grounds as their home on the second Saturday of August since 2016 for a good reason.
"I grew up in the Cochrane area and bringing it back home is a big deal for me," says Sgt. Jim Dalidowicz, president of the Calgary Police Rodeo Association. "Being nestled In the foothills of the Rockies makes a great backdrop for our event and we love the town because they always come out and support us. We give our tip of our hats to the town, and to the Cochrane Lions Club, who help us out a great deal as well."
Rodeo events include bareback riding, team roping, wild horse race, saddle bronc, break-a-way roping, wild cow milking, ladies barrel racing, chute dogging, bull riding, and steer scramble (kids & adults). There's also youth mutton bustin' and trick riding at intermission.
The bull poker finale will literally have people hanging onto their seats.
A table and four chairs will be placed in the arena, where four daring cowpokes will play a hand of poker.
"Then we release a bull into the arena and the last cowgirl/cowboy sitting wins. So they get all the glory and the bragging rights for the barn dance later on that night."
The rodeo takes pride in being a family-friendly event and ensures there's plenty for kids to do. Besides enjoying the rodeo with their parents, the Kids' Corral features a petting zoo, pony wagon/train rides, bouncy castles, clowns and roaming magicians, and face painting.
The evening barn dance kicks off around 7:30 p.m. and features the Calgary Police country band Frontline, followed by award-winning country artist Blake Reid.
Proceeds go to a charity close to the heart of the Calgary Police -- The Missing Children Society of Canada.
"It's super important to us because you ask any police officer or first responder what is the biggest thing that affects their lives, and it's calls that involve missing children. We. love to support them and all the work that they do."
He says the app of Missing Children of Canada is a valuable resource in reuniting children with their families across the nation. Details on the app are available here.
Several of the volunteers at the rodeo are from the society.
The rodeo also supports the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, which is dedicated to helping bring about a culture of safety in which all workers get home safely at the end of every shift because one fatality is one too many.
Dalidowicz says there's another important reason why the rodeo was created back in 1983.
"The reason why we put this rodeo on is just to give a safe place for first responders and their families to have fun, but also to ensure that there's that strengthening in the partnership with the community that we serve and to humanize us, to make everyone realize that we're all just regular people doing a job and we're here to help you and be part of your community."
Admission is $15 for adults, and $20 if you include the dance (18 and over). Youth is $10 and it's free for those 14 and under or 55 and over. If bought separately, it's $10 to attend the dance.
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