The Calgary Police Rodeo is coming to town this Saturday (August 12), providing great rodeo action by having Emergency Service Personnel get in the ring while raising big dollars.
Constable Steve Weninger, has been a Calgary Police Rodeo Association board member for the past four years and says for the second year in a row they are marketing to the public to see a whole different side to men and women that protect us every day.
"A couple years ago as an entire board we saw the potential of increasing our profits and being able to donate more to the charities we work with if we invite the public. It is also a great opportunity to make our event be a great public relation event and have a day where people can get out there and mix and mingle with us in a different element."
This is the second year the rodeo will be held at the Cochrane Lion's Rodeo grounds and Weninger shares they will be more prepared for a big crowd. "Our spectator numbers went from an average of 800 to well over 2500 last year. So we were caught a little bit off guard and hopefully, it didn't show but we were trying to deal with the new numbers last year. I think it worked out and everyone had a good time and now this year we hope we are a little more prepared to handle whatever kind of crowd comes out."
The day's event includes all the thrills and spills of any regular rodeo but the final finale is what you may want to stick around for. "Bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping...all the typical events. We have wild bull poker which is where five contestants sit around a table in the middle of the arena and attempt to play poker while we release a bull in the arena. It doesn't work well for the poker players but the last player that remains seated is the winner. It is always a highlight, so if you do come out make sure you stick around to the bitter end."
The majority of proceeds go toward the Missing Children's Society of Canada which deals with a wide avenue of missing cases including runaways and working alongside amber alerts to get the message out. Last year the Calgary Police Rodeo Association donated $10,000 to help the organization as much as they could, with another portion of funds going to the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. The memorial foundation was created after a Calgary officer fell through an industrial roof and died while investigating a call; the foundation mission is to bring awareness and education to businesses, the public at large, and emergency personnel on how to keep our emergency service workers safer no matter when the call comes in.
The gates open at 11 am with a kids carnival kicking everything off. Rodeo action gets underway at 1 pm and runs to roughly 4:30 in the afternoon, a dance will be held Saturday evening as well. Tickets are $15 for adults, children 12 and under free, seniors' $5, and an all day pass for $20.
Cst. Weninger shares the rodeo is not just for Calgary workers but all EMS and is hopeful some Cochrane workers step forward and register the day of. "It's a very amateur rodeo; we have a few, maybe 10% that would be professional grade cowboys but the majority of our contestants are amateur police, fire, EMS and even military. We are putting the challenge out there so hoping some Cochrance RCMP and emergency services show up that day.