The return of the Ponoka Stampede in 2022 was a record-smashing success for revenue, directors heard at their annual general meeting Nov. 17.
The Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA) had a total revenue after expenses of $1.6 million in their 2022 fiscal year.
According to Gord Parker of Rowland, Parker and Associates who presented the financial statements, the average revenue for the PSA over the last 10 years has been about $300,000 per year.
Without a Stampede for the last two years, the PSA lost $1.2 million, so they made about $400,000, which is still higher than an average year, said Parker.
The main reasons the association was able to recover financially was because of the revenue from holding two events in 2022 — the Stampede and the Wild West Chuckwagon Championships — and receiving government grants, he said.
Jason Cline, who is now heading into his second year as president of the PSA after being elected to a two-year term at the 2021 AGM, said he was very proud the association is now back on track.
His goal when he was elected was to honour the PSA’s traditions and history while leading the association out of the pandemic and into the future.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve done this year.”
Cline said he was asked to speak at a recent Canadian Pro Rodeo meeting about how the PSA handled media management in a crisis situation with the fatality before the start of the Stampede this year.
He said other associations are looking at the PSA for how they were able to move forward after the incident.
“We had a tough start … It kind of dawned on me that we are the leaders, and we are leading into the future.”
During the meeting, directors Greg Gordon, Brad Raugust and Rick Cline were re-relected for three-year terms.
Mayor Kevin Ferguson and county Coun. Bryce Liddle gave greetings from the town and county. Town Coun. Ted Dillon was also present.
Ferguson said the details have been finalized on the town’s land transfer to the PSA, and noted talks are ongoing with Alberta Transportation about improvements to Highway 53 and lighting.
He added the Stampede has the town’s full support.
“You guys are a big part of the success of this town,” said Ferguson. “(The) rodeo … it’s what we needed. I want to see it bigger.”
“You guys put on an awesome show. It’s the pride of this community,” said Liddle, adding feedback he’s received is Ponoka’s Stampede is set apart from other rodeos because of the access fans get to see the action up close.
Cline congratulated Miss Ponoka Stampede Mackenzie Skeels at her recent Miss Rodeo Canada crowning at the CFR.
Skeels said there are a number of current rodeo royalty title holders who are interested in coming to Ponoka to compete for Miss Ponoka Stampede, so the future of that competition is bright.