Bullriding for bucks: Lacombe Days event to raise funds for ringette association

Bull riding, such as that pictured during the 2018 Tees Rodeo in August, will be coming to Lacombe as part of a Lacombe Days fundraiser for the Lacombe Ringette Association. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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Get ready to hold onto your hat – or the edge of your seat – as the most dangerous eight-second spectacle in sports rides into the city for Lacombe Days.

For the first time, the Lacombe Pro Bull Riding Association is bringing a Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) bullriding event and cabaret to the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. in support of the Lacombe Ringette Association.

Featuring 30 Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) and National Finals Rodeo (NFR) riders and about 45 bulls, it promises to be the most thrilling, action-packed night of entertainment in the community this summer.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said organizer Colleen Shippelt. “It’s been a lot of years since we’ve had something like this in Lacombe, and so far I’ve had really good respons from everybody I’ve talked to.

“It’s been a lot of planning, a lot of work but I’m hoping it goes well.”

Shippelt, who is friends with Corey and Curtis Sawyer of rodeo stock contractor Sawyer Pro Rodeos, said they’ve always wanted to see a bullriding event come to Lacombe. Instead of continuing to wait for it to happen, they took the idea by the horns and decided to put it on themselves.

Figuring out how to bring in volunteers for the event, they decided the best way was to approach a community organization.

“My daughter plays ringette and I was on the executive of the ringette association, and we’re always looking for fundraising ideas so I thought I’d approach them and see if there was interest in providing volunteers, and if they volunteered, we’d donate back to their association,” Shippelt said.

“We’re hoping to do it every year and each year donate back to a different youth group or community organization that has to do with children and sports and things like that.”

From there, they took the idea to Lacombe city council, and in December 2018, it was given unanimous support.

Aside from the bullriding itself, the event will also feature announcer Brett Gardiner, an eight-time Canadian Pro Rodeo Announcer of the Year, six-time Canadian Finals Rodeo announcer, as well as a Calgary Stampede announcer, and rodeo clown Ash “Crash” Cooper who is a 10-time Rodeo Entertainer of the Year and the only Canadian to become and NFR barrelman.

As for the cabaret, which will follow the belt buckle presentation, music will be provided by KixxSin, a band with an edgy, up-beat sound that’s a mix of country and rock.

Both the event and the cabaret will be family-friendly.

Whether the event actually becomes an annual one in the community, however will ultimately depend on the success of this year’s.

The arena has a max capacity of 1,500 people, and although about 200 tickets were sold as of Friday morning, there’s expectation they’ll sell out at the door, so those interested are asked to take advantage of the online sale and purchase their tickets in advance for $35 each. Tickets are also available at Lacombe Ford and Lacombe Co-operators for $35 until July 26.

Tickets at the door will be $40, and should there be room after the bull riding is over, those interested in attending just the cabaret will be able to do so for $10. Kids five years of age and under can get in for free.

For more information, to buy tickets, or to volunteer or contribute via sponsorship, visit www.lacombeprobullriding.com.

To read more about Lacombe Days, or to see the full itinerary, visit www.lacombedays.ca.