Juanita Armstrong says she gets the chills when she thinks about how long the Moose Mountain Pro Rodeo in Kennedy has been running, and how the tiny village pulls together to make it happen each year.
“It actually gives me the chills to think that we’ve made it this far. That’s a lot of years and the fact that we’ve been pro this whole time is pretty cool,” says Armstrong who is on the rodeo committee.
“There was another community that had their pro card but they’ve let it go, so we are literally the only pro rodeo left in Saskatchewan. And for a community of 240 people, that’s pretty awesome!”
The Moose Mountain Pro Rodeo is coming up this weekend, starting on Friday night with open mic entertainment and beer gardens. Rodeo action, along with a ton of other events, are planned for Saturday and Sunday.
“This is our 85th annual, so it’s a huge year for us,” says Armstrong.
“We have the demo derby this year just like every other year, only this year I’m told that there are trucks that are going to be in that arena this year, which is pretty cool. I believe there are 18 vehicles registered so far. And then we are also doing the second annual Quad Mud Fling.
We are holding our fourth annual trade show in conjunction with the rodeo which is being held on Saturday from 12-8 pm. And we have 24 vendors registered. Thanks to Loraas Disposal we have a brand new building on the grounds this year. It’s a huge building, it just got put up. And that’s where the trade show is going to be under this year.
“And then we also have our usual kids area with face painting and a balloon area.
“And then Saturday night is the big one. We are doing a free cabaret. There is no cost to get into it and we have brought in Third Degree Birnz from Regina. They are like the big party band of Saskatchewan.
“The fact that it’s a free cabaret is pretty cool. Anybody can join us.”
The weekend will also include a parade on Saturday at noon.
Rodeo action starts at 5 pm on the Saturday and at 2 pm on the Sunday.
Because it is a pro rodeo, Armstrong says the competitors are top notch.
“We’re registered with the CPRA and are part of the CPRA circuit. With pro rodeo, we’re getting contestants from literally all over the world. People that have been in Calgary at the Stampede will likely be in Kennedy,” she says.
“If you’ve never been to a rodeo, you need to experience what a small town rodeo is actually like. Regardless if we are pro or not, there is just something about small town rodeo. It’s the atmosphere. There are people having fun, there is the kids area, you get to see some world renowned performers as far as bull riding and barrel racers go. It’s pretty big. It’s almost so big it’s hard to put words to. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
“It’s pretty amazing to think that our small committee can pull it off.”
Armstrong says word of the pro rodeo has spread and after 85 years people around the province still love it.
“I think it’s going stronger than ever,” she says. “You can talk to people in the city and if you say Kennedy they are like ‘oh yeah, we know about your rodeo.’ So that’s pretty cool.
“We’re really driven towards being family oriented. We’ve got the kids stuff in there. We want to make sure it’s family oriented and there’s stuff for the kids to do, and yet they can still watch the rodeo and the parents can enjoy a beverage if they want. It’s fact that it’s family oriented, and the community spirit, that makes this great.
“I think the word’s getting out. The more people are going, they are talking about it and asking ‘what did you do this summer?’ and some people are like ‘oh we hit up that cabaret in Kennedy and it was awesome.’ So they want to make sure that’s part of their summer next year, and they are planning for next year already.”
Armstrong says planning for the rodeo is a year-round event for people in Kennedy.
“Plans are well underway for next year’s rodeo,” she says with a laugh. “We barely put the books away and we are striking up conversations already on what we can do better for next year or what we can keep the same or what worked or what didn’t work. It’s really a non-stop committee. We are going all the time.”
The rodeo is a big deal for the village.
“We have 240 community members. On the board we have 11. We’re probably looking at at least 40-50 volunteers (to put on the rodeo). With the food booth and the toll gate, and there are people that come and help as far as cleanup on Monday. That might even be estimating very low. It’s huge for our community and people know that.
“It’s the last thing in Kennedy that we kind of have going for us, so we’re working our butts off so that it keeps happening over and over. Just because it’s very community orientated and family orientated and we want to keep it alive.”
August 2017Download PDF