The Race Is On at the Ponoka Ag Events Centre

by Michelle on February 15, 2012

The Ponoka Ag Events Centre has been buzzing with activity since opening its doors to the public last September. Although the facility is still undergoing some final touches, it has been able to successfully host several events. Once these finals touches are complete they will have their official grand opening.

View at the New Years Bull Riding

The first event was the Professional Roughstock Finals in September followed by a Paint Horse Show in October and a Purebred Gelvieh Cattle sale in December. Despite being held under some temporary conditions all the groups went away happy said General Manager Chas Lambert.

Lambert, the previous Agricultural Events Manager for the Westoba Agricultural Centre of Excellence in Brandon, Manitoba is no stranger to hosting large events in a world class facility. He took the new facility in Brandon from day one to a full book of weekly and weekend events and looks forward to doing the same in Ponoka.

The arena in Ponoka is large enough for a standard barrel pattern to be set plus it has a enough

View from above the roping box

room for a warm up area. The total riding surface is 130×400 ft. Above the shower/washroom area there is a show office with a full view of the arena and a sound equipment room. Event announcers can use this area and also take advantage of stepping out onto a deck to see the entire arena.

The front lobby of the arena has a a full canteen, washrooms and offices. Upstairs from the lobby there is an area that will be used for banquets and two other rooms. One of the rooms will be the new home to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame with 4000 square feet of display space. The other room is used by the local high school. They have a rodeo component to their studies and use the room as a classroom to do their bookwork. The students also use the arena for the riding part of their studies.

Back at the barn, there is enough space for 280 10 x 10 box stalls, however there are currently 200 box stalls and the balance of the

Barn Set up For Cattle Sale (before box stalls were put in)

space (an area of approximately 80 x 200) will be used for events like cattle shows and sales. The barn has an asphalt floor which makes for easy clean up, and its a little softer than concrete. There is also a canteen, bathrooms, wash racks and a show/barn boss office at the barn.

The Ponoka Agriculture Event Centre Society is a partnership between the Ponoka Agricultural Society, Ponoka Stampede Association, Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka. These groups have representatives that work together to operate the facility with General Manger Chas Lambert. Currently, the team is working to add the bleacher system and make the final touches necessary to host some very exciting upcoming events.

On the rodeo and barrel racing schedule the facility has been hosted a Timed Event Winter Series Rodeo every second Sunday. They have been getting great attendance with close to 200 entries and 100 paid spectators coming to support the event.

There have been some barrel racing jackpots hosted with great turnouts. Chas says he’s still not completely satisfied with the ground, but they are working to have it set properly. At Chas’s previous position he was able to master some incredible ground in Brandon (if I may say so myself) so you can count on him to work at it until it’s great. He stated one new challenge to him is that being on a dirt base (rather than concrete) there is natural ground temperatures and humidity to deal with. By consulting with ground professionals and testing and working the ground the crew will have the ground mastered in no time.   Any barrel racers I have spoke to regarding this facility and the ground have nothing but great things to say about it and are very excited to be able to run there.

This is Marci Laye and her stud LDS Unleashed winning the jackpot with and 18.0

The Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals will be held at the Ponoka Ag Events Centre in August. Lambert is excited for the event and feels that the facility will be a great fit for Alberta’s largest barrel race of the year. Plans are underway to accommodate all the horses and trailers by working with the Ponoka Stampede committee to park trailers and house horses.

If you would like to get in and check out the the facility and ride, you can attend one of the many open ride times that are available.
Open rides Monday -Tuesday 9am -1pm
Wednesdays 4-9pm
Barrel Practice is Friday night 6pm-10pm
(During barrel practice the Sorters are in the warm up area)

Fees are $20.00 per rider, and you are allowed 2 horses. 6 ride – Ride Card is available for $100.00.
For more information, event schedule and contact information for the Ponoka Ag Events Centre you can find it all on their website at:


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