July 20th, 2024

Three-day rodeo fundraiser features new ranch rodeo event

By BRENDAN MILLER on July 5, 2024.

Joel Lybbert is seen riding a buffalo during the annual Heritage Gather on the Dunmore Equestrian Grounds last year. Organizers are hoping to see the community out again to support this year's event, set for July 12-14. Funds raised from the Heritage Gather will help fund the final phase of construction on Dunmore Equestrian's indoor arena.--SUBMITTED PHOTO

bmiller@medicinehatnews.com

The Dunmore Equestrian Society is gearing up to host its annual summer event that encompasses all parts of Western heritage during the Annual Heritage Gather.

The rodeo-style event is a fundraiser to help the non-profit complete the construction of its indoor arena running for three days form July 12-14.

The third annual Heritage Gather will feature an open rodeo with cash prizes, a ranch hands competition as well as events to celebrate Indigenous traditions, including a teepee display, drum circles and a powwow.

Drum group demonstrations with The Wild Tongues will be held before each rodeo event Friday and Saturday.

There will also be a Western-style breakfast, beer gardens, live music and free wagon rides during both Friday and Saturday rodeos.

The Heritage Gather kicks off Friday night with a rodeo presented by Rugged Rodeo that is offering a $1,500 prize pool for amateur competitors in events including barrel racing and team roping, as well as a four-man competition called the ‘Ranch Scramble’ that will have teams competing in ranch rodeo-style events like calf branding and team penning.

“There’s several things that each team needs to do in the arena. They have to rope a few cattle and simulate doctoring, branding,” says Kelly Creasey, president of the Heritage Gather. “And simulate tying one down and panning and trailer cattle all in a vary short timeframe, it’s a very exciting event.

Throughout the rodeo young cowboys and cowgirls will have an opportunity to compete in the popular Mutton Busting event where five- and six year-old children ride on the back of a sheep around the arena.

New this year the society is introducing the James Hargrave Memorial Top Puncher competition, which takes inspiration from traditional ranch rodeos and will have local cowboys and cowgirls competition for local bragging rights.

The timed event will see local ranch hands showcase skills doing several tasks around the arena including cow roping, a slicker carry as well as several actives that will test competitors’ horsemanship and will run at noon on July 13.

“The way we developed it is the kind of things that a cowboy would have to do in a normal course of the day,” says Creasey.

Joel Lybbert will also be returning this year riding saddleback on his trained bison and will be providing a free leather medicine bag rope-making workshop.

Organizers say all funds raised from the Heritage Gather will conclude fundraising for a new 25-acre indoor arena that began construction in January to expand local equestrian space in the region.

“I can’t wait to see the kids and everybody in the community coming out,” Creasey says about the new arena. “And competing, whether it’s in forage competitions, cattle shows, riding, equine therapy. We hope that everybody with a horse is able to use this facility.”

A weekend pass to the Heritage Gather costs $35 per person, while daily admission is $20 and can be purchased at the gates. Children under 10 are free.

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