Handhills Stampede

Hello friends, neighbours and total strangers,

There is an event happening in less than two months from now that has a great deal of significance to our rural community.

That event is the 100th year of the Handhills Lake Stampede.  The original show was staged in July 1917 to raise money for the Red Cross during the war effort.  They managed to raise around $3200 with that first rodeo.

Little did the folks that started the first show realize that it would become a continuously run rodeo for a hundred years.

Over the years people ate dust and alkalie off the lake bed when the lake was nearly dry, other times it was trudging through the mud, but the show always went on.

Those people had spirit and the drive to do their best and that spirit and drive still exists today.

One generation after another did what they had to do and passed it on to those who followed to do the same.
An uncle of mine, Day Lenfesty, won the saddle bronc event that first rodeo.  Today his grandson, Day, is the ramrod that runs the food booth.

It is the place to get a good hamburger and you can finish your meal off with a piece of home-made pie.  I have been told and  I am sure it is true, that some folks come just for the pie and a hot cup of coffee.

Where is Handhills Lake some will ask, well it is located about twenty miles south west of Hanna.  The rodeo grounds are located on the west side of the lake toward the north end.

The show goes on the first weekend of June so pack up your trailer or motor-home and come join in on a historic event.

There will be plenty of room for you to set up your camp, so settle in and stay a while.

To get you in the mood for rodeo I have written a poem that is only a thumbnail sketch of what the Handhills Stampede is really about.

Richard Preston,
Hanna, Ab.


The Handhills Lake Stampede “100”

There is a rodeo that’s been going on for now a hundred year
Where people come from all around to watch and clap and cheer.

The rodeo was born in 1917 at the lake’s south end, on Jack Miller’s place
For the Red Cross, 3200 dollars was raised, those folks set quite a pace.

My uncle, Day Lenfesty entered that first rodeo to have a little fun
When the arena dust had settled, the saddle bronc event he had won

Today the grounds are nestled in the hill’s west side of the Handhill Lake
No one knew, oh so long ago, the mark, this small rodeo would make.

From all over the Canadian west and across the medicine line
Cowboys came to be the best that day, to say the championship is mine

Contestants come with family names that were known in days of old
Guys like Butterfield and Daines, Cassidy, Shields, Williamson and Vold

There’s also a lot of stock that left their mark, they could buck you to the turf
Calgary Stampede horses, Cindy Rocket, Red Wing, Guilty Cat, also Papa Smurf

And the bulls that bucked in this arena man, they could disaster
Girletz brought the best they had; Ott, Double Ott Walk On and Blaster

Cowboys aren’t the only ones to come, the girls – they show up too
Those barrel racing ladies, they are cowgirls through and through

In days gone by the big wagons rolled and when the teams were set
The announcer called out names like Stranquist, Glass, Cosgrave and Flett

So come on out and set up your camp, stay the weekend, watch it all
You will enjoy the show my friend, you’re going to have a ball

The events are close up and personal you might eat a little dirt
But the atmosphere makes you part of it and a little dust won’t hurt

Yes folks, the Handhills lake has a rodeo that’s now a hundred year
Everyone is welcome, so come, enjoy the day, and have yourself a beer.

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