Editor The Drumheller Mail
Hello friends and 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 thirty two hundred dollars 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 alkali off the lake bed when the lake was nearly dry, other times it was trudging through the mud, but the show 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 and passed it on to those who followed to do the same.
An uncle of mine, Day Lenfesty, won the saddle bronc event in 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 homemade pie. I have been told, and I am sure it’s true, that some folks come just for the pie and a hot cup of coffee.
Where is the Handhills Lake?, some will ask. Well, it’s located about 20 miles southwest of the town of Hanna. The rodeo grounds are located on the west side of the lake toward the north end. The show goes the first weekend of June so, pack up your trailer or motorhome and come join in on an historic event. There will be plenty of room for you to set up your camp, so settle in and stay awhile.
To get you in the mood for the rodeo, I have written a poem that is only a thumbnail sketch of what the Handhills Lake Stampede is really all about. Richard Preston