The thrills and spills of the sport of rodeo will be making a return engagement to the community of Onanole, as part of the spring run of the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA).
The last time student athletes unleashed their competitive nature west of the townsite was in 2005, as the local committee was forced to cancel the event in 2006 due to a snowstorm, and the following two years with the Rural Municipality of Park trading properties and the land developed, a new location large enough to accommodate trucks and trailers of various magnitudes had to be found and the rodeo arena rebuilt.
With those tasks accomplished, families from across the province will converge on the new home of the Onanole high school rodeo located approximately one kilometre south of town on the old No. 10 highway on May 30 and 31. Western Manitoba contractor Five Star Bucking Bulls owned by Chris Coulson and partner Kim Martin will supply the stock for the event that will showcase the natural talents and friendly, competitive spirit of 100 students.
The weekend will be extra special, as along with regular high school rodeo competition, Onanole will serve as the host of the Wrangler Junior Finals. MHSRA national director Art Cochrane, who also sits on the local committee along with his wife Marilyn, said the reason for the hosting is the fact the Wrangler Finals on a national level are June 28 to July 4 in Gallup, New Mexico and paperwork needs to be in by June 1.
“The Wranglers – Grade 6 to 8 male and female students – will also have the opportunity to compete at Neepawa the following weekend and at the High School Finals weekend in Hamiota, June 12 to 14, for Manitoba awards,” said Cochrane. “The National High School Finals are slated for Farmington, New Mexico, July 19 to 25 and the Canadians, Aug. 7 to 9 at Williams Lake, B. C.”
Steve and Jan Cornelsen, Dale Nichols and Len Boles join the Cochranes on the committee. Assisting them by taking care of canteen duties will be the Erickson Collegiate Grade 12 students with all profits going their way.
By promoting the western heritage and traditions the Onanole Rodeo Committee continues to enrich the lives of students in and out of the arena. Royalties in terms of financial donations have been given in the past to Erickson Elementary and Collegiate, and Onanole Elementary School, for awards and/or sports equipment. With the committee also making a $900 donation to the Onanole Community Centre, the rodeo weekend also stands for community – a celebration of people, places and the rural lifestyle.
– Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba