Calgary Police Rodeo charity event puts first responders back in the saddle – Calgary

What do you get when you mix first responders, a game of poker and an angry bull? A good time for a good cause.

On Saturday, the 35th-annual Calgary Police Rodeo will take over the Cochrane Lions Club Rodeo Grounds for a day of rodeo action while raising awareness for the Missing Children’s Society of Canada and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund

The Calgary Police Rodeo features all the traditional rodeo events including bronco busting, bull riding and barrel racing, seen here in this photo taken at the 2016 Calgary Police Rodeo. (Calgary Police Rodeo)

“There’s really two reasons we do it,” Ward Stene, one of the rodeo directors, told the Calgary Eyeopener.

“One is to raise awareness for our charities … but the second is to give our frontline emergency personnel a weekend to be with their families, to have fun, to just de-stress.”

Stene said the rodeo has been a smaller affair in years past.

But since changing venues to the Lions Club Rodeo Grounds last year, the attendance number shave almost doubled with about 3,000 people are expected to attend this year.

“It’s huge for us,” Stene said. “Our previous numbers were up around the 1,200, 1,500 range … and Cochrane has just  been an amazing host to us. So we look forward to our second year there.”

Playing chicken with a bull

Stene said the rodeo features all the traditional rodeo events including bronco busting and bull riding. But this rodeo culminates with a round of Bull Poker — a game of poker that turns into a game of chicken against a charging bull.

“But not many people get a chance to play poker because you’re busy watching the bull, who is probably lining you up for a shot,” said Stene. “So the last person out of their chair is the winner.”

2010 Calgary Police Rodeo Cowboy Bull Poker0:30

Police officers aren’t the only first responders vying for some belt buckles. Firefighters, paramedics and even…

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