Here’s something even the riding aficionado might not know: the Gunners Bronc Battle in Gleichen is one of the top-paying rodeo events in Canada.

With such a sizeable purse – $20,000 this year – it’s no wonder the Wheatland County hamlet located 40 km. southeast of Strathmore can attract some of the best cowboys from the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Of course, having a fun, affordable, family-friendly event doesn’t hurt, either.

“Cowboys, even from the U.S., were very impressed with it,” says Marci Wilson, referring to the inaugural 2022 rodeo. “It was very windy last year, kind of rainy, and we were very worried about attendance. But we had an amazing turnout. It was something the cowboys seemed to like.”

Wilson volunteers with the Gleichen & District Ag Society, which is once again putting on the Gunners Bronc Battle. This year’s installment is set to take place on Wednesday, June 14 at Gleichen Arena. The rodeo itself gets started at 6:30 p.m., but attendees are also encouraged to enjoy a roast beef supper at 5:00. Free camping is available, and beer gardens will be set up for ticketholders.

“We’ll be having Alberta barbecued beef supplied from Hill Ranches at Bassano,” says Wilson. “For $50 you can have supper and attend the bronc riding. The price is $15 for kids between 6 and 12, and kids under 6 get in free.” She adds that rodeo-only tickets are $25, with 12-and-unders admitted free of charge. Meal tickets must be purchased by June 6.

Once again, the Ag Society will be providing all monies raised to local sports organizations. Minor hockey and figure skating will be among the beneficiaries, and junior rodeo events will be supported as well. Some of last year’s proceeds helped get the arena’s broken ice plant back up and running.

“It’s not going in our pockets,” says Wilson. “It’s going back into the community.”

For 2023, riding enthusiasts can look forward to cheering on NFR-qualifying cowboys. The roster is yet to be finalized, but last year’s included the likes of Dawson Haye, Jake Watson, and Chet Johnson. And in addition to the actual Bronc Battle, there will be a Calcutta and wild pony racing. Piper Yule, a 12-year-old trick rider, will provide the entertainment.

“It’s been a lot of work, but we’re excited for this year’s event,” says Wilson. “We’re hoping for a good turnout, and we plan to do even bigger and better things with it going forward.”

Tickets for the 2023 Gunners Bronc Battle and roast beef supper can be purchased online through Eventbrite or over the phone at (403) 901-9104.

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Sponsored content: Gleichen Ag Society