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Author: William Cockerell

William Cockerell attained his journalism degree from Concordia University and started his first journalism role at Shootin' the Breeze in 2022.
Rachel VanHalen, a woman with short brown hair and wearing a red vest, pushes a cart with activity bins at Pincher Creek Health Centre

Pincher Creek Health Centre seeking volunteers to support patients

Alberta Health Services is actively recruiting volunteers to help support patients at Pincher Creek Health Centre.

The call was put out across social media by AHS’s volunteer resources co-ordinator (south zone), Michelle Wilkinson, who says the hospital is in need of patient visitors, pets to visit with patients and home-care visitors.

“The ideal volunteer would be outgoing and offer support by engaging in conversation, listening, or simply spending time with patients who may be feeling lonely or isolated,” she says.

Preferred applicants would be expected to work collaboratively with health-care providers to ensure patients and their families are getting improved care and experiences.

Health centre volunteers typically approach the role with a desire to help others, and provide compassion to patients when needed. 

Anyone interested in helping out would need to be available 12 to 16 hours a month, with hours spread across three to four shifts. Applicants would need to commit to a minimum of one year of volunteering with Alberta Health Services.

“We offer flexible scheduling, allowing volunteers to find a time that fits with their current schedule,” Michelle says.

 

Pump bottles of colourful, natural soaps on ad for Lynden House Market in Pincher Creek

 

She notes that volunteering comes with numerous personal and professional benefits, including a sense of fulfillment, community engagement and career enhancement.

“Helping patients during challenging times can be deeply rewarding and provide a strong sense of purpose. It is a way to give back to one’s community and make a positive impact on the lives of others,” she says.

“Volunteering in a health-care setting can also serve as a stepping stone for individuals interested in pursuing careers in health care. It provides exposure to the health-care field and networking opportunities. Regardless of the role, volunteer experience looks great on a resume.”

AHS offers several courses to volunteers to help them in their roles, free of charge. Twice a year, it offers a palliative-care training course to volunteers to teach them how to assist patients who are at the end of life.

Those interested in applying to help patients at the health centre are encouraged to apply directly online. 

Applicants must complete AHS’s volunteer onboarding process, which includes a criminal background check, a health screen and two references. They must also participate in confidentiality and privacy training, as well as online, site and program-specific orientations and training.

For more information, contact Michelle directly by email or by phone at 403-562-5024.

Logo for Crowsnest Pass Fire Rescue featuring a crow, maple leaf, snowcapped mountains, an axe, a ladder and spruce trees

Crowsnest Pass recruiting paid on-call firefighters

If you’ve ever considered becoming a firefighter and live in Crowsnest Pass, now might be your chance to give it a go.

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has put out a recruitment call for paid on-call firefighters to join the ranks of the municipal fire department.

A career opportunities notice, posted online, states the department is in need of community-oriented applicants who exhibit a desire to keep the people of Crowsnest Pass safe. 

“We’re always looking for great people to join the department, so we put the call out on the municipal website to try and reach a wide spectrum of people. It’s been a successful recruitment drive here thus far,” says Craig Marshall, deputy chief of the fire department.

Any recruit must possess a number of minimum qualifications to become a paid on-call firefighter.

An applicant must be at least 18 years of age, be a resident of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, be eligible to work in Canada, provide a criminal background check, hold a Class 5 driver’s licence and pass a medical. 

On top of these minimum qualifications, applicants must exhibit a good attitude and teamworking skills.

 

Ad for Creekview Dental Hygiene clinic in Pincher Creek

 

In support of career firefighters, they must also have the capacity to follow directions and make practical decisions calmly on a moment’s notice. 

“We want people that we can trust, that the community can trust,” says the deputy chief.

“We’re often meeting people on their most vulnerable day, so it’s important that applicants show integrity, confidentiality and a desire to help just because it’s the right thing to do.”

Paid on-call firefighters are required to attend weekly training sessions and emergency calls on an as-needed basis. Due to the unpredictability of the job, hours can vary significantly, but generally range from two to 10 hours per week.

To apply, visit the career opportunities page on the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass website at bit.ly/3PJsyOn. 

Any questions about becoming a member of the municipal fire department can be directed to Craig Marshall at 403-562-8600 or by email.

Jack Simard, wearing a white and blue Mustangs football jersey catches a football while other players collide to his right.

Mustangs recruit enough athletes to field bantam football team

A few weeks ago, the Pincher Creek Mustangs football program was in jeopardy of being unable to field a team for the 2023-24 regular season because of changes to Football Canada’s roster rules.

Under the new rules, teams looking to compete in nine-a-side football needed 17 players registered before the season began, otherwise they’d be ineligible for regulation play.

Fortunately, the Mustangs were able to recruit enough players for their bantam team to compete in league action this year.

“We were thrilled to get the players we needed to field the bantam team,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“We had been recruiting since April when we had our Stamps Camp, and more recently, we started recruiting at all the schools and putting the word out on Facebook. When we finally came up with the last recruit we needed, we were just ecstatic.”

The team’s season opener was against the Lethbridge Rams Gold on Sept. 9 at the University of Lethbridge Stadium. Despite a solid effort, the Mustangs fell by a score of 34-6. 

Pincher Creek’s home opener was played this past Saturday at Matthew Halton Field, where the Mustangs faced the Lethbridge Coyotes in a nail-biter of a contest.

The Mustangs played well, even leading 14-0 partway through the third quarter, but the determined Coyotes mounted a comeback, capped by a touchdown with just 1.6 seconds left, to win the game 21-20.  

Despite the 0-2 record, Faith is thrilled with what she has seen from both new and returning Mustangs athletes on and off the field.

“They’re all so determined to play and help each other out, especially the ones returning to the team. You can tell they’re all becoming very close, very quickly,” she says.

 

Ad for Aurora Eggert Coaching in Beaver Mines

 

Sean Oliver, head coach of the bantam Mustangs, is also happy with this relatively inexperienced club.

“What’s nice to see as a coach is that they are playing to win every play. They may not have the experience, but they compete hard and aren’t afraid to go up against anybody,” he says.

“There’s a really good trajectory with these kids, and I’ve been really impressed with how well the boys have worked and how they’ve soaked up everything that I can teach them as a coach.”

Despite being unable to recruit a sufficient number of athletes for the peewee and senior clubs this year, both teams will be competing in exhibition games organized by the Mustangs throughout the fall.

Confirmed dates are posted to the Mustangs group page on Facebook, with more to be added later. 

The hope is that this time next year, the Mustangs will have a sufficient number of registered athletes for all three teams to compete in league play.

Based on the current makeup of the senior team, Faith believes the Mustangs should have enough bantam athletes moving up to the senior level to qualify for regular season play next year.

The same applies to peewee players moving up to the bantam level to meet roster needs, so the recruitment focus moving forward will be primarily on peewee athletes.

Jonathan Friesen, a man with red hair, sideburns and beard, looks into a microscope.

LRSD students will benefit from mobile science lab

High school students can now immerse themselves in an authentic research space suitable for environmental sciences programming, while earning dual credit in high school and post-secondary botany, ecology, geology, zoology and aquaponics courses.

A mobile environmental sciences lab, created collaboratively by Lethbridge College and Livingstone Range School Division, was launched Sept. 7. Representatives of the two institutions were on hand at PEAKS Campus, the school division’s place-based learning centre in Crowsnest Pass, to officially unveil the lab.

“I think that with this lab comes a unique opportunity to provide world-class education for our students that kids in rural areas tend to have trouble accessing otherwise,” says Chad Kuzyk, associate superintendent of curriculum and innovation for LRSD.

Students will have no shortage of experiential learning opportunities when using the field-study lab.

“This space will provide our students with an authentic learning experience that you just can’t get in the classroom,” says LRSD superintendent Darryl Seguin.

“We have this beautiful area that we live in, so what better way to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the environment and careers in the field than to provide them with the space to do so.”

 

Ad for Sara Hawthorn, Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass realtor

 

Jonathan Friesen, a lab technician for Lethbridge College who helped design the space, says the lab is equipped to ensure students have everything they need to conduct industry-standard studies.

“We want to get high school students interested in the environmental sciences, and this lab was designed to be a good way for students to get their feet wet,” he says.

The lab includes microscopes, binoculars, chest waders, nets, storage tanks, sensors, safety kits, weather gear, water flow measuring software, a generator and a canopy. It will provide students with a clear pathway into post-secondary education and careers in environmental sciences.

Students can rest assured that this one-of-a-kind mobile unit is designed for use during all four seasons.

“Countless hours of planning and work went into this custom project so it could be comfortable and self-sufficient for students year-round, and we are excited to see the learning experiences that will take place within it,” says Dr. Terry Kowalchuk, dean of Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment and Design, via press release.

In coming weeks, high schools within the division will have opportunities to check out the lab so that teachers and students alike know what new resources are at their fingertips.

This project was made possible by a $100,000 grant provided to the educational institutions by the Alberta Education Dual Credit Enhancement Fund.

Madison Stephens dressed in vampirish costume. Her face is painted white with black lips and eyes with dark tear lines running down her cheeks.

Madison seeks votes in Face of Horror contest

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means Pincher Creek residents will soon begin embracing the spooky season with costumes, decorations and displays galore. 

Perhaps no one is more ready for Halloween than Madison Stephens, who is gunning to be the next “Face of Horror.”

Madison is one of many contestants competing in the Face of Horror contest, vying to be featured on the cover of Rue Morgue, a multinational magazine devoted to covering horror fiction. 

The winner will also receive $13,000, a trip to Hollywood and a photo shoot at the famous Woodbury Mansion with Kane Hodder, known primarily for his role as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th films.

While Madison thinks each of the perks would be wonderful, she has her sights set primarily on the money, with a wholesome goal in mind.

“If this sum were dreadfully thrust upon me, I would likely invest a portion to my creative endeavours and the remainder would be spent on equipment and decor for our ever-growing Halloween display,” Madison wrote on the Face of Horror website.

“For over 15 years, my family has invested in our Halloween display, something that started as a beloved family tradition that has now become a highlight during October for our community, even prompting the local kids to dub our home the Halloween House.”

Madison is referring to her parents’ home, located in the residential area behind the Co-op. The Breckenridges have long been a family infatuated with the horror genre.

For over a decade, Madison and her family have travelled near and far, collecting unique animatronics and decorations to make Halloween feel special for local youth in particular.

“There were a few people who had large displays when I was a kid, and I really appreciated it growing up, so it’s great for us to have something like that for the kids to enjoy,” she says.

In order to win, Madison must get through nine weekly rounds of voting. The First To Die round comes to a close on Sept. 14, and Madison needs local support to stave off elimination. 

To vote for Madison, visit her online page at bit.ly/3PakMvz, click on free daily vote and register through email or Facebook. Everyone gets a free vote once every 24 hours. 

Those interested in submitting more votes can purchase them, as well. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, the largest provider of financial assistance to families dealing with pediatric cancer.

Cast your votes and help Madison and her family continue growing a community Halloween tradition.

Shootin’ the Breeze – September 13, 2023

The joy of literacy

Const. William Feran of Pincher Creek RCMP stopped by Canyon Elementary School last Friday to read Dolphin SOS to Grade 4 students. Const. Feran and several other volunteers read to children as part of the school’s International Literacy Day celebrations, reminding students of the importance of literacy.

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Youth run from the starting line of the Amazing Teen Race in Crowsnest Pass

Amazing Teen Race attracts 88 participants

Teens from Crowsnest Pass and surrounding area took to the streets of Coleman on Saturday for CNP 40’s eighth annual Amazing Teen Race. 

The race featured 22 teams of four who made their way through 15 unique challenges. Participants ranged from grades 7 to 12.

Racers went from one challenge station to the next, completing assigned tasks in order to receive their next clue.

The competition included a wide variety of challenges, including escape rooms, fitness circuits, paddleboard races, mannequin hair braiding, creating a song and posting it to social media, and operating a fire hose and hydrant as a team to hit a target.

“I think the race went really well this year. Our registration was full and the kids had a lot of fun with the challenges,” says Stephanie Olsen, co-ordinator of CNP 40 Developmental Assets.

“I think that the hosts that participated genuinely had fun with this event, too. They make the challenges and really put in the effort to make it fun for the teens.” 

The winning teams were determined based on how quickly they completed the challenges. 

 

Indoor and outdoor view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

In the senior high category, the Ducklings team, featuring Sophie Wendrich, Adam Wendrich, Lily Baillie and Nola McGaughey, took home first place. Each Duckling received a cash prize of $50. 

The NIKS team finished second, featuring Isaac Bailey, Sam Graham, Nate Amatto and Marley Harriott. Each received $25 for their effort.

First place among the junior high teams went to Alex Mertz, Halie Macdonald, Colin Pitt and Landon Sokoloski of the Benchwarmers team. Like the senior high winners, each team member received $50.

The HotWheels team, consisting of Neleta Crombie, Ayla Smith, Owen Smith and Paulo Cameselle, came in second and each was awarded $25.

Stephanie emphasizes how valuable the support that CNP 40 received for this event was.

“I think it’s a community effort,” she says. “The amount of volunteers that we need to do this each year is overwhelming, and yet we seem to rarely have any trouble finding hosts or volunteers because this community really comes together.”

This year’s challenge hosts were A Copper Bind Macrame, Aura Studios, Chris’ Restaurant, Coleman Lions, Crowsnest Adventures, Crowsnest Museum and Archives, Crowsnest Senior Housing — Peaks to Pines, Crow Works, Goal Diggers, Groves Music, the Black Hare, the Knight Family, Nature Conservancy Canada, CNP Protective Services/RCMP/Canadian Bear Safety Authority and CNP Fire Rescue.

CNP 40 thanks every one of its sponsors, challenge hosts, volunteers and participants for making this year’s Amazing Teen Race a successful one.

Wynn finds the gerbil in the 2018 Cowley Barn Hunt

Dogs will test their sniffers at the Cowley Barn Hunt

From Friday to Sunday, the Southern Alberta Working Herding Dog Association is hosting a series of barn hunt trials at the Cowley Community Hall.

Barn hunting tests the senses and physical capabilities of dogs that generally have a history of hunting above-ground vermin.

The rules are fairly straight forward. Gerbils are confined in opaque PVC tubes laid within a maze of straw bales. Dogs are brought into the designated perimeter and judged on their ability to sniff out the vermin. 

The tubes are strategically placed and somewhat covered, with vent holes drilled for the gerbils to breathe and to allow dogs to pick up their scent. Participating dogs must locate the tubes with a live gerbil and ignore tubes with gerbil litter, intended to throw them off. 

Rats are typically used for the trials, but given that rats are banned in Alberta, gerbils are used for the SAWHDA event.

Per the Barn Hunt Association LLC rules, SAWHDA will host two trials per day.

A BHA Licensed Barn Hunt Trial is a collection of classes of varying difficulty, from Instinct through Master, and optionally, the Crazy 8s class, where competitor/dog teams can earn qualifying scores/legs toward Barn Hunt titles. 

The courses and tubes are designed to be increasingly challenging depending on the division and class a dog belongs to.

 

Ad for Dragons Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek

 

Friday’s trials will feature Crazy 8s, a non-regular class that tasks dogs with going through a tunnel two to five times, before climbing atop a stack of hay two bales high. They then must find up to eight gerbils located in tubes, with four litter tubes on the course to throw them off.

Saturday and Sunday’s trials will see a mixture of dogs competing in classes across two divisions. Each trial will start with the instinct class, with subsequent classes following based on difficulty.

Friday’s trials will begin with check-in at 4 p.m., with the first dog expected in the ring by 5, to get the event underway.

Saturday and Sunday events will begin with 7 a.m. check ins and the first dog scheduled to be in the ring by 8.

Day-of-show entries are permitted, provided your dog is registered with the BHA and that the judging limits allow for it. 

The event is open to all breeds and mixed breeds as long as they are at least six months old, so there will certainly be an interesting mix of dogs competing for top honours.

The event is free to attend, so make sure to stop by the Cowley Community Hall this weekend and check out the entertainment.

Any questions regarding the trials should be directed to event secretary Stacy Gheseger, by email at sgheser@gmail.com or by cell at 403-896-4456.

Wavy image of pride colours

Empress Theatre stands with LGBTQ+ community following vandalism

Fort Macleod RCMP have arrested two youths in connection with an incident of vandalism during a Pride event at the historic Empress Theatre.

Last Saturday, the Fort Macleod Pride Committee hosted a drag show at the Empress Theatre as part of the town’s annual Pride celebrations.

Just 10 minutes into the show, audience members began to notice what Denise Joel, who chairs the Empress board, called a “very unpleasant, putrid smell.” 

Unbeknownst to those in attendance, a group of youths had begun pouring a noxious black liquid out of a glass container onto the floor.

“They were sitting in the back, and there was no sign that there would be any trouble. All of a sudden, we started to smell something quite unpleasant. Initially, people thought someone had set off a stink bomb,” Joel said.

“They had this container hidden in a bag, and they were leaking that substance onto the floor, beneath their seats, then they got up to leave and continued to leak that substance onto the carpet. When they reached the foyer, they smashed the entire contents of this jar onto the floor.”

Police, having been made aware of the disturbance, were quick to apprehend two suspects as they attempted to flee the scene.

Initially, police were informed that a smoke bomb had been discharged in the theatre, but investigation later revealed that fisher and marten lure oil had been used.

 

Wedding banquet view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Due to online backlash regarding scheduled Pride events, the town had a heavy police presence during Pride festivities, making this act of vandalism a bold one. 

“It didn’t happen just randomly, that’s certainly apparent,” Joel said.

“It was targeted, it was meant to happen at that specific event, and I think that’s very concerning. There is absolutely no place for this kind of act.”

The theatre announced on its social media pages that it will be closed until further notice, while the extent of damages is determined.

“A big part of the issue is that it’s a historic theatre, a lot of what’s damaged is of historic significance, so we’re just ensuring that everything can be cleaned appropriately and properly. We hope, obviously, it can all be restored quickly,” Joel said.

The same day as the Empress incident, another act of vandalism targeting a Pride event was carried out when the community flagpole and Pride flag were torn down and burned. 

In the wake of the incidents, both the Empress Theatre and Fort Macleod Pride have received unwavering support from the general public through messages, donations and more. 

In a statement issued by the Town of Fort Macleod, members of town council condemned what they referred to as “heinous actions.” 

Both the Empress Theatre and Fort Macleod Pride have since issued statements thanking everyone who has stood by them and offered their support.

“The Empress has always been, and will always continue to be, a safe and inclusive place for all. Please remember: Love always wins,” says an online statement from the theatre.

The Empress says it will work with local RCMP, the Town of Fort Macleod and other authorities to identify the best way to move forward.

The two incidents remain under investigation by RCMP.

Woman with short, dark hair and glasses speaks from a podium while pointing to a photo display

KBPV unveils Part II of Bert Riggall photo exhibit

 Part II of the photo exhibit Bert Riggall: An Intimate Visual of the Southwest Alberta Mountains is now on display in the front entrance of Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek. 

The two-part exhibit features photos taken by Bert Riggall, a highly respected mountain guide, outfitter and naturalist, whose photos from the first half of the 20th century perfectly encapsulate the natural beauty of the greater Waterton region.

Part I focused on photos taken by Bert during his early years in southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, operating a packtrain business out of Waterton and taking tourists on backcountry trips and fishing expeditions. 

Part II now features photos taken by Bert during backcountry trips through the upper Oldman Watershed, including notable landmarks such as Beehive Mountain, Little Bear Lake and Mount Lyell.

“Bert’s photos are visually stunning,” says Farley Wuth, curator at KBPV. “Many of those backcountry trails have not been photographed by other photographers, so it’s a good visual record of the history of that country.”

An avid photographer, Bert captured some of the region’s most stunning landscapes in his shots, while providing a bird’s-eye view of the local history of backpacking during the pioneer days.

While the photos are phenomenal visual representations, Bert took things one step forward by providing written details on the back of nearly every photo featured in the exhibit.

“On the reverse side of virtually every photograph, he’s written down when the photo was taken, the type of camera that was used, the details of the trip, where it was, who was in the party, things like that,” Farley says.

 

Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion

 

“It’s great that he took the photos, but it’s equally great that he wrote down the details of what the images are all about. It’s great to have that history.”

This travelling exhibit was organized by Wendy Ryan, president of the Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation, a non-profit outdoors group based in Pincher Creek. 

Wendy has spent roughly six years working on the exhibit, but has studied Bert Riggall’s life and accomplishments for far longer. 

After moving to the area in 1980, Wendy married an outfitter and the pair would often ride horses together along various trails. She did not know they were Bert Riggall trails, nor did she know of their significance, until she met Bert’s grandchildren.

Thanks to the Russell family, she learned and developed an appreciation for the hard work that goes into running an outfitting business, and for Bert’s ability to take photos under difficult circumstances.

Wendy feels it is important not only to promote Bert as an important historical figure to the region, but also to promote the stunning and unique landscapes the region has to offer.

“We’d like to encourage people that would like to learn more about the area to just go out there and discover little hidden gems like the Old Man Falls,” she says. 

“I probably drove by the falls a couple of times without realizing they were there because you need to get out of your car and walk 100 metres, and there it is, and it’s very beautiful.”

Wendy will conduct a presentation of Part II of the Bert Riggall exhibit on Aug. 30 at KBPV, so those interested in learning more about Bert are encouraged to attend.

 

 

Two football players, white jersey carrying the ball

Football Canada’s new roster rules shroud Mustangs in uncertainty

For three decades, Mustangs football has been a staple of support for the development of children in Pincher Creek. However, new roster rules are jeopardizing the program’s operations.

In January, the Mustangs received an email from Football Alberta stating that Football Canada had made changes to its roster rules that took effect Jan. 1.

In accordance with the new roster rules, teams looking to play nine-a-side football, with less than 17 registered players before the season starts, will be ineligible for league play in the 2023-24 season. 

Football Canada has informed provincial football associations of the changes and these associations will enforce the new rules accordingly.

“I’m just so worried that we’re going to lose football,” says Faith Zachar, president of the Pincher Creek and District Mustangs Football Society.

“For 29 years, we’ve had a lot of children go through the program and we have seen them grow and support each other, while learning the game.”

“We have second-generation players now,” she says. “Their fathers played way back when we first started, and now their children are playing, so I think that shows that it’s been a real benefit to the town.” 

The program has struggled to recruit local youths to register for football since the Covid-19 pandemic, but has managed to get by. Now, without community involvement, Mustangs operations will be heavily impeded.

 

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Currently, the Mustangs boast senior, bantam and peewee football teams. However, none of them have enough registered players to be eligible for league play. Five seniors, nine bantams and five peewees are currently registered.

If the Mustangs fail to register enough players for at least one of the teams by Aug. 26, it will be the first time in the program’s history it has failed to field a team, with the exception of the pandemic period.

“We’ve had a few years where maybe we lost one of the teams because we didn’t have enough players, but we always had at least two teams in the league that we’re in, and I’d hate to see it all go down,” Faith says. 

What the suspension of play could mean for the Mustangs remains unclear, but failing to have a team play in the regular season would do the program and its athletes no favours.

Cord Delinte, a Mustangs alumnus, can certainly speak to the positive impact the Mustangs can have on a youth’s upbringing. 

Having played a successful five-year football career at the University of Regina, the skills and lessons Cord picked up with the Mustangs took him all the way to the 2019 CFL Western Regional combine.

“The Mustangs had a huge impact on me growing up,” he says. “It kept me out of a ton of trouble, and obviously brought me to a much higher level of football, and I owe all that to the Mustangs.”

He emphasizes that community involvement and support are necessary for the Mustangs to thrive, and that in return, the program can help support local youths in ways that go beyond football.

 

 

“I found that when I played, there were so many kids that were kind of oddballs or didn’t fit in or had trouble socially, and then they found this outlet where everybody came together as a team,” he says.

“The beautiful thing about football is there’s a spot for every kid, every body type has a position in football, and I think it’s beautiful when you can actually get all these different kids together.”

For parents with concerns about safety, Faith offers assurance that the program takes the safety of its athletes very seriously.  She notes that coaches are trained in safe contact and proper tackling techniques, and that the program’s history of player injuries is sparse. 

“We do everything we can to keep everybody safe,” she says.   

The Mustangs hold practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., for all three teams, at Matthew Halton Field. Those interested in registering to join the Mustangs can do so at their next practice on Aug. 26. 

It costs $275 to register your child for the season and KidSport support is available for those that are eligible for financial assistance. Kidsport Pincher Creek can be reached at 403-627-4322.

If you’re interested in registering your child for the Mustangs but can’t make it to practice this week, you can contact Faith Zachar at 403-627-7751 or faithzachar@hotmail.com, or Shannon Schoening at 403-795-5710 or uc6ranch@gmail.com.

Girl on horseback rides, carrying a large Canadian flag

Local cowgirls set to kick off rodeo festivities

Continuing with local rodeo tradition, the Pincher Creek Ranch Girls will kick off each day of the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo with choreographed routines on horseback.

The grand entry ride, an annual pro rodeo highlight, provides high-energy entertainment while giving the rodeo organizing committee a chance to thank sponsors, whose generous contributions help make the event a success.

“It’s such a highlight because it starts the rodeo off on the right tempo. It’s always such a fun routine to watch,” says Lynn Lievers, who co-chairs the organizing committee.

“They come in, they look great and they move quickly. The music’s always fun to listen to and it really sets us up to have fun.”

Along with team lead Hailey Grove, the troupe features Gray Bennett, Kate Bennett, Morgan Dingreville, Ava Jessen, Kenna Lewis, Gianna Morris, Angelina Morris, Morgan McNab, Kelly Turnbull and Kim Turnbull. 

Each day, the team will enter the arena, with each rider carrying a flag embossed with the logo of a rodeo sponsor.

The gals gallop around the ring, performing well-practised patterns to high-energy music.

 

Ad for Ascent Dental in Pincher Creek

 

In addition to leading rodeo festivities each day, the group assists with escorting cattle from the arena during events to ensure things run smoothly and on time. 

The group will also be featured in the town parade on Saturday, where they will once again fly the sponsors’ flags as they ride their horses down Main Street.

Furthermore, the group will correspond with dignitaries coming into town for the rodeo, working with them to ensure they are properly introduced.

“We’re here to rodeo, we’re here to have fun, and their performance provides a nice way to roll into the rodeo and have the right atmosphere,” Lynn says.

When it comes to the grand entry routine, she says “no one year is ever the same,” so you won’t want to miss the performances.

Young boy squeals with delight while riding a sheep

Local kids ridin’ into rodeo weekend

Local youths will put their best boot forward this weekend as they participate in various events, including the kids rodeo, mutton bustin’, wild ponies and more.

“They’re our future rodeo stars,” says Marie Everts, a member of the rodeo organizing committee.

“Having youth involved in the rodeo weekend is always an important aspect of the events in order to grow these future rodeo champions, stars, volunteers, participants and all of the other people that make the rodeo a success.”

The opportunities for the future rodeo stars begin Friday at 10 a.m. with the Kids Fun Rodeo, a free event for participants and spectators alike. 

The Kids Rodeo features a wide range of events, including keyhole races, barrel racing, pole bending, flag races, a boot race and, a favourite among spectators, the toilet paper race.

Anyone 18 and under is welcome to participate. Those interested must register in person at the rodeo grounds between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on the event day. A parent or guardian must be present to sign a waiver.

 

 

The fun doesn’t stop there for kids, as local youths will compete in mutton bustin’ at noon on Sunday. Children aged three to six will be put to the test as they attempt to ride sheep in the rodeo arena.

Despite increasing the number of available sheep for this year’s rodeo by 10 compared to last year, all 30 sheep have a rider ready for the event.

Participants in the mutton bustin’ event must have a properly fitted helmet and be at the arena by 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Wild ponies will return once more as the followup to the bull riders on Saturday and Sunday. 

Following the event’s successful debut during last year’s rodeo, children aged nine to 14 will compete in teams of three to see who can mount and stay on a bucking pony the longest.

One team member acts as the anchor, holding the pony and trying to slow it down, another attempts to put their arms around the pony’s neck to hold it still, and the third is the rider.

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

This year’s teams feature:

—Kash Lievers, Ridge Flundra and Lachlan Stauffer

—River Koster, Nash Lund and Acey Adair

—Stran Lievers, Cooper Plain Eagle and Jaydon Vold

—Jack Emerson, Casey Emerson, and Hayden Stav

—Angelina Morris, Morgan McNabb and Natalie Donahue

—Grady Dwyer, Rudy Barrios and Sierra Chartier

Teams will be ranked based on their average times scored on Saturday and Sunday, with prizes handed out to the team with the best average.

The calf scramble is also back thanks to the Pincher Creek Legion’s donation of four bikes for the event. The scrambles will occur during intermission, following the trick riders’ performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Kids aged seven to nine and 10 to 12 can chase after a calf with a ribbon tied around its tail, with the goal being to get the ribbon and bring it back to the announcer. The fastest youngster in each age group wins the race and a bike.

Preregistration is not required and children can head down to the calf scramble once it is announced at intermission. 

Lastly, there will be a sandpit, loads of kids games and much more. There’s something for children of all ages at this year’s rodeo!

 

Poster for Fred Penner concert in Pincher Creek

Join Fred Penner for an evening of family entertainment

Fans of Fred Penner won’t want to miss his free show when the entertainer visits Lebel Mansion in Pincher Creek this Wednesday, Aug. 16!

Following the success of its balcony concert series, the Allied Arts Council of Pincher Creek is now preparing to cap off its outdoor summer entertainment with its most prolific performer to date.

Dubbed A Summer Night With Fred Penner, the concert will bring quality family entertainment for all ages from the four-time Juno award-winning Canadian children’s entertainer.

“We’re excited to host Fred,” says Kassandra Chancey, AAC’s assistant director. “It feels really special and we’re just hopeful for a great and excited crowd.”

A full-time musician since 1972, Fred is best known for songs like “The Cat Came Back” and “Humility.” His TV series, Fred Penner’s Place, ran for 13 seasons with over 900 episodes airing across Canada from 1984 to 1997. 

The concert will be Fred’s first in Pincher Creek, and the renowned performer is excited to bring his feel-good brand of entertainment to town.

“Every gig, regardless of venue, has the same value. For me, it’s about connecting with people who have had some link with me over the years, whether it’s through my music, television series or festivals,” Fred says.

“I’ve been doing this long enough that a lot of people have some sort of link with my legacy and with my career, so I’m just delighted to come to Pincher Creek and meet the folks. It’s gonna be a lovely day.”

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

Regarded as a pioneer of children’s music in Canada over his 51-year career, Fred has never wavered from his mission to inspire others with his music, positivity and advice that resonate with people both young and young at heart.

For those unfamiliar with Fred Penner, the man himself perfectly describes his inclusive, family-friendly entertainment style to Shootin’ the Breeze.

“It’ll be very eclectic, with lots of different styles of song that carry many influences from my own childhood,” he says. 

“Most of the songs will have a participation quality to them, where I encourage the audience to join me on this musical path so that at the end of our time, we feel as though we have shared something pretty important together.”

Last year, the AAC elected to go out on a limb and see if it was possible to book Fred Penner for a concert at the Lebel. To their surprise, it fit his tour schedule. From there, the arts council felt the show needed to happen, no matter what. 

“The Allied Arts was prepared to just take on whatever we needed to bring Fred to the community, because I feel that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have him come to our small town,” says Kassandra.

“We were really lucky that when we reached out to local businesses to sponsor the event, we had a huge outpouring of support, so we’ve had some great sponsors.”

Fred will perform on a portable stage on the mansion grounds rather than from the Lebel balcony, as past performers have. Kassandra says this is so that children, particularly, can witness the concert up close and be further immersed in Fred’s performance. 

The section of Kettles Street in front of Lebel Mansion will be closed, to make the concert as safe as possible. With this in mind, AAC requests that those driving to the show use the St. Michael’s Church parking lot at the corner of Schofield Street and Christie Avenue.

Gates for A Summer Night With Fred Penner open at 5:30 p.m. Make sure you arrive early, as the show begins at 6:30.

Man in turquoise shirt, grey pants and blue and red cap swings bat in a slo-pitch game

Slo-pitch league hits the diamonds and invites players

The first round of softball games lit up the diamonds last week at Juan Teran Regional Park in Pincher Creek. Every Tuesday and Thursday until the weekend of Sept. 10, teams will gather at the park for friendly games of softball.

Following weeks of casual play, the season will wrap up with a league-wide tournament to see who will claim bragging rights, while keeping things fun and loose.

Pincher Creek Slo-Pitch is a mixed recreational softball league with the goal of ensuring that all players, whether men or women, have a space to have fun, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the game of softball.

“It’s a fun league for people to get out and enjoy themselves in the warm weather every year with as many teams and as many people as we can get,” says Cole Campbell, six-year veteran and head organizer for the league.

Individuals and teams can still register to join the league.

“There’s never a worry about the skill level, it’s mostly for fun,” Cole says. “We love seeing new faces out there. It gets us to play a little more and have a little more fun, but every year has always been fun.”

Typically, teams will field 10 people at a time, but given that this is a mixed league, teams are required to field a minimum of three men or women at a time.

In slo-pitch, the pitcher releases the ball slower and lobs it high into the air, providing batters more time to set up and react to the pitch.

The cost of registering a full team for the season is $450, with teams typically ranging from 15 to 20 players, while individuals can register for $20.

To register, potential teams are asked to contact the recreation office at 403-627-4322, while individuals looking to join a team can call Cole at 403-632-6059.

 

 

Ad for Shadowbar Shepherds Training in Pincher Creek

 

 

Man in turquoise shirt, grey pants and blue and red cap swings bat in a slo-pitch game

 

Presenter stands to the left of crowd viewing screen at open house

Pincher Creek climate risks and adaptations

Jeff Zukiwsky, project manager for the Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan, addressed regional climate projections and risks for the Pincher Creek area along with projected costs of climate events versus the cost and benefits of adaptation measures at a June 28 open house.

Results presented focused on climate-change risks facing Pincher Creek, how these risks could affect the community, risks to prioritize and how to adapt to those risks.

The main risks identified, based on likelihood and potential consequences, include flooding, wildfire, drought, water shortage, extreme heat, loss of winter recreation and wildfire smoke.

About 20 people turned out to hear Zukiwsky speak about steps taken in developing the plan, adaptation measures identified and the economic analysis of doing nothing.

The action plan contains 35 recommended climate adaptation actions, listed under five categories: health and well-being, disaster resilience, infrastructure, parks and environment, and economy. 

According to the report, while climate change is expected to bring some economic benefits to the Pincher Creek region, the total economic impact is projected to be overwhelmingly negative. 

Under the high future climate scenario, it is anticipated that climate change will lead to economic losses estimated at $18.3 million and $32.8 million (in 2020 dollars) per year, on average, by the 2050s and 2080s, respectively.

Those who attended the open house were given the opportunity to provide feedback, ask questions and talk with those involved in the project. 

Based on the reactions, comments and questions, Tristan Walker, municipal energy project lead, feels the crowd was on board with the plan as presented.

 

 

“The positive feedback sets us up to pursue adaptation measures and stay ahead of climate change, as opposed to reacting to it,” he says. 

“This is an opportunity to invest in our future and to leverage this plan as a tool to pursue funding to go forward with some of these adaptation measures.”

For Walker, a major takeaway was hearing about a lack of trust in the town and MD’s community engagement processes, as a number of residents expressed disgruntlement with past attempts to engage the community in various decisions and actions.

They made it clear that, in the past, they felt ignored when called upon for similar community engagement due to a lack of action taken based on their comments, suggestions and requests. 

“A big part of this is going to be us rebuilding that trust and saying, look, we really do value your input, and we’re working hard to implement these things within the scope of our responsibilities,” says Walker.

The Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan was collaboratively prepared by the Town and MD of Pincher Creek, the Piikani Nation and a consulting team led by All One Sky Foundation.

The Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan report contains a complete list of recommended actions. The costs of inaction and a full economic analysis of climate risks are also highlighted in the full report. 

Funding for this project was provided by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s Climate Resilience and Capacity Building Program. The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre is a partnership of Alberta Municipalities, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the Government of Alberta.

Residents with questions or comments are encouraged to email Tristan Walker.

Kids playing outside with colourful parachute game

Boredom busters back for boundless fun!

Boredom doesn’t stand a chance with Pincher Creek kids this summer as the town’s recreation department rolls out its annual Boredom Busters summer camps.

For children aged five to 12, the camps feature a wide variety of crafts, games, field trips and other activities.

Each week comes with a different theme to keep things fun and fresh. This summer’s featured themes include Canadian week, music week, circus week and more.

“We will be doing crafts that fit the weekly theme, swimming each day, local field trips to the fire station, vet clinic and bowling alley, walking to parks in the community, and playing other fun children’s games,” says Olivia Olivieri, the town’s summer programming co-ordinator.

“My hope is that the kids not only have fun, but also learn from the camps as well.”

Olivia also hopes that parents will feel comfortable sending their children, knowing they will be provided with a fun environment over the summer.

Registration for Boredom Busters closes on Thursday afternoons prior to each week of camps, so parents need to plan ahead.

To register, you can pick up a form at the recreation office, send an email or register online .

Each day costs $35 for one child. If you are registering additional children, the cost is $30 per extra child.

For more information, contact Olivia by email at summergames@pinchercreek.ca or by phone at 403-627-4322.

Cattle graze on a green hillside on McIntyre Ranch in Cardston County, Alberta

Protecting the globally rare grasslands of McIntyre Ranch

The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada are joining forces to help protect one of Canada’s largest remaining stretches of prairie grasslands and wetlands.

McIntyre Ranch, a 129-year-old working cattle ranch south in Cardston County, has been marked for conservation thanks to an agreement between the two groups and the landowners.

Established in 1894, McIntyre Ranch is home to over 150 species of plants and wildlife, including 13 species at risk. The Thrall family has owned and operated the ranch since 1948, when Ralph Thrall purchased the land from Billy McIntyre’s estate. 

“We are grateful to be partnering with NCC and DUC as we work together and share the responsibility to conserve prairie grasslands,” said Ralph A. Thrall III, president and CEO of McIntyre Ranch Co., through a press release. 

“This relationship will help us achieve our sustainable ranching practices in conjunction with our ‘balance with nature’ philosophy. We are proud to play a role in conserving something that is the way that it used to be.”

Through a conservation easement, this 22,000-hectare ranch will see its natural integrity preserved by limiting future land development on the ranch site — commercial, residential or otherwise. 

 

 

While the Thrall family will continue to oversee operations on the ranch, the land cannot be cultivated or cleared for future undertakings. The terms of the easement will remain in place in the future, regardless of the land’s ownership, as the conservation easement is attached to the land title.  

Upon completion, this project will stand as the largest conservation agreement in Canadian history.

“Conservation projects like the McIntyre Ranch give me hope,” says Catherine Grenier, president and CEO of NCC.

“By conserving the McIntyre’s cultural and natural history today, we are securing a nature-positive future for us all.” 

Over the years, Canada has lost over 80 per cent of its prairie grasslands due to land conversion, which is leading to the loss of nearly 60,000 hectares of grasslands annually nationwide. 

Alberta alone loses roughly 10,000 hectares of grasslands per year, leaving the province with just 26 per cent of its native grasslands intact.

 

 

Like the McIntyres before them, the Thrall family prides itself on sustainable stewardship in maintaining the natural value of the ranch. The efforts of four generations tending the ranch will ensure this rare and valuable habitat will be protected for generations to come.

Moving forward, the Alberta and federal governments are contributing $16 million to this project, while Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada are raising the remainder.

Despite this funding, $3 million is still required to complete the conservation project. The exact cost of the project has not been disclosed publicly.

For more information on this project and how to donate to the cause, visit conservemcintyreranch.ca.

 

 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Documents shed new light on early Pincher Creek ranches

Dream to conserve the Yarrow comes to fruition

Who is minding Alberta fish and wildlife

 

Five women stand together after presentation of a cheque and plaque from the Community Society of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta to the Pincher Creek Humane Society.

Summer fundraisers will assist Pincher Creek Humane Society

With the recent influx of cats and dogs being brought to the shelter, the need to raise funds is at an all-time high for the  Pincher Creek Humane Society. The organization is preparing for what is shaping up to be a busy summer of fundraising events.

“We’re totally non-profit, so we rely on grants, fundraising and donations,” says Felicia White, executive director of the PCHS.

“We get funding from the town and MD each year, but it’s not enough to keep the shelter running at the capacity that is being required of us right now, and it’s not fair to the animals.”

To help alleviate the financial stressors facing the shelter, Felicia, along with board members, staff and volunteers, has organized a number of events and programs throughout the summer to raise money, while engaging the community with some fun activities.

“The PCHS is here to help the animals, but also to educate the public, so these are things that could help us but also help in terms of engaging our community,” Felicia says.

The next fundraising opportunity at the shelter is Kids Paint Night at the shelter. For $25, parents can register their child for a fun-filled evening featuring a tour of the shelter, quality time with the animals and, of course, painting.

 

 

This event will recur throughout the summer. Dates for children aged six to nine are scheduled for June 8 and 29 and July 6. The dates for children 10 to 13 are June 6 and 27 and July 4.

Each slot will run with a maximum of six kids from 5 to 8 p.m. Children are expected to bring their own food and drinks, but art supplies will be provided on-site. Preregistration is required.

Next on the agenda is the shelter’s ’80s Dance Night, an adults-only event. Community members are invited to join the Humane Society at the Pincher Creek Legion on June 10 for an evening of dancing in your best ’80s threads.

The event will feature entertainment by Bluerock Music, and food and alcohol will be served.

Tickets are available at the shelter for $20. You can also support the shelter by purchasing 50-50 tickets at the event.

 

 

Next up is the first of three Pyjama Parties at the shelter for children aged five and up. For $25, parents can sign up their child for this evening of movies, games and interacting with the animals. 

The parties will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 23, July 14 and Aug 4. Other dates may be added, based on community interest. Children are asked to bring a pillow, blanket and a snack.

Only six children can attend per party, so if you’re a parent interested in having your child attend, make sure to preregister soon.

Lastly, the shelter will host a garage sale and barbecue Aug. 18. The PCHS is looking for donations of usable, unwanted household items to sell. 

The money will go toward supporting the animals, in addition to helping jump-start some new community programs. Examples include the Spay/Neuter Low Income Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Trap/Neuter/Return program (TNR). 

 

 

Currently, the organization has an ongoing bottle drive to raise funds. Residents are encouraged to donate their unwanted bottles to the shelter or to drop them off at the depot and let its staff know they’re for PCHS.

Last year the shelter raised $6,000 through its bottle drive, and the goal this year is $8,000.

In a few weeks, the shelter hopes to have a new community dog wash station set up for public use. The station will cost a small fee per use, with the money supporting the animals in the shelter’s care.

The dog wash station was made possible thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwest Alberta.

If you are unable to make a donation but still wish to help, consider volunteering at the shelter. Volunteer orientation seminars are held the second Saturday of each month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Stop by the shelter, fill out a volunteer form and see what it is all about. 

 

Woman with long dark hair and sunglasses, dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, lounges in an empty spa tub

Get ready for the Reuse and Recycle Fair

Spring is in the air and so is spring cleaning! As folks tackle annual decluttering jobs, there are always items that can be passed along, reused or recycled. If you’ve been cleaning closets, now is the time to gather your goodies, as the Town and MD of Pincher Creek team up to bring back the Reuse and Recycle Fair.

The event runs Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, at the MD administration building parking lot and eco centre.

The fair provides an opportunity to hand over unwanted household items for possible reuse or for proper disposal. 

“If you’re cleaning out your basement or garage and have unwanted items, rather than disposing of these items at the landfill, bring them to the fair to be recycled,” says Rhonda Oczkowski, recreation programmer for the town.

“Someone else might see your discarded items as a treasure.”

Town and MD staff will act as volunteers to help residents properly dispose of their items and potentially walk away with a hidden gem.

 

 

 

This is the first time the MD is part of the event, which in the past was predominantly looked after by town staff.

“We’re super pleased that the MD will be partnering with us in order to host this,” says Rhonda.

“In the past, we’ve had the fair at the Pincher Creek Co-op parking lot,” she adds. “But this year, we’re moving it to the MD parking lot because they’re straight across from the eco centre, so you can do everything at once.” 

Town and MD staff will be joined by DBS Environmental, an Alberta-based company that provides waste-management solutions. DBS will assist locals with household hazardous waste, which may otherwise be difficult to dispose of properly. 

This provides an opportunity to get rid of hazardous items such as paints, batteries, sprays, cleaners and much more.

The Pincher Planters will also be at the fair doing a plant exchange. If you’re looking to pick up a new plant or drop one off, this is a great chance to do so.

 

 

The Lions club is expected to have representatives on-site with a drop-off station where they will accept glasses, cellphones and hearing aids.

This year marks the fair’s long-awaited return after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Rhonda, the town received multiple calls from residents interested in bringing the fair back, so it seemed like a no-brainer for the town and MD.

Rhonda also noted that the fair provides an environmentally responsible way to manage disposal rather than having things end up in the landfill.

Items left at the end of the day will be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Folks are asked to not show up before the 10 a.m. start time, to ensure that volunteers can properly set up to run the event safely and smoothly. 

Residents are expected to use their better judgement to differentiate what can be reused and what is hazardous waste.

 

 

The following is a list of household hazardous waste commonly taken to waste collection sites that can be brought to the Reuse and Recycle Fair for safe disposal:

—Abrasive Cleaners

—Acetone

—Aerosol paints and sprays 

—Air freshener (aerosol)

—All-purpose cleaners (solvent-
ased)

—Ammonia

—Ant/wasp spray

—Antifreeze

—Autobody filler

—Barbecue starters

—Bleach

—Brake and transmission fluid

—Butane refills

—Carbon tetrachloride

 

 

—Car (lead-acid) batteries

—Car waxes and polishes
solvent and water based)

—Contract cement

—Degreasers (petroleum based)

—Disinfectants

—Drain cleaners

—Fabric softeners

—Floor wax strippers

—Hair sprays (aerosol)

—Insecticides

—Kerosene

—Laundry starch

—Laundry stain removers

—Lighter fluid

—Liquid cleaners

—Lye

—Mildew removers

—Muriatic acid

—Nail polish and remover

—Oven cleaners

 

 

—Paint thinners and strippers

—Paints (oil and water based)

—Photographic chemicals

—Propane gas cylinder
recyclable)

—Rubbing alcohol

—Septic tank degreaser

—Shoe polish

—Silver and brass polish

—Solvents, turpentine, varnish,
acquers

—Spot remover

—Spa and pool chemicals

—Toilet cleaner

—Tub and tile cleaners

—Used oil (where recycling is not
vailable)

—Weed killers

—Windshield washer solution
ontaining methyl alcohol

—Wood preservative