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Tag: Pincher Creek Mustangs

Brock Ramias, wearing his trademark number 23 yellow and green LCI Rams jersey in 2011.

#LiveLike23 football tournament carries a legacy

Many young men have a passion for football, and a love of the game and all it entails becomes part of who they are. This was the case for Brock Ramias.

As a student at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, Brock stood out for his prowess on the field, his leadership, and his support of his teammates.

From the LCI Rams, he went on to play for the Calgary Colts, primarily as a running back or defensive back. He played both sides of the ball and on specialty teams.

Brock’s jersey number was 23.

His football family was very important to him and some of his best friendships were forged on the field. He was known for his hard work, competitive drive and sportsmanship. He left everything out on the field every time he played and he was always working to be better. While Brock worked at a number of jobs, his life’s occupation was football.

These words are from Brock’s obituary. He died Oct. 18, 2015, at the age of 20.

“His superpower really was relationships,” says Brock’s mom, La Vonne Rideout.

She and Brock’s grandparents, Tom and Carol Ferguson, are well known for their community service in Pincher Creek.

 

 

Sharing laughs and memories over a day of football and a Mexican fiesta has become a way to celebrate a young man who made a difference in the lives of many.

Funds raised after his death created a base for the Brock Ramias Citizen Athlete Scholarship.

The $1,000 bursary is presented annually to an LCI student who shares Brock’s undying passion for their game, his kindness and determination to positively face challenges and influence others, and who values the importance of relationships with friends, family and all individuals.

“Brock was so committed and passionate about doing well, he really put all of his energies and efforts into being his best and helping those around him be their best,” says La Vonne.

“He recognized that most sports are not individual; when every member of a team does well, the whole team thrives.”

She loves the idea of a scholarship in Brock’s name. It is awarded to students who care about doing their best while helping everyone around them thrive and be the best they can be.

In 2016, the family asked people to do random acts of kindness, which led to a friendly football scrimmage. The next year, the family began hosting the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament, with proceeds raised to support the scholarship fund.

 

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From an adults-only game — people who played with or knew Brock and his brothers — the tournament has grown to three divisions.

Last Sunday, six adult, six bantam and two peewee teams came together for a day where the gathering of people, both players and spectators, and a motto of #LiveLike23 was as important as the game.

Cougars teams, with players mostly associated with Catholic Central High, took the top spot in all three divisions this year.

The event is like a family reunion where the family keeps growing and all are welcome.

La Vonne says it’s a labour of love for her oldest son, Brett.

“He is the one who spearheads the tournament and I try to be the best sidekick I can be.”

Family members come from all over the province and friends pitch in as well. Donations and sponsorships are beyond what La Vonne thought would ever be possible.

“I can’t thank them enough for holding Brock in their memories and hearts,” she says. “It’s not just the game, it captures the essence of a big part of who he was.”

La Vonne believes more people are understanding the “why” behind the event as it grows — the importance of relationships and of eliminating the stigma around opioid addiction.

While carrying Brock’s legacy forward, La Vonne encourages people to find something they love and do it well.

 

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

 

Shown at the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament are Pincher Creek players Ben Poloni and Will Schoening. Also donning blue Mustangs jerseys for the Sunday games at the Servus Sports Centre in Lethbridge were Brady Bonertz, Boston LeJan, Cody Querengesser, Rigdon Perry, Austin Norris, Layton Bailey and Keaton Tipple. They won the first game against the Coaldale Spartans but took a loss to the Cougars after being tied for much of the game.

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta
Faith Zachar accepts a floral arrangement from Pincher Creek Mustangs football players Will Schoening, Eric Clarke and Jake Reser.

Pincher Creek Mustangs end season with awards

The Pincher Creek Mustangs Football Club held its annual year-end banquet and awards ceremony Nov. 18 at the Pincher Creek Legion. The potluck supper event included players, coaches and parents from the club’s peewee, bantam and senior teams.

Plaques were awarded to 12 peewee team members. They were: Dillon Haidle (best offensive lineman), Dylan Anderson (best defensive lineman), Emmitt Smith (most improved player), Jake Reser (team spirit), Grady Dwyer (heart), Robbie Rochon (most valuable player), Drayton Shot Both Sides (rookie of the year), Lily Baillie (best defensive back), Ashton Webb (best running back), Seth Calf (best receiver), Robbie Rochon (offensive star) and Glen Hurst (defensive star).

 

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Ty Borys – youth wearing dusty rose sweatshirt and a backwards cap – holds a large trophy and two plaques. With him are Clayton LeJan, Chuck Clarke and Sean Oliver.

Hoisting his awards, Mustangs bantam football player Ty Borys poses with assistant coach Clayton LeJan, left, assistant coach Chuck Clarke and head coach Sean Oliver. Ty received the Patrick Zachar Trophy for Spirit, as well as defensive star honours. He’ll move on to the senior team next season.

Photo by Dave Lueneberg

For the bantams, the award winners were: Eric Clarke (MVP), Jack Simard (rookie of the year), Ty Borys (heart, defensive star), Beau Rector-Hunink (best defensive lineman), Jakob Klinec (offensive star), Boston LeJan (best offensive lineman), Ethan Albas (best receiver), Kayson Harrison (best running back), Lander Hurst (best defensive back), Jaxon Prince (most improved) and Kaydon Harrison (team spirit).

No formal awards were handed out to the senior team, but players were recognized with certificates and footballs for their memorable efforts.

“If you’re on a football team, you really should have a football,” said head coach Adam Schoening, who doubles as the club’s vice-president.

One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation of flowers to the club’s current president, Faith Zachar, for her continued support of the football program in Pincher Creek. Faith has been involved since the Mustangs’ inception back in 1995.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

Four young male football players from the Pincher Creek Mustangs stand with a male coach.

Shootin’ the Breeze – May 17, 2023

Mustang might

Pincher Creek Mustangs players Owen Olsen, Ben Poloni, Beau Rector-Hunink and Will Schoening played on the winning team at the U15 bantam all-star game in Lethbridge on May 7 where the White Knights came away with an 18-14 win.

Group of young football players pose at spring camp

Mustangs to host Stampeders Spring Football Camp

From April 28 to 29, Pincher Creek Mustangs Football will host its annual Stampeders Spring Football Camp, for southern Alberta’s aspiring young players, at Matthew Halton football field.

Athletes from grades 3 to 11 are invited to register for the camp, where Tre Roberson and Derek Wiggan of the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders will run drills and teach the fundamentals of football.

Players will be divided into groups based on age and experience. Younger athletes will learn basic stances and how to catch and throw the ball. Bantams and senior-level players will focus more on learning various plays and the intricacies of the game.

Faith Zachar, president of the Mustangs, has been running camps such as these for about 25 years. 

 

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“These camps teach the kids about football, but it’s also a chance to build their confidence and make them understand that there are opportunities to get into the CFL or university football if they work hard and learn the game,” Faith says.

She notes Mustangs alumnus Cord Delinte as a prime example of a player using what he learned at camps like the one coming up to go on to greater opportunities. 

Cord went on to have a great five-year football career, primarily as a defensive back, at the University of Regina. He received multiple all-star nods during his varsity career, and was even invited to the 2019 CFL Western Regional Combine.

Faith adds that kids will gain not just a greater understanding of football from the camp, but also bonds and life lessons that will follow them forever.

 

 

“I think football is vital to small communities,” she says. “The camaraderie, the teamwork and the friendships that these kids will develop are things that will stick with them the rest of their lives.”

The camp costs $75 per child for the full two days, or $50 if a child wishes to attend only one of the two days. Registration will be accepted right up to the day of the camp.

Each participating athlete is expected to take a water bottle, cleats and runners to the camp.

To preregister or for more information, you can contact Faith Zachar at 403-627-7751 or faithzachar@hotmail.com, or Shannon Schoening at 403-795-5710 or uc6ranch@gmail.com.