WATCH: Third annual A Night at the Ranch continues to raise awareness and funds for mental health
Red Deer Advocate - 5/13/2018
At the Daines Rodeo Grounds in Innisfail on the second weekend in May, a unique rodeo tradition continues to gather steam.
In the third year of A Night At The Ranch, bull riders came from all across the world to support the cause and battle for cash in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association standings.
Proceeds raised from this year's event went to support Canadian Pro Sports Medicine and Smiles Thru Lindsay, a charity that collects funds in honour of Lindsey Moore. Moore tragically took her life at age 22 and the foundation is designed to support those suffering from mental illness through high impact programs.
"Rick and Cindy (Moore) are just amazing people. They're so passionate about their cause, helping everybody else and preventing what could happen," said committee member Gillian Grant, who organizes the event alongside Kyle Daines and a few others.
"We're happy they're supporting mental health and making the future a little bit brighter for some people. It's neat to see. It's a little bit overwhelming when we get everybody together and talk about it."
That draws a direct connection to last year's cause, as the 2017 event raised money for the Ty Pozzobon Foundation. Pozzobon, who won the inaugural event in 2016 tragically took his own life in January of 2017 at the age of 25.
"Kyle (Daines) and I met and we talked about it, we got Ron MacLean the first year and Ty won it. Last year we cleaning up the grounds and we found Ty's glove that he signed for one of the bull riders kids," Grant said.
"We had the date planned before what happened (to Ty). It's all really played out and it's crazy how it's all woven and we feel like there's somebody else out there making sure what is happening is supposed to be happening and we're just excited to be a part of that."
Grant said the goal this year was to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 this year and believes they should easily reach that goal.
The event expanded in 2018, adding a bucking horse challenge on Friday and for the first time, the prize money won by the best bull rider counts towards earning a spot in the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
"This year we went a step up and sanctioned it professionally. We do have a couple guys here from out of the country, so that's exciting to see them come up here and join us," Grant said.
Luke Gee was the bigger winner on Saturday, collecting a $10,000 check after posting an 84-point ride on Hot Roddy Road in the long go. No bull rider registered an eight-second ride in the championship round.
Red Deer's own Ashton Sahli won in the junior bulls with a 79.5-point ride.
Grant added they'll definitely make sure the event continues to be an annual one.
"We have a committee who meets throughout the year and we're really excited about the turnout and thankful for everyone that came out," she added.
Email sports tips to Byron Hackett
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