When Angel Toews brought her nine-year-old son to Daines Ranch for a youth rodeo this weekend, she didn’t expect to have such a great time.
The youth rodeo on Saturday and Sunday is a part of the 41st annual Ivan Daines Country Music Pick-Nic, a five-day country music festival where more than 30 artists perform, at the ranch north of Innisfail.
Toews, who made the trip from Watrous, Sask., sat in the stands watching her son Bronc in the saddle bronc competition while listening to the live music coming from the opposite end of the rodeo grounds.
“I think the whole event has been great and having the music in the background has been amazing. We came for the rodeo, but we’re staying for the good times,” she said.
Being able to continue to hold the event year after year is a ton of fun, said Central Alberta’s singing cowboy Ivan Daines.
“There’s always an energy present when people are having fun and there’s definitely an energy here,” said Daines.
The Pick-Nic was the first country music festival of its kind in Western Canada, Daines said. It has definitely gone through a change or two since its inception 41 years ago, he added.
“When it got dark outside in the first year we used truck and car headlights to see, so it’s changed quite a bit. Now we have electricity, a dance hall and a covered stage,” Daines said.
The event is celebrating Canada’s 150th year by bringing in Canadian performers. Most people Daines spoken with were especially excited to see Canadian country music star Bobby Bare perform on Saturday night, he said.
“It means a lot to me having him out here because he’s a great legend and a national treasure.”
Eckville’s Mel Brown was one of those in attendance who couldn’t wait to see Bare perform.
“I’ve been to the Pick-Nic quite a few times for the music and this year’s has been excellent. I’m really looking forward to seeing Bobby Bare,” Brown said.
Ponoka’s Donna Smith and her husband Bob Smith had missed out the past few Pick-Nics, but before that she attended the event fairly regularly. She was happy to be back out on the Daines Ranch this year, she said.
“It’s been great, we enjoy it every time we come out here. The artists playing are very good,” Donna Smith said.
Bob Smith always likes hearing Ivan Daines play because he’s known him for 50 years.
The Country Music Pick-Nic goes until Sunday night.