Edmonton First Responders Rodeo raises money for 2 local charities

Click to play video: 'Edmonton First Responders Rodeo raises money for two local charities' Edmonton First Responders Rodeo raises money for two local charities
More than 100 Edmonton-area first responders got their hands dirty at the Edmonton First Responders Rodeo, Saturday. It was the first time for the event in a couple years and an important one for some local charities. Nicole Stillger explains – Jul 16, 2022

The rodeo grounds in St. Albert were swarming with police officers, firefighters and paramedics who ditched their day jobs for bucking broncos. This, of course, is all part of the Edmonton Fire Responders Rodeo that was raising money for two local charities.

This year’s event is the third annual Edmonton First Responders Rodeo — which started five years ago but was put on hold for two due to COVID-19.

There are about 130 contestants, including Justin Nunes who competed in his first rodeo a couple of years ago.

“Let’s say it didn’t go very well,” he said. “I didn’t get hurt but I definitely didn’t get any time.”

There are a number of amateur participants like Nunes who are competing in classic events such as riding, racing, roping and some not-so-classic ones like cowboy poker.

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This is the third year firefighter and paramedic Brandon Novak has participated in the event, admitting there were some nerves when we first started.

“There might have been some liquid courage involved,” he admitted.

Action aside, this is all in support of two charities that work closely with first responders in Alberta: The Zebra Child Protection Centre, which supports kids impacted by abuse; and The Legacy Place Society, an organization that supports first responders, military personnel and their families.

“Knowing that there is so many people supporting them means they have a safe space to share their story,” said Zebra Child Protection Centre program support co-ordinator, Nadine Kereliuk.

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“I think it’s important for the community to come together and be a support behind the first responders,” agreed Diana Festejo, the executive director for Legacy Place Society. “They run into these dangerous situations when others will run away and we need to take care of them.”

In addition to the high-energy events, the community also had the chance to interact with police, EMS and firefighters at set-up booths.

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“They might see stuff on TV, the news, everything like that,” said Edmonton Police Service officer Andrew Hiller. “But then this is a first-hand knowledge and they get that experience.”

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