Ivan Daines and Friends 36th Annual Country Music Picknic
With over 100 performers, including critically acclaimed musicians, master horse trainers, miniature bull riders and more, the 36th Annual Country Music Picknic turned out as one jamboree extraordinaire.
“I really think it was a tremendous one,” said organizer Ivan Daines about this year’s installment. “There was so many great singers. And the horse training was unbelievable.”
The rodeo, which included Alberta’s biggest karaoke contest, beach volleyball and cowboy poetry among a host of other delights meshed each individual showpiece for a fun and affordable family-friendly festival.
Kade Mills came out on top in the multi-day Canadian Championship Natural Horse Training Competition.
Though bested by Mills in that very competition, Daines had nothing but good things to say about the winner.
“He demanded respect from his horse – and trust,” Daines said. “He was very smooth, very easy.”
Comparing Mills’ horsemanship to that of the late Ray Hunt, Daines said he learned a thing or two from his fellow contestant.
“He was fun to listen to,” he said.
Randi Boulton, a singer-songwriter who grew up in Central Alberta, tickled the ivories to the pleasure of the buoyant crowd. Spirit of the West radio host Hugh McLennan gave a performance to remember. Calgary-based Jo Hikk, a two-time Canadian Country Music Association Award nominee, supplied the audience with the energetic tunes they were looking for.
Mel Skaar, a Ponoka resident, like many of the campers, loves small-town rodeos. Last weekend he was at Edmonton’s Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival. Next week he’ll hit Nanton’s Shady Grove Bluegrass Festival.
But he always makes a point of hitting the picknic.
“I’ve been to eight or nine throughout the years,” he said, as the home video he shot of this year’s horse training competition plays in the background. “Ivan does one crack-up job. He showcases a lot of new talent.”
The music festival has a rich past behind it he says.
“I’ve been here when you couldn’t find a place to put a chair on the hill,” he said.
The atmosphere of the picknic this year was easygoing but upbeat, as ladies fawned over musician Shane Yellowbird, lovers reclined in the warmth of the bonfires and revellers line danced the night away.