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2023 Inductees
Forth
Hok


 


INDUCTEE 2023 - BUILDER - Rod Hok


 


Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo Chairman
Ponoka Stampede Grand Entry Assistant
Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo Grand Entry Director
Wild Pony Racing Volunteer and Judge
4-H Club Assistant Leader 2001-2005
From 2000-2023


Being a Cowboy and Rodeo is What he Knew

The western lifestyle and sport of rodeo has always been an important part of Rod Hok’s life, it encompasses who he is. Having grown up on a large working ranch in southern Saskatchewan it was the way of life. Rod was on a horse working cattle from a young age and riding calves in the branding pen lit a fire in him that has yet to be extinguished.  He has been involved in rodeo all of his life in one way or another; as a competitor, volunteer, proud father, judge, chairman, arena director, and supporter.

Rod moved to Wetaskiwin in 1978 and immediately joined the Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society eager to immerse himself in the community. He has been involved with the Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo since its beginning in 1999 and continues to promote the growth and betterment of the sport of rodeo in its entirety. It is for his many years of volunteer work with rodeo that Rod is being inducted into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame.

45 Years Advancing the Sport of Rodeo

Rod has been a member of the Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society for 45 years, since he moved to Wetaskiwin in 1978.  For 40 of those years, he has been on the board of directors holding many different positions. The first annual Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo was held on May long-weekend 1999. Rod assisted Foss Irwin in the organization of the inaugural rodeo and since 2000 has acted as the Wetaskiwin Rodeo Chairman and Arena Director.  As Chairman, Rod’s duties include attending rodeo association meetings, ensuring event sponsorship, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, obtaining stock contractors, announcers, and contract acts along with marketing and advertising. Come rodeo weekend Rod can be found inside the arena orchestrating the big show as arena director. Communicating with the contractors, contestants and announcer, assisting the judges, and making sure the rodeo runs smoothly are just a few of his many responsibilities. Rod has been an invaluable resource for the Ag. Society due to his extensive knowledge of rodeo and years of built connections with other rodeo committees. The Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo has been successful over the years because of his intuitiveness to seek out change and passion for the advancement of the sport.

For the last 18 years Rod has assisted, co-coordinated and coached the Grand Entry Team at the Ponoka Stampede.  He also coordinated the Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo Grand Entry from 2009 -2018.  Overseeing the grand entry includes: recruitment and holding tryouts, organizing and directing practices, selection of music and attire, morale support, and ensuring everything is set to run smoothly on performance days.  The purpose of the grand entry is not only to kick start the rodeo with loud music and fast horses but primarily to showcase the sponsors whose financial contributions fund the production of the rodeo. Without these vital sponsors, the rodeos simply would not exist. To ensure the longevity of the rodeo and the sport as a whole, volunteers like Rod must put in the time to ensure the sponsoring companies are properly acknowledged and displayed.

Wild Pony Racing - Contribution to the Development of Youth

In addition to his work with the Rawhide Rodeo and the Grand Entry’s in Wetaskiwin and Ponoka, in 2006 Rod became a volunteer with Mel Lawes’ Wild Pony Racing contract act.  The organization contracts to events and rodeos throughout the province from small town rodeos to the Canadian Finals Rodeo and The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth - the Calgary Stampede. Rod’s responsibilities include everything from organizing the kids and parents to waivers, media control, recruitment and transportation of the ponies. More notably, Rod enjoys being the judge. Though be it an act mainly for crowd entertainment, the Wild Pony Racing organization is a gateway for youth to become involved in rodeo. Many top level rodeo athletes today once got started through Mel Lawe’s Wild Pony Racing. It is because of events like this for the kids that the sport of rodeo will continue on. Getting them involved and interested in rodeo from an early age is pivotal for the advancement of the sport. Without volunteers like Rod, putting in the hours of effort, these organizations would not be successful in the development of our youth and the continuation of the sport.

 Shining Example of his Volunteerism 

The 4-H motto is “Learn To Do By Doing” and that is exactly what Rod encouraged and preached in his 5 years as Assistant Club Leader. His passion has always been rodeo and he thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise in team roping with club members whenever he had the chance. Teaching young 4-Her’s how to rope was always a highlight of his year and yet another shining example of his volunteerism and contribution to the development of youth in our community and rodeo. 

Rod has recently added another volunteer position to his long list of undertakings.  For the past three years Rod has also been the Parking Director at the Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society Annual Truck and Tractor Pull. In his spare time Rod participates in various team roping organizations competing locally. A passion since the 1980’s he will continue to team rope and be involved in rodeo for as long as he can.

While Rod is first to give credit to those volunteers and organizations who oversee the rodeo events it is clear that his singular contributions have ensured the continuance of the Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo.  Because of Rod’s efforts, opportunities to participate continue to exist for amateur and semi-professional rodeo contestants and enthusiasts.  His encouragement of local entries ensure that youth and beginners alike have opportunities to become involved in rodeo through the mutton busting, wild pony racing, wild cow milking, grand entry and junior rodeo events. It is because of efforts like this, from people like Rod, rodeo will continue to flourish.

Our community, rodeo participants and fans have benefitted immensely from Rod’s volunteer efforts.  Rod has spent most of his adult life volunteering in Rodeo and we applaud his longevity and the countless hours he has dedicated to the sport.  Rod, you are a valued member of our community and very deserving of being inducted into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame.


Read Presentation speech by Denise Bushnell

 

 







 

 

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