Rodeo and Indian Days at the Ermineskin and Montana Reserves, Hobbema, Alberta
Although rodeos and horse racing have been popular sports in Hobbema since the turn of the century, it was between 1970 and 1990 that they reached the height of their popularity. From the mid-seventies to the early eighties, a number of Native communities in Alberta became extremely wealthy when oil was discovered on their reserves. Communities such as the Ermineskin and Montana reserves used some of their financial resources to develop professional rodeo and horse-racing facilities. The Ermineskin Reserve led the way in 1979 by building a multi-million-dollar rodeo and race track facility, the Panee Memorial Agriplex. It hosted professional and amateur rodeos, stock sales, auctions, horse shows, schools and seminars. In 1980 it became world famous through its Classic Rodeo and its annual Christmas Rodeo, held on December 26.
In 1984, the Montana Reserve opened its own multi-million-dollar complex, the Diamond 5 Rodeo Ranch. It too prospered as an internationally recognized rodeo facility from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Since then, support for the maintenance of such large facilities has declined.