A beloved annual event is back for its 40th year tomorrow night, gathering folks from all corners of the southwest to one common ground.
The Battle of the Little Big Puck kicks off at 7:30 p.m. from the Community Arena in Maple Creek as the Cowboys face off the Indians.
Maple Creek Mayor, Michelle McKenzie, said the significance of the event is how it connects the community.
“For generations, two communities come together with one common goal, and it's not just to raise funds, it's brought awareness to the communities of our surrounding areas,” she explained. “It's not just Maple Creek, but this game is all over the southwest. People are coming from all over and are starting to feel included. Not just Nekaneet First Nations and Maple Creek, or Indigenous and Cowboys—this game has accomplished so much.
“We have newcomers coming into our communities and we are welcoming them with open arms and open hearts and seeing them as part of the community, not a race or religion or anything else. That's the significance of this game; it’s brought us together. Inclusion is the biggest piece of this.”
This year, all funds raised are going to be split between Sandy Cooper as he navigates a spinal injury after being bucked off a bronco, and the Southwest Health Care Trust.
McKenzie explained that each year the committee sits down and looks at what is happening within their community and surrounding communities to decide where the funds will go.
She added that the major ties for the event are the fundraising component and the sense of belonging.
“There's some things that they're going to be doing that's a little bit special, but not much,” she siad. “They don't want to take away the true meaning of this game, and that is to come together as one and raise some money and have some fun.”
Admission is $5 for kids aged 12 and under, and $7 for 13 and older.