The Gord Bamford Charity Gala took place on Aug. 15 at the Sheraton Hotl in Red Deer. Organizers were hoping to improve on the over $300,000 raised last year. The event has raised over $3.1 million since it began 11 years ago. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

UPDATED: Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Gala brings the stars to Central Alberta

The Gala raises money for various children’s charities throughout Canada

The Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Golf Classic and Gala returned to Central Alberta for the 11th year in a row, with money being raised to children’s charities across Canada.

In the 11 year history of the event, over $3.1 million has been raised and Bamford hopes to continue that legacy forward.

“It has been crazy to think how time flies,” he said. “This is our biggest year yet again.”

The event this year including several performances by country music stars like Bamford and Aaron Pritchett, as well as the appearances of NHL alumnus like former Edmonton Oilers Craig Simpson and Marty McSorley and former Calgary Flame Theoren Fleaury.

“We have a lot of great artists, Olympians, NHL alumni and every year they keep coming back and supporting,” Bamford said. “It has been phenomenal.”

Bamford is appreciative of all the support his foundation has received throughout the recession, with the money raised going to charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe, Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart and MusiCounts.

“We don’t really set a number. We just see what happens,” he said. “Obviously, we went through some times here with the economy being down a bit. It has come back a bit, but every year, we seem to set the bar at a different level. We seem to do well and we appreciate everyone’s support.”

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The Foundation, for Bamford, goes beyond being able to be a country music star.

“For me, outside of the money raised and giving back, I have learned so much being involved with the charities we support,” he said. “The opportunity I have had to go to the Children’s Hospital, being involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and being able to make a difference has been really life changing.

“I get to go play shows in front of lots of people and win awards, but this is the most gratifying. It is part of who I am and I look forward to it every year.”

Being able to be around the various celebrities is also special for Bamford.

“It has been great making those friendships,” he said. “Obviously as a young kid growing up in Alberta, I was a huge hockey fan, so to be able to rub shoulders with these guys has been awesome. You really get to know how great of people they are, what they do and how they lend their time.”

The musical aspect of the Gala is also a huge part of the success of the event.

“All the artists that come here to support this and play their songs makes this a really unique event,” he said. “It is hard to duplicate and I know everyone who has been here, wants to come back because of the good time everyone has.”

Being able to support where he grew up is an important aspect of Bamford’s charity.

“I grew up in Central Alberta in Lacombe and we have branched out to across Canada quite a bit,” he said. “Whether it is Central Alberta or Canada, our own country here needs help and I think it is important to focus those funds to where you come from.”

todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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