The Portage Ex Stampede has received the 2015 Rodeo of the Year from the Heartland Rodeo Association. They were announced the winners at a banquet this weekend, and Project Coordinator Tracy Wood says they weren't even aware they were nominated.

"It feels really good to know that the whole team was recognized, it was multiple people, multiple organizations, PRRA, Portage Industrial Exhibition, we all came together to make it happen. It was an award I didn't even know existed. I received a text from one of the guys that helped with the rodeo Saturday night with a picture. It was totally unexpected."

She says while this was Portage's first rodeo in about two decades, there were likely several factors that led to them receiving the honour.

"I think the biggest thing about this is that it was something new to the community. It had been the first rodeo in more than 20 years, so I think that something that was huge. It was also inside, so that was a real benefit. That night, it poured inches of rain so it was a real benefit."

The event was organized in partnership with Portage Regional Economic Development, PRRA and the Portage Industrial Exhibition Association. PRED Executive Director Douglas Barill says while they didn't intend to be recognized for the event, it does feel great.

"We did it to draw people to the community. We brought in 197 contestants, which 2,000 people enjoyed over the weekend. To just do it to foster economic growth, and then have an award says it's the best rodeo this year, and not necessarily an economic development thing, that's fantastic."

While the event was a clear success, Wood says this definitely reaffirms their plans to continue the rodeo into the future.