Co-written by Russell Skeet
The Canadian Finals Rodeo is the latest big event to feel the axe thanks to COVID-19.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Westerner Park in Red Deer made the call Wednesday, June 24. They say they're going to postpone the event until 2021, because of the uncertainty around crowds gathering because of the pandemic.
“The health, safety and protection of our athletes, animals and guests is always our top priority,” says Jeff Robson, General Manager, CPRA. “During these uncertain times, and considering the pandemic, economic instability and reality of the extensive preparation that goes into a successful rodeo, we know it is the right decision to postpone this year’s event.”
Long time rodeo announcer, Dave Poulsen, says it's a blow.
"I guess there's no real surprise that the Canadian Finals Rodeo was going to be cancelled. But it's still disappointing that the final, official word comes down and you realize it's gone for 2020. But that's the world we live in right now."
The six day event, which was scheduled for November 3 to 8, attracts over 40,000 fans and hundreds of the best rodeo athletes in Canada. The CFR is estimated to contribute around $37-million in direct and spinoff revenue to the surrounding region during it's run.
The cancellation of the CFR comes a week before the Calgary Stampede would have kicked off.
"It's tough, it's really tough," says Poulsen. "Calgary, of course is just one example, as we noted that's the situation everywhere where there are rodeos that aren't happening, which is virtually everywhere in Canada this year."
The Airdrie Pro Rodeo would have taken place this coming weekend, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 back in April.