The calculations have been completed and it's now official: the Cochrane Lions Club's 55th Labour Day Weekend Rodeo smashed all records.

"This year was our biggest one ever to date," says Chris Connon, Lions Club president and rodeo co-chair. "We had one last year that we thought would never be able to match and this year we blew that one out of the water by a long shot." 

"All the gates were up. I can't give you a specific number, but judging by how full the hill was every day there were between 5,000 and 7,000 people there each day."

Connon says it all adds up to good news for the community.

"It all goes right back into the community," he says. "We had a lot of sponsors come to board this year. That's how this event works. The more sponsorships and everything that happens, the more money that goes directly back into the community."

He says the weather was perfect and the newly-added events, like the women's ranch bronc, were well received.

In preparation for the weekend, the Lions improved some of the grounds' infrastructure, he says. They slightly shrunk the size of the arena and leveled off the hillside behind the main bleachers to make it easy for people to get around.

Among the many highlights was a moving Military Day ceremony in the arena.

"We brought some veterans out into the infield and the crowd absolutely lost their minds, which was something that was very heart-warming to all the vets that were out there in attendance because all of them said we don't really get that kind of recognition."

Due to the warm weather, they were also able to once again hold the Saturday night barn dance outside that at its peak had over 1,700 people in attendance to enjoy TC &Company.

"TC & Company said that's got to be the biggest cabaret they've ever experienced, and one of the most unique of having everybody on the hillside. From what I've been told, we were heard right around Cochrane, from Sunset to Fireside to Gleneagles."

Dennis Wearmouth was named Cowboy of the Year and Volunteer of the Year was Caitlin Smid.

With this one under their belt, the Lions rodeo committee gets back to work next week to prepare for 2023. 

"We're about to put our nose to the grindstone to get some plans in place. With all the planning and preparation, we don't start just a couple of weeks in advance. It basically takes place year-round planning."