When rodeo fans hit the Cochrane Lions Rodeo Grounds this weekend, they'll be able to enjoy its enhanced esthetics.

There have been improvements made throughout the summer to dress up the grounds for one of the toughest amateur rodeos on the Foothills Cowboy Association (FCA) circuit.

While some of it is out of sight from the stands, there have been vast improvements to the back pens and area behind the bucking chutes.

"A lot of it has been to improve the esthetics of the grounds and some of it has been to help and make it easier on livestock and the cowboys working with them," says Chris Connon, Lions president and rodeo co-chair.

The bucking chutes have been pulled forward about seven feet to bring the action closer to the crowd.

"It doesn't seem like that much, but the action is that much closer and the arena is a lot squarer. It will be really noticeable during the Ranch Rodeo on Friday when they have to pen some cattle up and work them up and down the fence."

Even if spectators don't notice these changes, they can't miss the Kioti orange bucking chutes.

Kioti and their local dealer Mountain Toys Polaris provided the paint, helped apply it, and are the arena sponsor for the rodeo.

Connon says they appreciate the support provided by Mountain Toys and Kioti throughout the summer as well as the understanding of residents in the Glenbow community while the chutes were being prepared for painting.

"I know the community had to listen to the sandblaster for four days but we really appreciate everybody's understanding," says Connon. "We're just trying to make it better and brighter down here and make it look good for the community."

Scott Willis, owner of Mountain Toys Polaris, was one of the people working on the chutes over the weekend. He's a long-time resident, played for the Cochrane Cobras before they were winning championships, and understands the importance of the rodeo to the community.

"We wanted to step up," says Willis. "We're local and the Lions Club does a lot for this town. We felt it would be a really good mix for us and the Lions Club to have everything out of one community."

Also a Suzuki dealer, Willis says being a Kioti dealer is a natural fit.

"This adds a lot of diversity for us. A lot of our clients and customers are acre owners and farmers and these tractors are a great fit. They're a good quality machine and we've had good success, good reliability, and a lot of support from Kioti to do stuff like this to sponsor the arena and be part of the community."

The Labour Day Long Weekend kicks off with a free pancake extravaganza on Friday morning, followed by the free Slimdoor Ranch Rodeo that evening. Saturday afternoon, the three-day FCA rodeo gets underway.

chutesApplying the final coat on Sunday.

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