Another unfortunate hit brought on by COVID-19.
The 54th annual Cochrane Lions Labour Day Rodeo will not be happening this summer.
The annual event was supposed to go from Sept. 5-7.
Members of the Cochrane Lions Club made the difficult decision last night, saying in a press release, If you ask the residents of the local area what the Cochrane Lions Rodeo means to them, they will undoubtedly say ‘spirit’. Spirit started the rodeo in 1966 on the Cochrane rodeo grounds, by a few founders who wanted to celebrate the way of the West. Since then, the event has gathered real-life cowboys/cowgirls, and cowboys or cowgirls-for-a-day, annually to share that Western spirit.
Co-Director of the Rodeo, Kevin Firkus says it wasn't an easy decision.
“We have been watching the development of the pandemic closely.”
He says “We waited until the last possible moment to make the call, as we were hoping to be able to provide Cochrane with its largest annual community event and the spirit it brings to the town for the Labour Day long weekend.” “In the end, we decided, in order to better assist the community in preventing the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), this year, the Cochrane Lions Rodeo will be in spirit only.”
Firkus says "We also looked at the demographic of a lot of our members, the age and that, and what's the cost? The biggest factor was the cost to the game. If one person got sick and it all led back to there, we wouldn't feel good about it."
Chris Connon, Co-Director of the Rodeo reiterates the same sentiments.
“It’s unfortunate not to be able to celebrate our heritage in the way we are used to, with people gathering at the center of town to watch the broncs, bulls, fast horses, faster calves and the competitors who bring it all together. We just have to look at it with a different expectation in mind for 2020 and plan to put on another amazing rodeo event in 2021.”
“Although 2020 will be the year of the no-go-rodeo, ultimately we know that the spirit of the people of Cochrane and area will still be there, and we look forward to celebrating the weekend in other ways.”
Connon says its a blow to rodeo goers and participants but also to the town.
"Not just focused around us. It influxes all kinds of dollars into the community and lots of people travel through. It's a big hit not just for the Lions Club but for Cochrane in general."
Firkus and Connon are thanking all of the partners of the rodeo for their support as well as the Town of Cochrane for backing them up while they figured out how to proceed with this difficult decision.