The Cochrane Lions Club has announced the tradition of the Labour Day Weekend Rodeo is returning to Cochrane this summer from Sept. 3 to 6.
The theme is Reboot Your Western Spirit, and it will be a celebration of family and friends reuniting, and a community coming together again.
"With the pandemic we've had, we really think that we all need to come out and have some fun, and we want to involve the entire community," says rodeo chair Kevin Firkus. "This area is built on Western culture, and we want to make sure everybody gets to feel it."
Although following provincial guidelines and AHS requirements will be a must, the Lions rodeo committee is looking forward to presenting a traditional Western event with time-honoured familiar features.
Things like putting hats on doors, boots at the end of driveways, painting windows, and enjoying a community pancake breakfast are all long-time rodeo traditions they're hoping the community will embrace.
“What a great year to bring rodeo back, as rodeo is proposed as the provincial sport,” says Chris Connon, incoming president of the Cochrane Lions Club. “You can expect to see cowboys and cowgirls competing in traditional rodeo events such as bronc riding, roping, barrel racing, bull riding, and kids events."
It will kick off with the Ranch Rodeo on Sept. 3 followed by three days of FCA competition.
If the Cochrane Lions Club Rodeo isn’t enough for you, three other rodeos are happening on different days of the same weekend.
Along the Cowboy Trail (Hwy. 22), you'll be able to catch rodeo action in Water Valley, Airdrie, and Caroline.
Firkus said you typically wouldn't want anyone else to have a rodeo on your weekend, but things have been far from normal.
"We've reached out and said to Water Valley, Carolina, and Airdrie, who would have all cancelled their rodeos, put them on the same weekend. So they've all jumped on board with us," explains Firkus
"We've got the Cowboy Trail, let's follow it and have an entire weekend to reboot every community and the entire province through the sport of rodeo."
As summer progresses and COVID-19 protocols change, more details will become available on competition format, venue layout, and attendance procedures.
"There's definitely going to be some twists and tricks coming out of our sleeve this year," says Connon.