One of the worst kept secrets in Red Deer over the last week came to fruition when the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce announced the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) is coming to Red Deer for the next 10 years starting in 2018.
After spending the last 44 years at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Red Deer will begin the next era of proffesional rodeo starting from Oct. 30th to Nov. 4th.
“When this first started, I didn’t think they were taking this seriously. We came here a couple months ago and I realised then they were serious,” CPRA President Terry Cooke said.
The pitch from the Westerner and the Chamber included six days and seven shows of pro rodeo. Part of the bid also includes the Rising Stars event, which will showcase some of the best young talent in rodeo.
“We decided we should make Red Deer the new home of the CFR because it is a good venue, it is a great city and all the people involved with this have been so good to work with,” Cooke said.
According to models done by the Chamber, the CFR has the potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million annually for the next 10 years to the region.
“That is an extremely high number and the Central Alberta business community will be the direct beneficiaries of that,” Chamber President and CEO Robin Bobocel said.
Mayor Tara Veer said that, while it’s early to speculate, the City intends to work with the Chamber and Westerner Park on this 10-year venture and credited those two organizations for this successful bid.
“Anytime in a local economy when there is a cash infusion of $20 million or more, that is fantastic news for our community — paricularly given the state of the provincial economy we have been navigating through,” she said.
Ben Antifaiff, CEO and General Manager at Westerner Park, was grateful for the community support behind this bid and intends to work hard to ensure Central Albertans can join in the fun of CFR.
“We want rodeo week to involve the community and allow everyone the opportunity to experience something to do with CFR,” he said. “Red Deer will be a buzz for CFR and then a couple days later, Agritrade starts. It will be a busy time in early November and our community will benefit.”
He added all the tickets for the event will be sold through ticketsalberta.com.
Cooke thanked the hard work of the bidding teams from Red Deer and is looking forward to CFR 45.
“It will be great for the cowboys, the fans, the city and Rodeo Canada. This is a great day for rodeo in Canada and I am just so happy to be a part of it,” he said.