Nick Bentley of Calgary competes in the saddle bronc at the 51st annual Bentley Rodeo. File Photo

Bentley Fair and Rodeo cancelled amid pandemic concerns

The annual event was supposed to be held this Aug. 6-9

Another rodeo has fallen to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bentley Fair and Rodeo was planned to wow thousands this August, but due to regulations in place for COVID-19, the 2020 fair and rodeo has been cancelled.

Jeremy Park, chair person for the rodeo, says it wasn’t feasible to postpone the event into the fall.

“We are an indoor rodeo. We are at the mercy of the arena’s schedule, and with hockey in the fall and winter, this is really our only time to hold the rodeo,” Park said.

“We pretty well had to make the decision to cancel all events.”

He said all events associated with the fair and rodeo, including the fireworks display, car show and junior rodeo have all also been cancelled.

It is a blow to the small town and to the Ag Society, as the four-day event in August brings crowds in from across Central Alberta.

Parks says the businesses look forward to the event and the crowds every years.

“The businesses here really look forward to it. The impact the number of people coming in to town will be missed,” Park said.

For the Bentley Ag Society, the annual fair and rodeo is the major fundraiser of the year.

Without the major event, the annual budget will be affected.

Costs is one reason why the board of directors and executives chose to cancel the event a few months out.

Park says there are a lot of costs incurred when planning a large-scale event such as a rodeo and fair, and by cancelling early many of those costs aren’t placed upon them.

“There are rental costs, and bookings… a lot of things that cost money and add up fast. This way we aren’t out all that money.”

The Ag Society is already looking to next year’s event. Each year the Fair and Rodeo has a theme.

The theme for this year, a salute to the 100th anniversary of the RCMP, will be carried over to next year.

“It won’t be the 100th year anymore, but I don’t think anyone will really notice.”

The Bentley Ag Society is planning to hold the fair and rodeo next year, Aug. 3-8.

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