Ponoka’s Wacey Finkbeiner hangs on for eight at the Canadian Finals Rodeo at the Centrium. (File photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Bull riders could be coming to Lacombe

Lacombe Ringette Association hoping to host July 2019 rodeo event as a fundraiser

The most butt-busting event in sports could be loosed on Lacombe.

The Lacombe Ringette Association wants to host a Canadian Professional Rodeo Association bull riding event on July 27 in the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. The bull riding would be followed by a live music event and would run during Lacombe Days, July 25 to 28.

The bull riding would take place in one of the sportsplex’s two rinks, with the music in the other.

Sawyer Pro Rodeos has already committed to being the main contractor for the event, which would require tons of dirt to be hauled into the arena and removed within four days.

Ringette association secretary Colleen Shippelt pitched the group’s plans to Lacombe council earlier this week, saying the event would help raise funds for more than 100 local ringette players. The money would go toward the costs of ice rental, officiating, tournament and equipment costs.

It’s been more than a dozen years since Lacombe was the site of a rodeo.

“Unless I’m totally out to lunch here, I don’t think there’s anyone in the community who does not want this event,” said Mayor Grant Creasey.

“It’s just we’re also concerned about the facilities, and we have lots of other users that we have to protect as well.”

Council heard that an arena floor was damaged when dirt was removed following a rodeo many years ago.

“We don’t want to make any damages,” said Shippelt. “We want to be able to do this year after year.

“Of course, we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure it’s left the way we found it.”

Coun. Reuben Konnik asked if there will be “wear and tear” on the arena. “There’s got to be something such as the bulls crashing into the boards.”

“There shouldn’t be (wear and tear). No,” said Sawyer Pro Rodeo owner Curtis Sawyer, who says he does 60 to 80 rodeo events a year without problems.

“With all of our regular events, you would never know we were there,” Sawyer said, adding panels line the hockey boards to protect them.

Coun. Thalia Hibbs asked why the event was indoors.

“Weather,” said Shippelt. If an outdoor event was rained out, the ringette association would be out thousands of dollars.

Sawyer said based on his experience, the group could make $30,000 from the event.

Hibbs asked why the proposal was brought to council, instead of going through the usual administration approval process.

City chief administrative officer Matthew Goudy said the consultation was prompted by the previous floor damage.

“Since the substantial renovations to that facility, there has been no rodeo-type events,” he said.

“Given the new use for this facility, and the potential to impact some of other users, we want to bring that to council and make sure you were alright with the use of that facility for a bull riding event.”

Creasey was enthusiastic about the prospect of a rodeo.

“I, for one, look forward to new events in our community, making use of our facilities, and I hope we can certainly work something out.”

Council was supportive, but will not make a decision until Monday’s meeting.


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