Westerner Park’s Canadian Finals Rodeo is getting a $50,000 Red Deer County sponsorship.
Sandra Badry, county economic development officer, said the event is expected to have a big economic impact for the county, which has 30 per cent of the hotel rooms in the immediate area and has hundreds of other businesses in Gasoline Alley that may benefit from the annual rodeo event, which runs Nov. 2-6.
The rodeo was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19. A smaller-scale event ran in 2021 and generated an estimated $20 million in economic spinoffs.
“This year is expected to be considerably more due to the decrease in COVID restrictions,” Badry told council.
Red Deer County’s sponsorship, which was approved unanimously by council, comes with a trade booth, promotional signs, free tickets and passes to the cabaret and a private suite as well as numerous other perks. The county has provided $50,000 every year the rodeo has been run so far.
In a response to a question from a councillor, Badry said the sponsorship package was custom-made for the county, whose staff have been working with Westerner Park and rodeo representatives for months.
Mayor Jim Wood said previous county support of the rodeo has paid off.
“I believe we get a lot of bang for our buck for what we did with our dollars last year,” said Wood.
“I look at it a good investment — a good investment for ourselves, our businesses and our region. I’m 100 per cent behind this rodeo.”
Coun. Dana Depalme also had high hopes that the rodeo would give county businesses a boost.
“It’s going to impact our Red Deer County businesses, I think, immensely this year.”
Coun. Christine Moore also is looking forward to the first rodeo finals since 2019 to be held without COVID hanging over it.
Despite COVID-related challenges, last year’s event went well, said Moore, who sits on Westerner Park board. “Last year, our Westerner Park board had apprehension about the CFR but it went remarkably well, all things considered.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase Red Deer County,” said Coun. Connie Huelsman.