Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff                                Plenty of people were at the ENMAX Centrium Thursday as Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce presented their vision of a Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.
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Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff Plenty of people were at the ENMAX Centrium Thursday as Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce presented their vision of a Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

Red Deer woos the Canadian Finals Rodeo

City makes official pitch to host the rodeo

Officials believe Red Deer has a good shot at becoming the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce hosted Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) board members Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium to discuss bringing the CFR to Red Deer.

“I think we have the best facility, a wonderful community, a perfect venue to host the rodeo, and a lot of heart. Our plan is sound,” Ben Antifaiff, Westerner Park CEO.

A 10-year proposal was pitched to the CPRA at Thursday’s presentation, which would begin with CFR 45 in 2018.

“It’s important for the community to ask for a 10-year contract,” Antifaiff said, adding further details won’t be released to the public until after speaking with the CPRA board.

If Red Deer does get the CFR, the event would be hosted the week prior to the annual Agri-Trade Equipment Expo.

Antifaiff said they’ll discuss any potential renovations at Westerner Park needed to host the CFR at a later date.

Antifaiff said Red Deer should be the No. 1 choice to host the rodeo.

“There’s no question that having the right facility to house the event and back-of-house services for well treatment of livestock and the competitors horses makes us a natural choice,” he said.

Before Thursday’s presentation, CPRA board members were given a tour of the Centrium and Westerner Park. Antifaiff said they got positive feedback from the tour.

Robin Bobocel, Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the area is a good fit for the CFR.

“Red Deer and Central Alberta really resonates with western culture and I think that will resonate with the cowboys,” he said.

There’s no set timeline for the CPRA board to make a decision, but Bobocel said he hopes to hear back shortly.

“I know we would be able to put on a hell of a show for the whole country,” he said.

Red Deer is the first city to come forward with a bid.

“There is always a risk of being first, but if you are the best you can be fine with that,” said Bobocel.

Red Deer could also become the home of a Rising Stars Rodeo, which would showcase the best young cowboys and cowgirls.

“If we can start with the younger generations and breed future champions to the CFR, it puts us in good standing,” said Bobocel.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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