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New country dance club to open in North Red Deer

The Silver Buckle will be a place to gather and socialize, said Mark Linton

Red Deer D.J. and business owner Mark Linton plans to bring a country music and dance club back to Red Deer.

Linton is re-opening The Silver Buckle at the Quality Inn and Conference Centre (former North Hill Inn). As long as some last-minute permits fall into place, he’s hoping to have the nightclub up and running by April 1, or maybe even sooner.

Long-time Red Deerians may remember The Silver Buckle was the name of a country bar that operated out of the former North Hill Inn years ago. The space later became the Electric Cowboy and Wild Bill’s Sports Bar but did not reopen after the pandemic.

Linton said he’s been working hard with City of Red Deer economic development staff to get the necessary insurance and permits needed from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. “They were very helpful, helping me through the whole process.”

While some permitting is required for building a stage and D.J. booth, he hopes to get this work done over the next few weeks.

The owner of On The Mark Productions has D.J.-ed at weddings and other events at the hotel for 33 years, but is glad to now take his professional relationship with the Quality Inn to another level — particularly since Red Deer’s two biggest nightclubs, Longriders Saloon and Bellinis Sonic Lounge, closed in January.

The club space at the Red Deer Resort and Casino (formerly the Cambridge Hotel and Capri Centre) will be demolished this spring so that Jackpot Casino can be relocated to that resort from its current downtown site.


-Two long-standing nightclubs to close

Linton believes Red Deerians need more spaces to gather, socialize and have a good time: “People need something like this.”

Another bonus to opening The Silver Buckle, he said, is hiring many of the staffers who previously lost their jobs when Longriders closed. “I am hiring at least 20 positions.”

Employees and managers from the former Longriders have years of experience that Linton plans to draw on. While he’s already a business owner, this will be his first foray into nightclub ownership — and he’s excited.

The plan is to operate The Silver Buckle Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Linton said the facility would be open to families and all-ages before 9 p.m. when there will be a full menu of food options available. Only adults, over the age of 18, would be allowed in after 9 p.m. And there are plans to have some dance lessons with Country Pride Dancers.

Meanwhile, some other city establishments are also trying to fill the entertainment hole left when Bellinis and Longriders closed.

Bo’s Bar and Stage is hosting “Nashville Nights” for country dancing on Wednesdays with special student pricing, and Blanco Cantina is hosting dance nights with a D.J. on Fridays.

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