Patricia Samson, sales associate at Glenn’s Gift Shop, arranges some western-style blankets, brought in to appeal to customers during the Canadian Finals Rodeo. (Photo by LANA MICHELIn/Advocate staff).

Patricia Samson, sales associate at Glenn’s Gift Shop, arranges some western-style blankets, brought in to appeal to customers during the Canadian Finals Rodeo. (Photo by LANA MICHELIn/Advocate staff).

Red Deer-area businesses prepare for economic boost from Canadian Finals Rodeo

Hotels, restaurants, gift shops get ready for rodeo fans

Western blankets and horse statues already fill the shelves of at least one Gasoline Alley gift shop, as local merchants prepare to lasso profits from next week’s Canadian Finals Rodeo.

The week-long event, which is committed to run in Red Deer over the next 10 years, is expected to inject an additional $20 million to $30 million annually into the local economy.

Some of the impact is already being felt by Gasoline Alley hotels, as a few are readying to put out no-vacancy signs for rodeo week, Oct. 30 to Nov. 4.

“We’re really feeling the effect” — and the excitement, said Kim Pryznyk, manager of The Suites, which has all 43 units already booked up for the CFR.

“We’re all just running around, trying to get ready.”

Up to 8,000 spectators are expected to attend the Canadian Finals Rodeo, which will be presented for the first time outside of Calgary or Edmonton. Many out-of-town competitors, as well as their production teams, will be arriving in the city and require accommodation.

The Holiday Inn and Suites in Gasoline Alley has made so many rodeo-related bookings that participants in a local volleyball tournament had to be turned away. Front desk manager Angela Desharnais confirmed her hotel is extra full at a time of year when weekend sports tournaments are usually welcome business.

Rodeo buffs from B.C. and Saskatchewan will be staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites, which is already sold out for a couple of nights.

“We’re getting calls from pretty much all the western provinces,” said general manager Param Virk, who expects the CFR to make a big economic impact.

Red Deer hotels are also feeling the love: The Black Knight Inn is already 89 per cent full during the rodeo, said front desk worker James Chen.

Local restaurants are also preparing for bustling business. “I expect (CFR) to be very big,” said Glenn Simon of Glenn’s Family Restaurant and Gift Shop in Gasoline Alley.

He’s been gearing up with more western-related gift items: “We have extra western blankets and horse paraphernalia — statues, mugs and shot glasses.”

The restaurant side of the business is expecting more customers. With the weather forecast being pretty good for next week, Simon expects many out-of-region patrons, comparable to during the Agri-Trade agricultural equipment show (which will follow the CFR in November).

“Agri-Trade is one of our busiest weeks,” said Simon, who joked “I love people who are cold and hungry — it’s perfect for business!”

He plans to bump up his serving and kitchen staff by about 30 per cent.

Earls restaurant in Red Deer is bracing for more diners next week. “With any big event, we are quite busy,” said manager Robbie Marz.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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Canadian Finals Rodeo