Westerner Park has eye on rodeo finals

Westerner Park has eye on rodeo finals

Canadian Finals Rodeo looking for a new home with closure of Northlands Coliseum

Westerner Park and Red Deer’s chamber of commerce have their eyes on one of the country’s most rootin’ tootin’ events.

The two organizations announced on Thursday they are in the final stages of reviewing a business case that would determine whether to suuport the potential presentation of a multi-year proposal to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association to host the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Enmax Centrium.

“We hope to be successful in bringing this event to Red Deer,” says Westerner Park CEO and general manager Ben Antifaiff.

“This event would generate significant economic impact throughout our community and Central Alberta, but also showcase our hospitality to host events of this scale.”

The CFR is looking for a new home because it is losing its long-time venue at Northlands Coliseum. The rodeo, which runs Nov. 8-12, will be the last major event held in the Coliseum.

The association says the rodeo finals injects $50 million in economic spin-offs into the community. Last year, 90,000 fans took in the event.

Robin Bobocel, CEO of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, said the situation in Edmonton has created an opportunity.

Edmonton’s new arena, Rogers Place, comes with logistical challenges, which means the door may be open for another venue sto step up.

“We think that we can address (those challenges) and make the cowboys feel comfortable here and we know that the community will get behind this and put on a good show for the cowboys,” said Bobocel.

It will take a community effort to take on an event of this calibre, but the two organizations believe Red Deer is ready.

“I think we’re bolstered by the fact that the (2019 Canada Winter Games) are coming and that Red Deer has the capacity to be in the running for national-scale events,” he said.

He emphasizes a commitment to make a proposal has not happened yet.

“We’re still in evaluating stages, making the business case,” he said. That involves determining whether the finances are there to host, whether there are enough hotel rooms and other logistics.

They hope to decide whether to go ahead and make a proposal by the end of the month.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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