The Airdrie Pro Rodeo has been a community institution since 1967 and, like a champion bucking bronc, is very much alive and kicking.
This year’s event at the rodeo grounds just west of Airdrie takes place on June 30 and July 1, starting with the Junior Rodeo at 6 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, followed both days by the Pro Rodeo.
“Both days are filled with great rodeo action, more than 250 competitors and prize money upwards of $30,000. For those that haven’t been before – we have a Junior Rodeo for kids ages 5-13, followed by a professional rodeo,” says Ashley Brietzke, volunteer secretary for the organization.
Many of the competitors will be at the Calgary Stampede a few days later and a solid contingent of local cowboys – Scot Meeks and Nick Teixeira from Airdrie, Kyle Lucas from Carstairs, Grady Quam and Lance Gordon from Crossfield – are expected to be on hand.
“We run over ‘Cowboy Christmas’,” says Brietzke. “This is a very busy time of year for contestants. Many will charter planes to get to where they need to be on time, whether that’s in Canada or the U.S. It’s a great opportunity for contestants to make good money in their rodeo career and solidify their spot at the Canadian and National Finals.”
Get there early for the Junior Rodeo, featuring crowd favourites like Mutton Busting, Sheep & Calf Scramble, Wild Pony Race, Peewee and Junior Barrels. Anyone can sign-up for the Junior Rodeo, with registration beginning June 1 on the Airdrie Rodeo website.
While the rodeo is clearly the star of the show, there’s plenty going on to keep every member of the family amused.
“Something we’re bringing back this year is the market we used to have several years ago. This will be situated by the kids’ zone so the parents can do some shopping. The cabaret will take place both nights following the rodeo, with the event turning into an adults-only event one hour after the rodeo performance.”
Feel free to bring a camper or a tent with you, as there is free camping on the grounds and a free shuttle bus back into town.
An abundance of food options will be available: from tacos, to donairs, to poutine and corndogs, and kids’ zone is being expanded to include lemonade/mini donuts/cotton candy.
For information on how to register or volunteer, visit https://www.airdrieprorodeo.com/