“You are going to be so close to the action you can taste it!”
Organizers for the 53rd annual Airdrie Pro Rodeo have a warning for spectators – be prepared to leave with mud on your boots and a few new friends.
“Coming to our rodeo is not what most people are expecting,” says Lorie Young, marketing director of the 2019 Airdrie Pro Rodeo.
“You are going to be so close to the action you can taste it! You have to be ready to get some dirt thrown at you. You are not going to leave clean.”
This year’s rodeo will take place from June 28 to July 1 at the Airdrie Rodeo Grounds (located 10 kilometres west of Airdrie).
Young adds the close-knit rodeo community, steeped in years of tradition and western lifestyle, virtually guarantees that spectators will end up talking to someone they’ve never met before.
“The rodeo world is special; we really are one big family that is there for each other and we welcome anyone who wants to enjoy the rodeo into our community,” she says.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, come and enjoy some fresh air, friends, family, food and fun!”
The Next Generation
Young invites youth from all over the region to take part in the Junior Rodeo, which will run June 28, 29 and 30 at 6 p.m. and include events like the sheep scramble, peewee junior barrel racing, wild pony races and much more.
“Many of these kids have no experience with the animals at all and to see the transformation from being almost too scared to go into the arena, to running around and yelling, ‘I want to do it again!’ … it’s really amazing,” says Young, who has been volunteering for the rodeo for 18 years.
This year’s rodeo will include mini broncs for the second time, an event Young says was very popular last year.
“The little broncs are quite feisty,” she adds. “Last year, we had spectators, guests and committee members saying how fun and exciting it was to watch.”
Top Cowboys/Girls in Canada
But the Airdrie Pro Rodeo isn’t all about fun and games. There is also some serious competing taking place.
In 2017, four of the six Calgary Stampede competitors who went home with $100,000 competed in Airdrie just days before the Greatest Show on Earth.
More than 10,000 people will walk through the gates at this year’s event, including people who travel from around the world.
“We have a gentleman who contacted us looking for information because he is planning his whole trip from Ireland around our rodeo,” says Young.
She told him not to miss July 1 as that’s the day of this year’s Bull Bonanza. The edge-of-your-seat exciting event is expected to include between 30 and 40 athletes.
The party doesn’t stop in the arena. Each day will include live music and beer gardens, followed by on-site camping or a trip back to Airdrie in a free shuttle. There is also free parking on the rodeo grounds.
In addition to delicious fare from the food trucks at the grounds, rodeo-goers can enjoy numerous children’s activities, as well as take a chute tour.
The tours, which take place an hour before the rodeo each night, were a huge hit last year and give spectators a behind-the-scenes look at the rodeo.
“We teach people how the mechanics of the rodeo work,” says Young.
“So, if you have ever watched an event and wondered why the athlete received the score they did, we will tell you how judges score and what they are looking for. It is very informative and incredibly entertaining.”
Visit airdrieprorodeo.com for a complete schedule of events