The Town of Sylvan Lake has reached a two year agreement with Bull Riders Canada.
Announced at a press conference Monday afternoon, Bull Riders Canada (BRC) will host the Bull Riders Canada Finals in November in both 2019 and 2020.
The rough stock event is bringing back the history of cowboys and rodeos in the area. Sylvan Lake has not held a rodeo event, but there are plenty of others in the area, like in Eckville, Benalto and Ponoka.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre says he is excited to bring this event to Sylvan Lake.
“This is rodeo county, this is cowboy country and it is great to have another event like this in the area, and we are proud to host it here in Sylvan Lake,” McIntyre said.
The weekend-long event will feature top-notch bull riding from the best-of-the-best. Bull riders from across Canada, the U.S.A., Brazil, Mexico and Australia will converge on Sylvan Lake Nov. 15-16 this year.
Russell Friend, president of Bull Riders Canada, said the dates of the event are very important.
This is mainly because the don’t conflict with any other events. He says that means the competitors, stock contractors and viewers are all able to come to the event without worry of prior engagements.
“Dates are important. When a bull rider or a stock contractor has to make a choice, for example multiple events on the same day, we feel like it just takes away from everyone’s pocket,” Friend said.
McIntyre said he is particularly happy to bring an event like this to Sylvan Lake in the late fall, after many major events, including the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Red Deer, which are held at the end of October.
“This is possible because of our Festival and Events Strategy, we are bringing this to our town in November and not in August,” McIntyre said, adding this helps with the plan to have events all year round.
Eckville Bull Rider Jerett Nash says he is excited at the prospect of having the finals so close to home.
He calls Sylvan Lake a “sweet” town, and is looking forward to having the event a little more central and local.
“There are a lot of bull riders from around Central Alberta… It’ll be nice to have families be able to come out and watch the event together,” Nash said.
For himself, he is excited to have his own family be bale to come out and watch him ride at the finals.
He has many family members in Central Alberta, many of whom could not make it to Lloydminster to take in the spectacle for the last five years.
“I have a great-grandma who is 95-years-old she’ll probably be able to come to the finals this year, which will be good,” said Nash.
According to Friend, the mission of Bull Riders Canada is to provide an avenue for bull riders to get on a bucking bull, for stock contractors who raise the animals to show them off, and for small rural communities to host large scale events.
In 2018, the BRC hosted 85 events across the county. Each community profited off the event.
Cowboys stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and the proceeds of the event stay in the community, Friend says.
“You will not be disappointed at all, and we can not wait,” said Friend.