By Sarah Baker For Rimbey Review
The Central Alberta Rodeo Association (CARA) had to make the tough decision to cancel upcoming rodeo events because of COVID restrictions.
There was no choice really with all the COVID rules, said April Litz who has worked with CARA in Rimbey for 14 years.
“We can’t at this time schedule anything because we don’t know what the rules are going to be when it becomes time for the rodeos.”
The process of deciding to cancel was long. Usually the meeting would be in January but this year the meeting was pushed to April to see what everyone thought, said Litz.
“Each rodeo makes their own decisions and it took a few months for everybody to decide to do this,” she said.
The loss of the rodeo creates a big impact on the community both financially and mentally, says Litz.
“It affects them greatly because it’s usually a big event, and everybody, especially with COVID, is wanting to get out of the house and have some activities.”
The financial impact is different for each of the nine rodeos done by CARA, but one of the biggest impacts is the lack of donations, said Litz.
“Most rodeos make donations within the community, and that won’t be happening because there will be no income at all.”
Another reason why the decision had to be made early is because rodeos depend on sponsors.
“There’s sponsorship that we have to look at, and this is not a good time to be asking for sponsorship because the local businesses are having a hard time as is.”
The association is also responsible for booking the venue, the food, and the stock.
“It all has to be done well in advance, so it is why we had to make the decision so early,” said Litz.
This is the second year in a row the Rimbey Rodeo has been cancelled and competitors have contacted the association about its decision.
“Everybody’s very disappointed.”
The organization is still looking ahead at the possibility of running an event.
“We’re hoping to do some rodeos this year once time goes on, but we don’t know yet if we can so whatever rodeos happen will not be CARA rodeos, they’ll just be jackpots.”
In the CARA season competitors can make points at each rodeo and compete for a saddle at the end of the year, said Litz.
“This year we can’t do that because we just don’t know if we can have rodeos.”