Will Edmonton still be the host of Canada’s top rodeo in 2017?
The Canadian Finals Rodeo has been held in conjunction with Farmfair International, owned by Northlands, for 42 years, but the contract for the rodeo showcase is up for renewal.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association plans to issue a request for proposals, and that could lead to the rodeo moving to Calgary or another city.
But Northlands CEO and president Tim Reid said his organization is doing everything it can to keep the event.
“We’ve tried to appeal to the fact that they’ve got a branded market that has 42 years of history,” said Reid. “The value of that in itself is something that most major brands dream of having.”
But his organization is also open to working with the rodeo association if it wants to move to Rogers Place, Edmonton’s under-construction arena which will be the new home of the Oilers.
However, the new arena doesn’t have the same space and facilities for horses and cattle that it has at its current home at Rexall Place, next to Northlands.
“That’s where Northlands could always have a role,” said Reid. “We do have an ability to house a couple thousand animals on site at any given time. If it was to move downtown, there would still be a role for Northlands to play.”
Northlands, the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Tourism hope to negotiate with the rodeo association to keep the event in the city. Last year, a combined 181,565 people attended the two events, pumping an estimated $50 million in the local economy.
“We at Northlands feel that this is a product that was built in Edmonton, supported by Edmontonians (and surrounding area), and it deserves to stay in Edmonton going forward,” said Reid. “It’s the healthiest environment for the contestants, the animals and the development of the brand.”