The Quesnel Rodeo Club is going to try their best for a full season of rodeo.
Club president Ray Jasper said they are in the planning process to host three weekends of events in 2021, hoping provincial COVID-19 restrictions loosen for outdoor events.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of things elsewhere,” he said. “We’re not stepping on a lot of toes.”
The tentative dates are set for late-May, mid-July and mid-August. Each event would consist of two single-day rodeos held on consecutive days. Jasper said there are no plans to allow spectators, but if restrictions changed, the club would be ready to accept those changes.
“We’re planning events to keep the sport alive,” he said. “If things change we can switch gears and have people in the grandstands, and wouldn’t that be wonderful.”
Despite saying rough stock events (bull and bronco riding) would be impossible without fans last year, Jasper said the club is planning on running a complete slate of events in 2021, drawing upon the club’s rainy day fund to cover the costs.
“Our sport is so threatened,” he said. “If we don’t do some rough stock events, we may be looking at stock contractors that are not there, and athletes that are not there in the future. We’re in a very precarious position, we think. If we don’t invest in our sport this year, we may lose it as we know it.”
A decision on whether or not the events will go forward will come one month before the start of the event. Jasper said even if the event in May is cancelled, they’ll continue to try and host the other events throughout the season.
“The economic impact of these things help communities,” he said. “We’re hoping, we’re planning, and the plan is we’re going to keep planning them.”
Provincial officials announced on March 1 they expect anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one by July.
“That would be ginormous,” Jasper said on vaccination plans. “If that happens, that changes the whole deal, but the problem is you can’t bank on anything. We’ve been planning all this winter for events that don’t have fans.”
The Quesnel Rodeo Club won’t be the first event in the newly-minted Gus Cameron Arena at Alex Fraser Park. There are two high school rodeos planned for 2021 in Quesnel, with the first set for early May.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org