Westerner, Chamber working to bring Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer

By Troy Gillard (Twitter: @Troy_Gillard)
October 19, 2017 - 2:06pm

Work is underway to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer.

After several months of working behind the scenes, Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce are in the final stages of reviewing a business case for a multi-year proposal to host the CFR at the Enmax Centrium starting in November 2018.

Both Westerner Park and the Chamber say bringing the event to Red Deer would be a major score.

“This event would generate significant economic impact throughout our community and Central Alberta, but also showcase our hospitality to host events of this scale,” says Ben Antifaiff, CEO and General Manager at Westerner Park.

Antifaiff predicts hosting both AgriTrade and the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer in the same month would generate $30 million annually in economic spending.

Robin Bobocel, CEO of Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, says they’re now inviting other interested parties to get involved with their efforts to bring the CFR to town.

“The magnitude of this event would be a community effort, which is why we are looking for the support and encouragement from our community as we work hard to bring the CFR to Red Deer and Central Alberta,” Bobocel said in release.

Specifically, Antifaiff says they’re welcoming letters of support as well as interest from potential volunteers.

“If you think of it like a Memorial Cup or a Scotties or a Brier, it takes a lot of people to pull off something of that significance. It also allows the community to be involved and say ‘Hey yeah, I was there and helped make the CFR the best success in Red Deer.’”

The CFR will be hosted at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton for the final time next month (Nov. 8 – 12) after City Council voted to close the arena as of Jan. 1, 2018, saying it is no longer cost effective to operate the facility.

The rodeo has been hosted in Edmonton for 44 years. It was scheduled to move to Saskatoon for three years starting in 2017 before an agreement was reached to have it at Northlands Coliseum for one more year. There are currently no plans to have the rodeo move to Rogers Place, Edmonton’s new downtown arena and home of the Oilers.

Currently, AgriTrade and the CFR take place during the same week in Red Deer and Edmonton, respectively. Should the rodeo move to Red Deer, Antifaiff says that would still be the case.

He says the proposal to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer could be ready for submission by the end of this year.

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