Small Town Rodeos: Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo
Dust off your cowboy boots and throw on your cowboy hat. If you are interested in a traditional western rodeo with not a bad seat in the house, plan to be in Stavely, AB in mid-May for Canada’s oldest indoor cowboy sporting event.
The Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo, is expected to draw 4,000 visitors over its three evening run at the arena approaching the Mother’s Day weekend May 10 to 12, 2018. Stavely is located on Hwy 2, about 75 minutes south of Calgary.
“It was originally started as a fund raising event to help keep the local arena going,” says Kim Cochlan, current treasurer and past chairman of the Stavely Pro Rodeo Association. He’s been involved with the event for 45 years. “And it has been running continuously ever since,” he says.
In fact, the first indoor rodeo in Canada (perhaps the world) was held in Stavely in 1929. With the Great Depression and WWII intervening, there was a long break in the schedule, before a committee re-launched the rodeo in the mid-1950s.
Along with being a popular and entertaining sporting event, the rodeo has been an important fundraiser, says Cochlan. Two years after the rodeo started in 1956, the Stavely rink burned down, but was rebuilt in time to host the annual event the following year. Then misfortune struck again in 1982 with the arena burning down again just two weeks before the rodeo. That year with many long hours of volunteer help, the show did go on a few miles to the south at the Claresholm AgriPlex. Due to construction delays, Claresholm was the temporary home of the Stavely rodeo during the 1983 and 1984 seasons as well. The indoor rodeo finally returned home to the new Stavely Arena for the 1985 event.
The Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo draws some 250 competitors from across Alberta entered in traditional rodeo events such as bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies barrel racing and of course bull riding. Vold Rodeo Co supplies the top quality rodeo stock.
Over the three evenings (events start at 7 pm), cowboys and cowgirls compete for $3,500 in prize money offered in each event. The winnings of each competitor add to their overall earnings as they go on to hopefully compete in the Canadian National Finals Rodeo and the U.S. National Finals Rodeo.
While a hardworking volunteer committee and the support of visitors to the event is significant, Cochlan also recognizes the dozens of sponsors whose ongoing support makes the rodeo at reality. “We wouldn’t be here without them,” he says.
For the $25 admission fee for adults (children under 12 are free) everyone gets a great seat. “We welcome all visitors to come and enjoy rodeo at its finest,” says Cochlan. “Our venue affords everyone the opportunity to have an up close view of the action. In fact, with some seats you have to watch. You might be exposed to a little more than rodeo sawdust.”
For more information visit stavelyprorodeo.com
By: Lee Hart