BOWDEN, ALTA. — It was day two of the ‘No More Lockdowns’ rodeo in rural Alberta and thousands more flocked to the private field near the town of Bowden.
The event, which was to push back against government restrictions on gatherings and the closing of local businesses, saw many enjoying Alberta’s official sport.
“We’ve tried it the other way for well over a year, we complied with the lockdowns when it first came out and the government just doesn’t seem to be listening to the people,” said Glen Carritt, an Innisfail activist and mayoral candidate, who attended the event.
“I mean we’ve got well over 3,000 people here who are just tired of being stifled.”
This event, which is located off Highway 2A about 12 kilometres north of Olds, Alta. comes as the province saw a daily record of 2,433 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and more than 1,700 on Sunday.
Residents in the small Alberta town are split when it comes to how they feel about the unsanctioned event.
“I think our family view, we want to do whats best for the community and if it means wearing masks, means isolating and avoiding things, we’re going to do that,” said Ken Dittmann.
One woman, who did not want to provide her name says if the events can be held safely, then they should.
“If we’re allowed to have some sort of outside gatherings as long as you are doing things safely to me that’s your choice, and if that’s something you’re comfortable with, to each their own,” she said.
For the group ‘End Alberta Lockdown,’ central Alberta organizer Corrina Fischer says rural residents and local businesses have had enough of endless restrictions announced by the province.
“They’ve had enough of the lies and they’re ready to stand up and say alright we have freedom,” she said.
“I don’t even recognize Canada anymore. We have a choice, if I’m sick, I’ll stay at home.”
While CTV News was at the event, not one RCMP cruiser or officer was visibly present.
RCMP did not respond to CTV News’ request for comment while repeated requests to speak with the rodeo’s organizer Ty Northcott also went unanswered.
The provincial government did respond to the weekend event, with Kenney calling the rodeo a situation where Albertans were “ignoring the rules.”
The event organizers were told by AHS and police that the event was not prohibited under current health guidelines.