‘Full steam ahead’: Strathmore, Alta., greenlights summer rodeo event

CALGARY — A rodeo and outdoor festival in a community east of Calgary will be going ahead as planned this year, officials say.

Organizers of the 2021 Strathmore Stampede say they made the decision earlier this week, based on the positive notice from Alberta’s top doctor regarding outdoor events.

“We were thrilled to receive the letter from Dr. (Deena) Hinshaw that rodeo season is expected to go ahead this summer,” said Ryan Schmidt, CEO of the Strathmore & District Agricultural Society (SDAS), in a release.

“Athletes, fans and organizers across Alberta have been itching for this great news. We are full steam ahead planning an incredible weekend for our fans at the Strathmore Stampede.”

The SDAS says it was also buoyed by Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) plan to “lift all attendance restrictions on rodeos” in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of July.

However, that doesn’t mean that attendees will be able to throw caution to the wind.

“The SDAS will be working closely with AHS and local health and safety officials to ensure that all public health protocols will be in place at this year’s Strathmore Stampede. All ticket holders will be expected to follow AHS guidelines over the rodeo weekend,” the society wrote on Facebook.

Tickets for the event, which is scheduled to run from July 30 to Aug. 2, will be sold online starting next month. Policies are also in place if the situation changes in Alberta.

“In the case that the 2021 Strathmore Stampede is cancelled due to AHS’ COVID-19 public health measures, all tickets will be refunded.”

The SDAS says the rodeo contributes approximately $4 million to the local economy and sees about 40,000 people attend.

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