The rodeo will be one of two professional events in the country the weekend of June 13-15, and as such, McLeod is expecting a lot of cowboys taking part.
“Because of the time of the year the rodeo is going to be on, we’re going to be overwhelmed with entries because it’s the only other rodeo that weekend in Canada of pro calibre,” he explains. “You’re going to see the best of the best cowboys coming up here to Fort St. John again. You’re going to see an influx of people. That’s what we’re trying to bring back to the city.”
The rodeo will also have some local flavour to it as there will be competitors taking part in amateur events as part of the weekend.
“We can still go with an amateur rodeo, so we can still host a ranch rodeo at the same time as the pro rodeo, so something like Dawson Creek did last year. They had a ranch rodeo prior to opening the pro rodeo,” McLeod says. “You’ll see a lot of local contestants come in and compete also.
The prospect of a rodeo in town in 2014 was looking slim, as McLeod was having trouble getting the Agricultural Land Commission to rezone the bottom part of The Horse Park to allow him to run a business, which would help fund the events.
He’s gotten around that by putting a limit of 36 riders in each competition, which cuts down $40,000 of the stock contractor costs.
In all there will be openings for 36 bull riders, 36 bareback bronc riders and 36 saddle broncs.
McLeod also told City Council on Tuesday that the ALC has been responsive to his proposal to have the 300 acre property included in the North Peace Fringe Area Official Community Plan.
“I think we’ve hit a brick wall in regards to getting it excluded from the ALR. We’ve discussed getting it into the fringe area, which it seems that the the ALC is open to removing it if it was included.”
Part of the reason why his previous applications have been denied is that it isn’t included in future expansion plans for the City of Fort St. John.
Council will be sending a letter to the Peace River Regional District asking it to reopen the OCP.
Mayor Lori Ackerman argues that when it was last done, “we weren’t faced with what we’re faced with right now as far as potential growth goes and laying our potential boundaries.”
McLeod also says he has far future plans of donating the land back to the City for an indoor arena to built.
With putting on a professional rodeo comes the need for community support. As such people can contact Terry McLeod via email at [email protected].