Barrel racing is one of four main events at the invitational rodeo

Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair kicks off Friday

A crop of elite veteran competitors and the next wave of young athletes promise an amazing exhibition of athleticism.

Surrey is gearing up for its 69th annual Cloverdale Rodeo and 127th annual Country Fair, and organizers say this year will be one for the memory books.

The event, May 15 to 18 at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds at 176 Street and 60 Avenue, is the culmination of a year of planning.

The rodeo will include bareback riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and the ever-popular mutton busting.

Some of the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls will attend as the Cloverdale Rodeo continues its practice of providing an invitational event, offering up a total of $328,000 in cash prizes for the four main events.

“This year’s crop of elite veteran competitors along with the next wave of young athletes will deliver an amazing exhibition of athleticism and an unparalleled rodeo experience,” says Cloverdale Rodeo Chair Penny Smythe. “We are excited to welcome the best of the best in the sport of rodeo.”

Cloverdale’s youngest riders get their chance to shine in the mutton bustin’ competition, featured at all five rodeo performances.

B.C.-based Karen Lee Batten, B.C. Country Music Assocation’s female vocalist of the year, will also be performing at the rodeo.

Trick rider and liberty horse entertainer Niki Cammaert Flundra is also a featured rodeo performer this year.

Also new in 2015 is the West Fine Art Show, one of B.C.’s largest and most prestigious art shows. Between 15 and 30 of the finest artists in Western Canada will be at the fair as part of the show.

There’s also the World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboard Championships, which is expecting close to 30 skaters from seven countries to compete for up to $10,000 in prize money.

Of note is 12-year-old Japanese skateboarder Isamu Yamamoto, who took the world by storm last year when he beat out 20-year-old Kaue Araujo from Brazil for the top spot in the amateur division.

This year, Yamamoto comes back to compete in the pro division.

Also enjoy the midway with its collection of rides and games for the kids, along with the lumberjack show, B.C. Country Music Pavilion, and the Longhorn Saloon, with live entertainment after the sun goes down, with nightly performances by Ken McCoy Band and Ettinger & Big 50.

The outdoor stage will feature Appaloosa, Robyn & Ryleigh, Chris Buck, Hey Stewey and more.

Grounds admission is $12 (kids 12 and under are free; must be accompanied by an adult), and rodeo performances are $20 (also free for kids 12 and under).

For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.CloverdaleRodeo.com.

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