There may not be a rodeo in 2022.
That information came out of a recent Cloverdale Rodeo Association general meeting Jan. 5.
If the rodeo doesn’t go ahead, it’ll be the third year in a row the Cloverdale Fairgrounds will not host the time-honoured event.
The Rodeo Association held a general meeting to update their membership on what happened with city negotiations as the Association hands over management of the Fairgrounds, but the meeting also touched on whether or not a 2022 Rodeo and Country Fair will occur.
“It was a general meeting to bring the membership up to date on what ended up happening with the city negotiations, as far as terminating our contract and what position we are in now,” said Gerry Spielmacher, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association.
Spielmacher said the negotiations are over and that everything went well.
“We’re just waiting for the final documents to be dropped off now,” he said. “We have a mutual agreement. There wasn’t a lot of benefit in us continuing to manage the (Fairgrounds) when the city wanted to have control. We knew that was going to happen years ago.”
He said the meeting also included an update on where the Rodeo Association is at financially.
“We have everything we need from the city that will allow us to continue to operate a rodeo on the Fairgrounds on the May long weekend.”
He said the city is committed to keeping the Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair going for years to come.
Spielmacher noted issues with the Stetson Bowl as the reason the 2022 Cloverdale Rodeo may not go ahead.
“It has been deemed ‘not safe’ at this time,” explained Spielmacher. He said engineers have already had a look at it and the city is waiting now to find out what type of a cost it will be to fix it up. He said they should know this within two weeks.
Everything will be determined on what type of fix is needed. If the Stetson Bowl can be fixed quickly and the repairs will last at least a few years, he said the city’s indicated they’ll go that route. If the cost for a quick fix is astronomical, then the Stetson Bowl will be torn down and rebuilt. If the latter, the 2022 rodeo will be cancelled.
Without the Stetson Bowl, there is not another suitable structure on the grounds that could host rodeo events.
“If we have to bring the rodeo part of it to an end this year, we’ll still continue on with the Country Fair. We’ll look at bringing some other entertainment in and things like that. But it’s not looking good right now for the (2022) rodeo,” Spielmacher said,
Rodeo EGM discuss options for 2022 Rodeo in light of needed repairs to the Stetson Bowl. Group considering a Country Fair only this year. @JanetBrown980 @CloverdaleCOC @Clovrdalebia @CloverdaleBC1 @DiscoverSurrey @CityofSurrey @VancouverSun @theprovince pic.twitter.com/OGEcDal32H— Paul Orazietti (@Paradeguy) January 6, 2022
He added there’s been a lot of vandalism to the Stetson Bowl, as it has sat vacant for two years, and there is a lot of general decay that has occurred over the years.
Spielmacher said the city has indicated they want a good structure on the grounds that can be used for the rodeo, but one that can also host concerts, festivals, and other events throughout the year.
“The city wants the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair to continue on as part of the history of Surrey. If we have to—because the Stetson Bowl is deemed unsafe, you can’t use a facility that’s unsafe—we would cancel the rodeo for this year, but move ahead with planning for next year. It’s a little disheartening because we’ve had two years of COVID.”
Spielmacher said at the moment, there’s been no discussion about moving the Country Fair back to September. In 1996, the “Fall Fair,” as it was known, was combined with the Cloverdale Rodeo and moved to May long weekend, ending its 109-year run as a fall event.
“We’re looking at all the opportunities we have before us. Right now, we’re just looking into things. It’s possible that we may move both the rodeo and Country Fair to a different date, but it’s just exploration at this point,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to putting on an event for the people of Surrey. The Country Fair and rodeo, but like I said the rodeo’s an ‘if’ at this point in time.”