By Stuart Fullarton
Just two years shy of its 50th year, the 48th annual Bentley Rodeo held Aug. 8 and 9 was again a success attracting spectators and contestants from all over the province.
“We had a really good show here this year, and we were happy with everything,” said rodeo committee chair Jeremy Park, attributing a large part of the event’s success to solid numbers seen over the two days of competition.
Rodeo entries were up from last year, with much of the increase coming from the bull riding event. Attendance numbers were also steady both days.
“We haven’t got (attendance numbers) totaled yet, but judging by our income, we did fairly well,” said Park. “We usually get good crowds both nights.”
At the mid-point of both nights, empty seats were hard to come by, he added.
It’s that kind of support organizers need to keep the event going in the future.
“We get good support from the locals and from the business community, and lots of volunteers,” said Park. “As long as the volunteers are there to help, and we keep getting the support of the community and the businesses, I think we’re going to carry on.”
Because of Bentley’s proximity to outdoor recreational hubs such as Sylvan Lake and Gull Lake, a large part of the rodeo’s crowd is made up of visitors to those two areas. The rodeo provides them an exciting way to spend their evenings, potentially escaping inclement weather in the process.
That’s just one of the benefits of holding the rodeo inside, as has been the case since its inception nearly 50 years ago.
“We’re not usually affected by weather, either being too hot or raining,” said Park. “(Holding it inside) makes it a lot easier for the committee to not have to make any last-minute decisions on whether to cancer or not.
“We’ve never had to cancel a rodeo yet, and being indoors is the biggest part of that.”
The rodeo’s timing in the summer, he added, couldn’t be any better.
“It’s right in the middle of summer holidays, so we get lots of the lake traffic, and then lots of people are on holidays, so we do get good crowds every year.”
Though not available at press time, official rodeo results were expected to eventually be posted on the Central Alberta Rodeo Association website at www.cararodeo.com.