After Friday night’s Red Deer Rebels game, Westerner Park staff was already getting the Peavey Mart Centrium ready for the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
The CFR returns to Red Deer this week, starting Wednesday and wrapping up Sunday.
“As soon as the hockey game was over (on Friday), our guys come in and scrape the ice as close as they can to the logos,” said Craig MacLennan, Westerner Park event delivery venue operations manager.
“The logos we actually have to (melt) out with hot water because they’re a material. Then we took some of the east-end bleachers and hauled them out.”
Before leaving for the night, the team turned off the refrigeration plant so the ice would be soft in the morning. At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, Westerner Park staff started melting out the logo’s material.
Once that material was out, the ice was broken up, thrown into a dump truck and brought outside to melt.
“We finished that at about noon, then we took some big bleachers out on the east end. Then we started taking the glass out, the east-end boards. Once we’re done that, we start putting the ring steel in, which goes up against the boards before the dirt,” said MacLennan.
A contractor, Bettenson’s Sand and Gravel Co., was set to come into Westerner Park at about 10 p.m. on Saturday to put about eight inches of dirt down – MacLennan estimated they would finish around 7-8 a.m. on Sunday. Another contractor was scheduled to come in on Sunday to set up the chutes, lead-up alleys and more, MacLennan noted.
“The (people) doing the production and putting up the big screen are kind of working around us while we’re doing all of this,” MacLennan explained.
“On Monday, we’ll do some final touches. Tuesday’s a big production … they’ll be setting lights and that kind of stuff. Then Wednesday’s the rodeo.”
The 48th edition of the national championship, hosted by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, features the biggest rodeo stars from across the country, in addition to a trade show, a live-music cabaret and family-oriented activities.
Westerner Park has been preparing the other venues on-site, including the Parkland, Prairie and Stockmens Pavilions, as well as Exhibition Hall, for the past week or so.
Preparing for an event like the CFR “takes a lot of planning,” said MacLennan.
“We’re very fortunate at Westerner that we have good equipment,” he said.
“For our department, once we get all of the logistics and everything from the event sales team and the rodeo manager, we start planning and schedule all of our people. We basically have a routine – we have enough experienced people that it’s a pretty easy process.
“For the rodeo, it takes a lot of contractors to help us. (Saturday) we had roughly four contractors on site to help us do this.”
Right when CFR 48 wraps up on Sunday, Westerner staff will immediately begin setting up for the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo, which runs from Nov. 9-12. Then after that event, ice will be re-installed at the Peavey Mart Centrium as the Rebels are set to host the Brandon Wheat Kings on Nov. 19.
For more information on the CFR, visit www.cfrreddeer.ca.