timberland splitrock boot CFR finds a new home in Red Deer
RED DEER The slogan is, not our first rodeo. it Red Deer first Canadian Finals rodeo and the combination of the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park has resulted in CFR 45 through CFR 54 being signed here with much fanfare Tuesday evening.
Hundreds of citizens and rodeo people from around the province gathered between the boards of the Enmax Centrium, home of the Red Deer Rebels, for the announcement of the 10 year deal to deliver the event that was born and raised in Edmonton.
A partnership of Westerner Park and the Red Deer District Chamber of Commerce made it happen and the event was less a press conference than a production.
A surprise, maybe even a shock, to some might be the fact that despite about half the seats in the rodeo configuration in the Centurium compared to the Northlands Coliseum, cowboys head negotiator Jeff Robson was able to put together a 10 year deal featuring $1.65 million a year in prize money.
The final go round of the CFR in Edmonton featured $1.5 million in prize money. That worked out to $201,250 in each of the major events, saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling and ladies barrel racing.
How much of a challenge was it to get the money to that level?
said Robson. was one of the few things that didn come up in conversation and negotiations. Greg Southam / Postmedia
Since the CFR began at the old Edmonton Gardens in 1974 the event has been the big payoff for cowboys who compete in small rodeos around the Canadian West for precious little prize money to make it in the top 12 and the chance to some make some real money.
Some examples from November include bull rider Marcus Gloria of Edmonton who qualified by winning $18,830 during the season then cashing in for $43,000 over six performances in Edmonton and Orin Larson of Inglis, Man., who qualified with $15,353.93 over the year in bareback but took home a cheque of $43,125 from the CFR.
the biggest concern was the venue size. It come in around 8,000 with the chutes in and everything. said Robson. it is a lot smaller than Edmonton but there are some creative ways to work around that as well.
plan is to live stream the CFR into a lot of buildings and they have a lot of buildings here. The Memorial Cup was a raging success here. We try to make it work. to run six days instead of five with an added junior event on the Saturday afternoon, the first Red Deer run will go from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, two weeks earlier than most CFR in Edmonton.
really think it will worked well with AgriTrade here. To put AgriTrade and the CFR here on the same week here I think would have been a real challenge, said Robson. way we looked at it was move up the date and maybe guarantee a little better weather. backers are projecting a $20 million economic impact for Red Deer.
It was revealed in this column 10 days ago that after 44 editions the Canadian Finals Rodeo run is done in Edmonton. The Oilers Entertainment Group had informed the CPRA negotiating committee they would not submit a bid to keep the event in Edmonton at Rogers Place.
Losing a staple event that once produced an economic impact of $40 million a year in Edmonton, didn have to happen. Two years ago then rodeo cowboy rep Dan Eddy lost one of the biggest games of chicken ever played in these parts where Calgary twice tried to rustle the CFR from Edmonton in its prime.
The original deal Eddy turned down on the third bump involved getting a TV network deal to help make a dramatic difference with sponsorship and value.
Nothing resembling the OEG final offer that Eddy and the original group rejected was ever returned to the table by OEG because they believed the value of the property dropped dramatically in the interim.
The 44th edition of CFR had an announced attendance of 90,268 but included enough discounted $10 tickets that they were listed as a factor in OEG decision not to bid for the event.
So Red Deer it is. And there wasn much point in looking back here Tuesday.
lot of our membership probably doesn know a lot of about all the stuff that happened. What they didn have, they didn know, said Robson.
What they do know is that the have a place to rodeo.
The bottom line is that the Canadian Finals won be what it used to be but that doesn mean it won be worthy.
contestants will happy to have the stability of a 10 year deal and to work with people who are really excited about bringing it to their community and that a really important piece for us, said Robson.