Original Published on Jun 24, 2022 at 00:15

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Gleichen Agricultural Society (GAS) hosted their first Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) and Professional Rodeo Cowboys (PRC) approved event at the newly completed community rodeo grounds on June 15 with a saddle bronc competition.

According to Stephanie Yule, GAS member, the organization has hosted rodeo events for years, but until now, festivities were hosted on private property.

“We decided that we would build a rodeo ground in town for public use, and host a bronc riding, and we are going to host some youth rodeos throughout the summer,” said Yule. “We have talked about it for years. A ton of people in the community have talked about it for years and years and then finally (we said) ‘you know what, COVID-19 is over, things are opening up, let’s do it. Now is the time, let’s put in the effort and get it done so that we can have all our family and friends use it and see it and enjoy it.’”

Yule added construction on the facility began months ago, but she did not provide a specific date. 

She commended the local community for their efforts in bringing the facility together for use on such a short timeline.

“It has been overwhelming. There have been so many people who have stepped up with volunteer hours, donating supplies, donating their skills — especially their skills, that has been very, very amazing,” said Yule. “It took a lot of community support, a lot of volunteer hours … and a lot of manpower to put this on. We have (a lot) of people who stepped up.”

In order to host sanctioned and official events, the GAS was required to go through proper channels to get permissions from the CPRA and PRC.

Now that the proper logistics have been sorted, the GAS is able to host any variety of rough stock events it is equipped for.

“I feel like it’s already starting to snowball. There has already been people contacting us asking if they could rent the facility, asking when other events are happening, what they can do to help us and how they can join,” said Yule. “This summer especially, we are going to focus on having a few little youth rodeos and they will be during the week because we know that everybody’s weekends are pretty booked up over the summer.”

For a first event, Yule added the turnout was far beyond what she had hoped for to kick off the local rodeo season and to break in the facility.

Along with the rodeos for youth, the facility will be available to rent out over the course of the summer.

For those who are interested, keep up with the GAS social media pages for more information on upcoming events at the facility.

This item reprinted with permission from The Times, Strathmore, Alberta