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Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair enjoy ‘fantastic’ weekend

More than 65,000 visited Cloverdale Fairgrounds over May long weekend


That’s how Kathy Sheppard, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, described the 76th annual Cloverdale Rodeo and the 133rd annual County Fair.

The rodeo and fair returned for four days of competition, music, entertainment, and fun May 17-20.

Sheppard said “Rodeo Weekend” was “amazing” and she couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.

“Mother Nature worked with us and she worked against us,” laughed Sheppard. “But it all worked out. We live in B.C. We don’t melt in the rain.”

She said at one point over the weekend a strong downpour significantly dampened the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, but not the spirits of those attending the rodeo and country fair.

She noted even with the rain, Canada’s second biggest rodeo went off without a hitch.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the rodeo and fair,” she said. “Our lines were long; we know that. We’re working on it. And we’re going to make it bigger and better for next year.”

One of the big changes this year was the “festival-style” music lineup the Cloverdale Rodeo Association added. Sheppard said they’ve received nothing but positive reviews the change.

“I’m so happy for that because we had rock, country, tribute bands, local community artists and much more,” she noted. “We had something for everybody.”

She said the sheer number of acts available on the various stages allowed people to take in a myriad of different artists with little chance of seeing the same artist twice.

Despite the Canucks’ game six loss to the Oilers on Saturday night (May 18), Sheppard said the watch party went well.

“Ours was the only watch party in Surrey,” she explained. “It was fantastic. It was very well attended and everybody had such a great time.”

Sheppard said final attendance numbers were just over 65,000 for the weekend, down about 5K from last year.

“The rain and hail kept some people away on Saturday, but we had record attendance on Sunday and fantastic crowds on Monday.”

She added the rodeo performances were very popular. “Four of our five rodeo performances were sold out. Our Friday night performance was the only one that wasn’t full and that was at about 90 per cent. We had a great crowd on Friday night.”

Sheppard said there were several highlights for her over the weeknd, such as the Indigenous Village and some new attractions and family-oriented events. But the ultimate highlight for her was getting to see Kolby Wanchuk, son of longtime Cloverdale Rodeo clown Ricky Ticky Wanchuk, win the saddle bronc event at rodeo.

“Kolby has been with us since he was two years old,” explained Sheppard. “When he was younger, he’d be in the arena with his dad as part of the rodeo clown act.”

Sheppard watched the youngster grow up at rodeo and to see him win brought her to the height of emotion.

“It was very exciting and very moving.”

Sheppard noted the unsung heroes for the weekend were the Cloverdale Rodeo Association volunteers, which number about 300, and all the staff and workers that helped put on the event.

“They’re like family,” she explained. “They come from all over Surrey and the Lower Mainland to volunteer for four days and they do such amazing work. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Sheppard also said Cowboy Church was held again on Sunday morning. It was meant to be held in the Stetson Bowl, but inclement weather saw the service moved back into the Stetson suite, where it’s traditionally been held.

“We had a record number of people attend this year,” said Sheppard. “It was a nice, Western-style, family-oriented, non-denominational service. It was just wonderful. Lots of music. Lots of happy people.”

Sheppard added this year’s Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation pancake breakfast was extremely well-attended. The Youth Initiative Foundation holds the breakfast on Rodeo Sunday as a fundraiser for the Foundation’s scholarship fund. For a donation, attendees got flapjacks and free entrance to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds that day.

She also said the rodeo 50/50 draw raised $22,000 for the Youth Foundation.

Sheppard’s already looking forward to the 2025 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair. They’ll get going on 2025 in about a week or two.

“We just want to thank the City of Surrey for their support and thank the community for their support and for coming out and enjoying the event,” added Sheppard. “We hope that next year we can make it that much bigger and that much better.”

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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