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Not her first rodeo: Kathy Sheppard looks ahead to the 2024 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair

Event planning for Rodeo 2024 is in full swing
Kathy Sheppard, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, addresses luncheon guests and thanks her fellow board members (standing behind her) at the 2023 rodeo. Sheppard said she’s looking forward to hosting a second rodeo as Association president in 2024. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Putting on a rodeo was a bit of a “whirlwind” says Kathy Sheppard.

Sheppard, Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association (CREA) president, reflected on the past year, telling the Cloverdale Reporter it was a rebuilding one for the rodeo and the Association.

Sheppard said she was grateful to have had a hand in helping the Cloverdale Rodeo return after such a lengthy hiatus.

“What a whirlwind for all of us,” Sheppard said. “There is no question that 2023 was a rebuilding year for us in so many ways. Leading up to—and throughout—2023, we had to make decisions around everything from staffing, equipment, assets and budgets, to what activities and events we wanted to include for the fair.”

She said the excitement around what CREA hoped to accomplish was tempered with some nervousness as there had not been a rodeo and country fair since 2019. They had several new board members, they didn’t have any staff, and they just signed a new agreement with the City of Surrey. So the Association was wandering through uncharted pastures.

“In the end, we celebrated the Cloverdale Rodeo’s 75th anniversary and hosted a fantastic country fair that offered the community a variety of fun, exciting and educational events, and attractions,” Sheppard explained.

She said the event was successful because of a mix of old and new. Sheppard cited the “world-famous” Cloverdale Rodeo, West Coast Amusements’ midway, the lumberjack show, the world freestyle skateboarding championships, and the ever-popular AgriZone as examples of successful past events. She noted successful new ideas for the fair portion of the weekend included, the Indigenous Village, the Jr. Firefighter Challenge, the Brick Corral (a Lego attraction), Xtreme Pogo, Yukon Dan’s gold panning, and wrestling.

“We must thank and recognize the role the City of Surrey played in the success of Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair,” Sheppard added. “They went above and beyond, in terms of the support and the backing that they provided.”

She said it also didn’t hurt attendance figures that the weather fully cooperated on Rodeo Weekend.

SEE ALSO: Looking back, Rodeo Association president calls 2023 Rodeo and Country Fair ‘huge success’

Sheppard feels relieved she has a rodeo under her belt and is looking forward to Rodeo 2024.

“We did it!” she exclaimed. “Knowing that we were so successful in 2023 just adds that extra drive for all of us to put on a bigger and better event for this year.”

She added the Association has been reflecting on 2023 in an effort to make 2024 the best event ever.

“(We) are working hard to continue to grow the event,” she noted. “The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair is no different than any other large-scale event in that you must look back, review and critique, and build on your successes—looking to continually improve.”

As there is no rest for the weary, this year’s event is only four months away.

“Rodeo 2024 truly is just around the corner,” Sheppard said. “We are in full planning and prep mode for 2024. The CREA board of directors and committee chairs are meeting monthly to plan and prepare for the upcoming event.”

She added a lot of the event contracts are already signed and the board is in the final stages of inking new attractions to be a part of this year’s Rodeo Weekend.

Sheppard is excited to be approaching her second rodeo. She said her team is putting together an “amazing” event and both rode0- and fair-goers will be excited to visit the Cloverdale Fairgrounds on May long weekend.

“The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair was built on a solid foundation by pioneers who took pride in the community,” Sheppard explained.”For decades the association has showcased the community traditions and western pioneer lifestyle. And it isn’t just based on 2023, but the result of the many decades that the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair has been in existence, run by dedicated and hardworking volunteers who all had the same like-minded attitude and pride for their community.”

Sheppard added the Rodeo Association is run by “enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers” and they are always looking for new people to join their volunteer ranks.

“There are many volunteer opportunities for everyone to get involved in.”

For more info on the rodeo and country fair, or on volunteering with CREA, visit

The 2024 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair will be held May 17-20 on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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