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Luncheon kicks off 76th Cloverdale Rodeo and 133rd Country Fair

Canucks watch party set for Saturday night at rodeo
Rick Hugh, 1st vice-president of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association, addresses those gathered for the Cloverdale Rodeo Luncheon, while Rodeo Association president Kathy Sheppard looks on. The luncheon is the official kickoff to Rodeo Weekend. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

The 76th Cloverdale Rodeo and the 133rd Country Fair officially kicked off May 16 with the annual Rodeo Luncheon.

Held in the Stetson VIP Suite next to the Stetson Bowl on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, city councillors, members of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, MLA Mike Starchuk, and other dignitaries were on hand.

Duane and Chase Kesler of Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo Stock were also guests. The father and son duo supply roughstock animals, bulls and bucking horses, to 19 rodeos a year. Cloverdale is their fourth rodeo of 2024. They also supply roughstock for the Calgary Stampede.

“We couldn’t put our rodeo together without the saddle broncs, the bareback broncs and, of course, those big Brahman bulls,” remarked Rick Hugh, 1st vice-president of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association. “For years now, we’ve relied on the Kesler family to bring us the best of the best.”

Hugh thanked the many volunteers and workers that help make the rodeo a success.

Hugh noted many rodeo- and fair-goers will be surprised with the amount of entertainment lined up for Rodeo Weekend.

“We’ve got a mix of the old traditional stuff and some brand new things,” said Hugh. “We’ve got, of course, our rodeo; West Coast Amusements is back; the Longhorn Saloon featuring Chris Buck band on Sunday night—he’ll be bringing up a special guest by the name of Gord Bamford.”

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Hugh mentioned many other acts and performances over the four-day event, including the Indigenous Village, the World Freestyle Skate Competition, and the Lumberjack Show. He said there’ll be live music all weekend, including 54-40 playing the Lordco Stage, and the fair will host close to 50 food trucks.

“We are also having a Canucks watch party on Saturday night,” noted Hugh. “We got some big screens coming in and people can come on Saturday night and watch the Canucks….”

He said there’ll be a few screens up around the Fairgrounds, but the biggest screen will be up at the Lordco Stage.

If the game runs late and goes into overtime, Hugh said they’ll put it up on the main screen in the Stetson Bowl.

“Our rodeo performance will be over, so we’ll blast it there,” he said. “But at the (Lordco Stage) the bands will play during the intermission. So we’ll have live country music between periods.”

Kathy Sheppard, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association, said the watch party will be an event in and of itself as the MC will play trivia and engage the crowd during the game.

Sheppard added that Chris Buck and Gord Bamford have recently recorded a song together and the two will be filming a video on Sunday night during Buck’s performance in the Longhorn.

She said Bamford will play with Buck in some capacity during his performance on Sunday night.

Hugh said the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation (CRYIF), which gives out scholarships to students based on an applicant’s community service works, is also running a 50/50 during the rodeo.

“This year, all things being equal, the winner could take home $125,000,” revealed Hugh. “You can buy those tickets online, so we appreciate your support.”

Hugh said since the inception of CRYIF several years ago, the Foundation has provided close to $70,000 in scholarship money to local high school students as well as financial support to youth-focussed programs in the Lower Mainland.

Two examples of the youth-focussed programs CRYIF supports are “You Wear It Well,” which provides graduation wear to high school students who face financial challenges and “Hold High The Torch,” a project developed at École Salish Secondary School to recognize veterans for their service to Canada.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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