(file photo)

‘We are very sad’: Cloverdale Rodeo cancelled for third time in 74 years

‘We will celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2021,’ event’s chief volunteer says

** This story has been updated.

The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very sad to have to make this decision but it is the right thing to do for our volunteers , members and guests,” Shannon Claypool, president of Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association, posted to the Bit-A-Bling grand entry team’s Facebook page on Friday evening (April 10).

“This is only the 3rd time in 74 years that our wonderful event has been forced to cancel,” Claypool added.

“We will celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2021 and we will all work to make it our best one yet. Thank you all for everything that you do as part of our Cloverdale rodeo family. Stay safe and healthy everyone.”

The 2020 edition of the rodeo and country fair was scheduled for May 15-18. The event annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors over its four-day period.

The Cloverdale Rodeo Association includes more than 500 volunteers and a staff of 11 who work though out the year to plan, stage and execute the annual rodeo and fair.

The country fair was first held in 1888 and the rodeo in 1947.

“This was an important year for an event which holds a special place in our community,” Claypool said in a news release late Friday.

“We were planning a fantastic celebration of the 74th anniversary of the Rodeo and the 132nd of the Country Fair. Each year our event brings together competitors from around the world for both the Rodeo and the World Roundup Skateboarding events, and over 100,000 guests and fans from across the region who see the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair as the official kick-start of summer in B.C.

“We tip our hats and extend our appreciation to the volunteers, competitors, exhibitors, sponsors and the people of Surrey and everyone from across BC and beyond who support us every year. We look forward to seeing you in 2021.”

The rodeo was postponed once before. In 1995, Surrey city workers went on strike and the rodeo was moved to Labour Day weekend. The date change was estimated to cost the rodeo close to $150,000.

In mid-March, Mike MacSorley, general manager for the rodeo, said a decision on whether or not to postpone the annual event wouldn’t be made for another month, after the Easter long weekend.

“We’re going to wait for a few weeks before we make a decision,” he said at the time, just as the pandemic began to hit British Columbia and the rest of Canada.

• RELATED STORY/VIDEO: 2019 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair Round-Up

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