After COVID-19 wiped out a century worth of rodeo tradition, the Teepee Creek Stampede will return this coming July, with some changes planned.
The event is not an open-door policy for the general public. Given the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the region, the event is looking like a limited affair in terms of attendance, but the potential for something more certainly does exist.
Teepee Creek Stampede Association President Steve Meurs lays out the basic ground rules as he knows them in late April.
“Sponsors will be given the priority but if there is still capacity available, we will be selling some tickets,” Meurs said. “We just don’t know what that is going to look like just yet. We can’t guarantee what the numbers will be so it’s just going on (as) sponsors having first priority at seating … as soon as we get the numbers set in, what we’re able to do, there will be tickets made available.”
For the sake of comfort in something familiar, the president and the association want to return 100-plus years of summertime ritual back to the hearth, but the president is well aware not everybody will agree with the decision.
“There has been a little bit of backlash but there will be, in anything you do, there’s going to be backlash,” Meurs said. “It’s one of those things, as a committee, we determined this is going to be the best course of action for us and the community, the whole area, and that’s why we’re going this route. It doesn’t matter what you do there is going to be somebody upset with (this decision).”
Meurs was asked why the association is holding the event instead of showing patience, waiting for the pandemic to lessen.
“A big part of it is the pride our group has in holding the event,” Meurs said. “We’ve been around 103 consecutive years and (we) made it through a lot of hard times and then 2020 was the first time it was unable to happen and that hit everybody pretty hard. We went into this year with the mindset we’re doing something, we didn’t know what, and we’ve come down to this is what is has to be. So, we’re going to do it.”
The junior rodeo event and professional rodeo will be part of the show as will the drivers from the Western Chuckwagon Association and the All Pro Canadian Chuckwagon and Chariot Association.
“We have two days of pro rodeo and wagons and we also still have the junior rodeo,” Meurs said. “The biggest thing we’ll be missing is the concerts and the beer gardens and that is not something we like to have happen but that’s just the reality of where we’re at.”
Despite the potential for limitations on who can be on the grounds at the time of the rodeo, Meurs is pleased the event is returning just the same and hopeful the general public can attend in some way.
“We’re really excited to be able to host our event in a modified capacity,” Meurs said. “The general feel, especially in our community, is that people feel excited we’re going to have rodeo this year.”
The four-day event is scheduled for July 8-11.