The Quesnel Rodeo Club, which hosts one of Canada’s largest amateur rodeos, announced via press release on Friday (Feb. 8) that they will be adding professional saddle bronc riding to their entertainment offering this summer.
“Our big screen will feature B.C.’s top amateur rodeo competitors, as well as North America’s top professional saddle bronc riders as they come to town looking to ride away with top honours in what is sure to be an action-packed 2019 Quesnel Rodeo,” Quesnel Rodeo Club president Ray Jasper says in the release.
In an interview with the Observer, Jasper says the addition is going to take the event to another level.
“Our rodeo is probably one of the best amateur rodeos in Western Canada and it’s one that every competitor has always liked to come to.
“Last year when we added our big screen, with the replays and the slow motion, it put us up there with any pro rodeo in Canada or the U.S. production-wise. So now we’re trying to sell a product that people go ‘wow’ and with these professional saddle bronc riders that we’re planning on getting, there will be a lot of ‘wow’s.”
The club will be putting up an extra $10,000 of added prize money to attract the riders who will be coming from all across the continent to put on a show July 19, 20 and 21.
They plan on having 10 professionals compete on each day of the rodeo, for a total of 30 competitors.
Terry Cook, president of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, says the format has never happened before.
“The CPRA has these single events all the time, but we’ve never had one over a three-day period,” he says. “Ordinarily, the competitors show up, they ride, they go home that night and it’s over.
“What Quesnel asked is to have 10-a-day for three days, so it’s on each day during the rodeo,” adds Cook. “And that will work well for Quesnel. They can expect to see a whole pile of awful good bronc riding.”
When asked to describe the difference between amateurs and professionals, Cook was almost at a loss for words.
“When you watch those guys, it’s like watching pro hockey compared to kids.
“These guys ride saddle broncs for a living. They go to up to 200 rodeos a year. That’s what they do.”