The Quesnel Rodeo Club has canceled the first-weekend event of 2021 after consultation this week with Northern Health.
“We had the opportunity to maybe wait this out,” president Ray Jasper said of the province’s COVID-19 circuit breaker restrictions that had been extended to Tuesday, May 25.
“But that doesn’t make sense for a rodeo — we had to make the decision this week whether we move forward or not.”
The non-spectator, competitor-driven event would have taken place May 29 and 30.
Jasper said they are holding out hope things will continue to improve for their next competitor-only rodeo set for July 16, 17 and 18 which could attract up to 150 contestants each day.
A two-day trial event was held by the Quesnel Rodeo last September to test the concept and economics of a contestant-driven event.
“The COVID plan that we have this year has actually stepped it up a bit so we don’t feel we’re putting anyone in danger,” Jasper said, noting Northern Health supported their plan.
“Hopefully with things getting better all the time I don’t see them not wanting us to not go later in the summer.”
Another two-day rodeo could follow in mid-August.
Jasper said it’s important the club tries their best to keep the sport of rodeo alive and said any cancellations are a blow to everyone.
“We have so far got a great response from businesses and our sponsors even though there won’t be fans in the stands,” he said.