Thousands of dollars will be on the line in Quesnel Sept. 26 and 27, as the Gold City Showdown timed rodeo event hits Alex Fraser Park.
Spectators will not be allowed at the event because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Ray Jasper organized the event and submitted the plan to Northern Health for approval.
“That was definitely tricky,” he said of the application.
Only 50 people will be allowed in the rodeo grounds at a time, with an additional 50 allowed in the grandstands, which normally seat 3,000.
The six-acre campground will be divided into zones to allow for smaller groupings.
“They did basically the same plan for the High School Rodeo a couple weeks ago,” Jasper said. “It seemed to work real well for them, so that’s what we’re going to try.”
Jasper said no rough stock (bull and saddle bronc riding) will be taking place because of COVID-19 considerations.
“A timed event can survive without spectators, where anything with rough stock, basically the cost is such that you need spectators to be able to pay for it,” he said. “This is going to be pretty small compared to a normal rodeo.”
Jasper said he expects around 100 participants at the event, one-fifth of the competitors at Quesnel’s usual summer rodeo.
“We’re trying it, we’re trying to see if it will work for the future moving forward for next year,” he said. “We don’t foresee — or at least I don’t — us being able to have spectators next year.”
According to Jasper, a 50-per-cent capacity for spectators would not generate enough revenue to cover a big rough stock event.
“We need 100 per cent capacity; we need our barn dance,” he said. “The cost to put on a full-blown rodeo is about $130,000. You need every revenue stream available to be able to pay your bills.”
While very few rodeo events have taken place across Canada this year, competitors at the timed event will get a chance to qualify for one. Riders in breakaway roping could qualify for the Canadian Finals in Claresholm, Alta.
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