News / Edmonton

Canadian Finals Rodeo will buy Northlands time

Short-term contract could sustain coliseum.

The Canadian Finals Rodeo will stay in Edmonton through 2018.

File / Metro Order this photo

The Canadian Finals Rodeo will stay in Edmonton through 2018.

The Canadian Finals Rodeo could cover the cost of running Northlands Coliseum for the rest of its lifespan, according the organization’s president and CEO.

Tim Reid confirmed Wednesday that Northlands had secured the CFR for 2017 and 2018, after it was expected to go east to Saskatoon.

“This event, if successful, essentially covers the carrying costs of (Northlands Coliseum) for a year,” he said.

The city withdrew its bid for the CFR in May after hosting it for 43 years, and the Oilers Entertainment Group and Professional Bull Riding later announced a 10-day “western lifestyle” party to take its place.

Reid said he hopes to work with Oilers Entertainment to combine the two rodeo events into one big festival, and also said a conversation “has to be had” about moving CFR to Rogers Place once the contract runs up as the future of Northlands Coliseum is uncertain.

“If we do this right, I don’t think this is about competition at all,” he said.

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) signed a memorandum of agreement in July to bring the CFR to Saskatoon, but its board fell apart shortly after.

Reid said Wednesday that conversations with the CPRA happened “organically” over more than six weeks – at least three weeks before the Saskatoon Tourism president told Metro he caught wind of the negotiation.

Jeff Robson, an advisor to the CPRA board who initially reached out to Reid, said staying in Edmonton was the “easy” option and uprooting the rodeo to go east without more preparation time would have been risky.

“It’s what had to happen. It’s a short-term deal, it buys us time,” Robson said.

The CFR was already scheduled to take place at Northlands from Nov. 9-13 this year.

Metro Savers