The City of Leduc’s Black Gold Rodeo is a four-day event that achieved Pro status a few years ago. Due to the diligence and passion of its organizers and dynamic volunteer core, it has earned a fine reputation. Each year, it attracts high-performance competitors and showcases interesting and fun events.
Friday morning, The One Radio 93.1FM invited one and all to a free Rodeo Kick-Off Breakfast. A lively crowd enjoyed fresh fare served by on air-personalities, and prepared by others, such as our new MLA Shaye Anderson. Live music, The Orchards, was enjoyed by all.
Friday’s Rodeo of Smiles is an awesome, annual event that caters to school children with special needs. Horse rides with attentive helpers were popular despite the occasional line-ups. Chicken John’s Petting Farm allowed children (and adults) to pet pigmy goats, a donkey, a miniature horse, rabbits and farm birds. This is quite the treat for animal lovers, including this reporter. Fun games such as the basketball game and a wagon race, aided by teenagers, were constantly enjoyed by kids of various ages. School children escorted by their teachers or parents seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day.
The Saturday morning Rodeo Breakfast was sponsored by Co-Op Grocery, set up in their parking lot, prepared and served by Leduc’s Lions Club members. Huge lines of breakfast guests were served rather quickly by these congenial Lions: breakfast was delicious, a fun opportunity to visit with community friends – and meet new people.
The Annual Black Gold Rodeo Parade is traditionally attended by thousands of local residents and regional visitors. In the past, it has often been plagued by inclement weather, even this year, despite the rodeo having been moved from April to the end of May. Dressed for the cool temps, thousands enjoyed this fantastic parade.
Each year, the Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce Team takes on the daunting task of coordinating this parade. This year’s parade was long, colorful, occasionally musical, and as always, very entertaining. Calle Mexico is a colorful food truck that sells Mexican fare, and it is operated by an ambitious Cora’s employee and his family. Happy Chappy, owned by Tammy of Kennelli’s Springs, is the newest dispenser of quality ice cream in this city, located on 50th Street. The RCMP’s Regimental Pipes & Drums Band, Edmonton’s Northlands Posse and the Squadron 831 Black Knights Air Cadets marching in perfect harmony, the Leduc Black Gold Riders and their superb mounts all decked out were crowd favorites.
Alice Embroidery’s float was an imposing Viking ship and the Al Shamal Shriners had several members on mini-motorbikes; their Oriental Band was a hit as always. Connectivity dancers, wagons and impressive work horses, regional politicians (Mayor Greg Krishke and Joanne, MP James Rajotte, MLA Shaye Anderson and his wife and Beaumont Mayor Camille Bérubé) rode in convertibles. A long parade, full of surprises, even out-of-town floats!
Manluk Centre’s colorful van and WRM Ready Mix Concrete’s big-wheel wagon pulled by gorgeous black and white paints represented the City of Wetaskiwin, while the Calgary Stampede came to promote itself. The City of Leduc and Leduc County had lovely floats with several councillors waiving tirelessly.
The Rodeo Trade Fair was another impressive accomplishment. A huge variety of exhibits, from furnishings to western-style home décor, jewellery and lots of attractive clothing, art, cookware and services: the Hospital Foundation and the City of Leduc had congenial staff in attendance. Terry Kuhn, a South Telford resident, proudly showcased and sold his lovely art.
The Leduc Black Gold Rodeo is a success story. It has been hosted for thirty years, an amazing milestone. Excited crowds walked through the Leduc Recreation Centre to attend the Rodeo or to access the Family Fair. No injury was reported and each performance offered action, suspense and awesome riding skills. Rodeo competing demands skills and hard training, and the Rodeo fans appreciate this.
Miss Rodeo Canada was on site for the duration: Katie Lucas is a native of Carstairs AB, a petite, soft-spoken cowgirl who enjoys her one year of full-time duties. The talented and humorous announcer was Jody Carper, a professional hailing from Jamul California. Amanda Young of Leduc is a lovely team roper and young ‘cow rider’ (bull riding for girls) who trains at Crossbell Performance Horses near Rabbit Hill. This weekend, she loved the experience of working as a ‘steer pusher’.
Cowboy Church is also a Rodeo tradition, held at the LRC for an appreciative crowd. Once again, the City of Leduc, the Chamber Team and dozens of volunteers, can be proud of a successful Black Gold Rodeo. If you missed it, you can enjoy it next year, as a spectator or a volunteer.