The annual Bull Arena and Eckville Indoor Rodeo events will not be taking place this year.
The Bull Arena event, set for May 8, was the first to face idea of postponement or cancellation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The crisis just kept dragging on and then the economy, probably 90 per cent of our sponsors are energy sector like oil and gas related, if not directly they’re indirectly,” said Phillip Rodney, chairman of the rodeo committee.
He explained, in addition to the pandemic, the oil slump the area has already been having a tough time coping financially without having to go ask for sponsorship dollars.
The Bull Arena had almost all of its sponsorship for the event, says Rodney, adding the board is appreciative for those local businesses and companies who were going to support the event before the pandemic came up and were still willing to do so.
Once the Bull Arena was cancelled the board discussed the rodeo and decided it was in the same boat and decided it was better to cancel than to postpone.
“It was hard to postpone it too because you don’t have a date where you can go to,” Rodney said of when large gatherings and events will be allowed to return.
He added it wasn’t economical to put dirt in the arena as the Junior Rodeo and 4-H sale are also cancelled.
“It’s just a real surreal circumstance, I think everyone realizes that, it’s pretty exceptional circumstances and you’ve got to make exceptional decisions.”
According to Rodney, the events will return next spring after everyone has had time to regroup.
Last year’s Bull Arena event was a huge success and the board was looking forward to putting it on again this spring, said Rodney.
“Hopefully next year once everyone’s recovered we can all come back and support this event and put on a few really good events at the arena and help supply money to it and give everyone in the town something to come to.”