SURREY (NEWS 113) — For the first time in decades it’s quiet at the Cloverdale fairgrounds on the Victoria Day weekend, but the event’s organizers are confident corgi races, cowboys, and country music will be back in 2021.
The cancellation of Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair due to COVID-19 means $2 million in lost revenue for the non-profit that puts it on, according to Shannon Claypool, President of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association.
Surrounding restaurants and hotels will also lose out on the roughly $10 million brought into the local economy by visiting cowboys and cowgirls during the four-day event.
It’s the first time in 24 years Claypool doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the weekend.
“What we’re doing is we’re just trying to do the best we can to keep our members, volunteers, and patrons safe so with the current direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry we’re staying away from doing anything,” he explains.
Claypool says the overwhelming sentiment from would-be attendees is “major disappointment.”
“That’s where you get together and you see all the people you haven’t seen since last year in the Longhorn Saloon. It’s going to put a big hole in a lot of people’s long weekend plans.”
But the rodeo is resilient, having survived two past cancellations.
Claypool says no employees have been laid off, and monthly board meetings are continuing virtually.
“It’s not going to put our organization in jeopardy in any way,” he says.
“We will plan the biggest and best event that we can do in 2021. I’m a bit of a positive attitude guy and we’re gonna plan for having a big party next year.”
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the rodeo.
Claypool says sponsors have already been gifted with belt buckles promoting the event.
The grounds are frequently used for film and TV productions as well as a weekly flea market, and Claypool says the organization is looking forward to getting those sources of revenue up and running again.