Canadian Finals Rodeo Goes To Red Deer For Ten Years

“This is a great day for rodeo in Canada,” said Terry Cooke, president of the CPRA.

In a press conference at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta, it was announced that Canada’s pinnacle rodeo event had officially found its new home. The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association signed a 10-year deal with Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce to host the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

“We came to an agreement today — went through the contract — it’s going to be great for the cowboys, for the fans, the city and rodeo in Canada,” Cooke said. “This has been going on a long time and it feels so good to be wanted by a community. These guys want us to be here and we want to be here.”

The event has called Edmonton home for the last 44 years and the pressure was on when the Northlands Coliseum announced it would be closing a year ahead of schedule, leaving CFR without the home it thought it would have for 2018. The Sasktel Centre and Saskatoon Tourism in Saskatchewan showed interest in hosting the event but ultimately the Red Deer proposal was chosen.

“We were of the strong belief that our offer was the best offer, a lot of that is to do with our venue,” said Ben Antifaiff, CEO and general manager at Westerner Park. “We can house the livestock right on site, all the livestock can be stabled, (and) no livestock is going to have to be trucked on and off site. It’s way better for the animals and a lot easier on the animals and that’s an important part of the competition.”

As for housing CFR fans, the smaller venue already has a plan for that.

“Certainly we have a smaller seating capacity, but we also have the ability for the first year to put up temporary bleachers and we intend to do that,” Antifaiff said. “We also have the Parkland Pavilion right next door and adjacent to this building. We’re going to set up our cabaret series and simulcast in that building. We can put another 2,000 people in, so taking in to consideration what our current capacity is, add temporary bleachers and also a simulcast next door, and we can put just about 10,000 people on our property to enjoy the CFR and that pretty well rivals what the average was at Northlands in Edmonton.”


With a new team at the helm comes some changes to CFR. While there are still many details to be decided, some key differences will be:

  • Date: The 2018 CFR will take place October 30 to November 4, earlier than the traditional time frame that falls over Remembrance Day. 
  • Length: The CFR will still have six performances, but only have one performance each night from Tuesday through Saturday, and the matinee performance on Sunday. Contestants will no longer have back-to-back performances on Saturday. 
  • Junior addition: What was traditionally the Saturday matinee performance will now be replaced with a junior rodeo event to showcase the future stars of rodeo as they compete for a share of a $24,000 scholarship fund. 
  • Purse: In 2017 the CFR purse totaled $1.61 million (not including the novice events); in 2018 the top competitors in Canada will compete for $1.65 million.

While there will be changes, the organizers from Red Deer pledged that many aspects will remain the same:

  • Six-pack tickets: organizers are coming up with a conversion plan for the previous CFR six-pack ticket holders to purchase what they will call “all-in” ticket packages for the Red Deer venue that will include the seven (six professional and one junior) performances during CFR. 
  • Benevolent Fund: The organizers will be carrying on the Rodeo Cowboys Benevolent Fund to help support competitors that are injured and unable to compete and earn money. 
  • Events: Surrounding events like the Ladies Of Canadian Pro Rodeo Fashion Show, the Miss Rodeo Canada Pageant, and the CFR Night of Champions are welcomed by the new committee. 
  • Sponsors: Organizers plan to reach out to existing CFR sponsors.

The organizers from Red Deer were also motivated to create a strong proposal by what hosting an event of this magnitude could do for the central Alberta city, surrounding area, and its businesses.

“The models that we’ve put together show an economic impact of between 20 and 30 million dollars annually for Red Deer and the region. So translate that over 10 years and that’s an extremely significant number,” said Robin Bobocel, CEO of Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.

The group also pointed out that there are 2.9 million people within an hour and a half of Red Deer that could greatly influence not only the event, but the sport as well.

“Isn’t it a great opportunity for us to grow the sport of rodeo and expose new people to the sport, to have us in such close proximity to them I think is a huge opportunity and we will not waste it,” said Bobocel.

2019 CPRA Rodeo Season Kicks Off Next Weekend With Agribition

There’s no rest for competitors who want to make it back to the Canadian Finals Rodeo for its second trip to Red Deer, Alberta, next year. While the long winter looms ahead, competitors will receive an early chance to start the standings race at the Canadian Western Agribition. 

Rising Star: Bailey Gregg, 15-Year-Old All-Around Cowgirl

Team roper, barrel racer, goat tier, and a rodeo queen with a strong working cow horse background. Fifteen-year-old Bailey Gregg truly is an all-around cowgirl.

Look Out South Dakota, The Steer Wrestlers Are Coming Your Way

Rapid City, South Dakota, better get ready for the “big boys” of rodeo this weekend. The Kjerstad Event Center will play host to a qualifier for the 2019 edition of The American this Saturday that’s bound to bring out some tough competition.

VOTE: What Is The Best Song About Rodeo?

We love it when country artists “sing a little ditty” about our favorite sport, but which song reigns supreme? From old to new, classic country to modern-day twang, we’ve strung together a list of some of our favorite rodeo songs of all time and want you to decide which one is the best of the best.

Don't Have Time To Rewatch The Entire CFR? Watch All The Highlights Here

If you don't have time to watch the full replays of the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo, we have your "mini-fix" right here. Watch all the round winning rides and runs from each round of CFR45 in the highlight videos below:

We Called It. 2018 IS Scott Guenthner's Year

When Scott Guenthner took home the title at the Ponoka Stampede all the way back in July, we started asking ourselves if this could be his year? 

Levi Simpson & Jeremy Buhler Take Home Back-To-Back Canadian Titles

Despite a last-minute rush to even qualify for the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler have proven to be unstoppable on Canadian soil for two years in a row. The pair walked out of Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta, as the Canadian champion team ropers for the second time as a team, and Simpson's fourth title in his career.

Watch The Entire 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo AGAIN

The Canadian Finals Rodeo's debut in the city of Red Deer, Alberta, was one for the record books — literally. The three Larsen brothers made history as the first set of three siblings to compete in three different events in performance one, Jake Vold broke the CFR record in the bareback in performance two, and barrel racer Callahan Crossley continued to set — and raise — the bar of the new arena record each night. 

'Love Ya Buddy': Champion Sends Message To Vezain At CFR45

'Love Ya Buddy': Champion Sends Message To Vezain At CFR45

Newly crowned Canadian champion bareback rider Richmond Champion gave a special message to his friend and fellow bareback rider J.R. Vezain during his interview. Vezain is currently recovering from a spinal injury he sustained near the end of the 2018 rodeo season.

Competitor Crossover: Who's Competing In The CFR & Rising Stars?

Looking at the list of young cowboys and cowgirls that are competing in the Rising Stars Junior CFR means looking at the next generation of potential professionals. Some of those competitors are proving that to be true–not sometime in the future–but today.