Cinch Rodeo being reinvented

Ponoka-raised, Airdrie-based Jake Vold is one of several local cowboys who can be seen at the Pro Rodeo Canada Series Finals at Calgary Stampede Park, Oct. 2-3. POSTMEDIA NETWORK

By Britton Ledingham, Airdrie Echo

Cinch Pro Rodeo Canada, based in Airdrie, is looking to make some changes to its Pro Rodeo Canada Series Finals at Calgary Stampede Park, Oct. 2-3.

The organization hopes to implement new audio and visual technology to improve the experience for fans.

“We can’t wait to see the event unfold,” said Katy Lucas, director of communications for Pro Rodeo Canada and current Miss Rodeo Canada.

“I don’t think there are other rodeos that have done this system before.”

Lucas said in addition to ramping up the technology, the organization wants more interaction between fans and competitors.

“One thing about rodeo competitors is they are very humble,” said Lucas. “We’re trying to teach them not to be. Go out and meet the fans, tweet back, that sort of thing.”

Lucas said rodeo fans will be encouraged to up their social media usage during the show, sometimes for opportunities to win prizes.

“We’ve got ways for them to be a part of the action,” she said, noting the PRC Twitter handle is @prorodeocanada.

“These cowboys are just like any other professional athlete... they just don’t get the same kind of exposure as other athletes,” said Lucas, noting she wants to change that.

PRC is also planning autograph sessions for all the athletes.

“The kids are always excited,” said Lucas. “We’re hoping to create some more super fans.”

Top contestants from across the nation, including many from Airdrie and area, will compete for over $100,000 in cash and prizes in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding during the Series Finals.

Local rodeo fans can expect to see cowboys with local connections, including Airdrie’s Klay Whyte, who was leading the tie down roping heeler Canadian standings as of Sept. 10.

Airdrie-based bareback rider Jake Vold also leads the Canadian standings.

Tie-down roper Scot Meeks recently moved to the area from Texas and is second on the national leaderboard.

Carstairs’ Kyle Lucas had a narrow lead on Meeks as of Sept. 10.

“It seems like Airdrie has really had an increase in cowboys in the last couple years,” said Lucas.

“Airdrie would be a great fan base for those cowboys.”

Gates open at 4 p.m. each day with the rodeo performances kicking off at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for $15, while children ages 12 and under get in free.