Cowboys still looking for new Canadian Finals Rodeo deal with Edmonton

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association apparently hasn’t heard the one about beating a dead horse.

Sources confirmed that CPRA general manager Dan Eddy contacted Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson earlier this week, hoping to get the OEG’s original offer to host the Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2017 and beyond back on the table. The CPRA rejected that offer March 1 and the City of Edmonton declined to submit a new bid by the May 5 deadline.

Two sources said Eddy’s request was denied by Nicholson, who had made it clear publicly that the rejected offer was the last his organization would make.

Nicholson would not divulge many details of his conversation.

“I had a discussion with the CPRA, some board members and Dan,” Nicholson said Wednesday. “I told them we’re in discussions with another group (Professional Bull Riders) and there is really no need for us to have discussions at this time.

“But we’re not closing the door on rodeo.”

The CPRA would not specifically address the conversation between Eddy and Nicholson.

“We are still in discussions with all opportunities before us and bound by negotiation confidentiality, but I can tell you that the door has always been open for dialogue with all interested parties,” CPRA director of marketing Katy Lucas said in an email.

The OEG is focused on developing its new partnership with IMG, which owns PBR. Beginning in 2017, a PBR event will be at the centre of a 10-day western lifestyle festival in Edmonton, to be held in early November in support of Farmfair International, an agricultural trade show and sale at Northlands.

OEG officials are heading to Las Vegas this weekend to observe how the PBR event there is incorporated into Helldorado Days, a western-themed festival that includes entertainment, a parade, food fairs and a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo.

Could the OEG incorporate a CPRA rodeo into its festival?

“Too premature. We’re not closing the door on rodeo, but our focus is on the PBR,” said Nicholson.