Rodeo champion, Scott Schiffner, holding out hope for the CFR in Edmonton

 

Alberta bull-riding champ and 'cowboy's cowboy' is keeping his eye on the prize

By Radio Active, CBC News 

 

Related Stories

A man who was introduced as "the cowboy's cowboy" at at rodeo event last year says he would be sad to see the marquee Canadian Rodeo Finals leave his home province. 

"We put the CFR in a great place, said Scott Schiffner. a two-time CFR bull-riding champion from Strathmore, Alta. "Edmonton has been a great place for it, but if it's not going to fit there in the future, we need to put it in front of the best fans we can find in the world to open the doors to more exposure."

Schiffner is vying for one the 12 bull-riding spots at this year's CFR. but it could be the last chance he has to compete at the event in Edmonton.

This week, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association passed on an offer from the city, the Oilers Entertainment Group and Northlands to renew the contract for another five years, after the current contract expires in 2016. General manager Dan Eddy said prize money and uncertainty over ticket prices were the deal breakers.

Schiffner, is not ready to "jump up and down and say it's going to leave Edmonton," but he said there are financial pressures on the sport that need to be accounted for.

"It looks like a really good deal on paper right now," Schiffner said of the offer that was rejected, "But we have to always look at the future and see if it's the best thing in the end."

Schiffner won CFR bull-riding prizes in 2001 and 2012. He said the first win netted him around $4,000 and the second around $10,000.

Scott Schiffner of Strathmore, Alta., comes off Afro Man during 2006 bull-riding rodeo action at the Calgary Stampede. ((Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press))

"It seems like a big increase," he said, "But over that time period of 11 years, you do the math on inflation and diesel fuel and all that, it wasn't a real big increase. And that was after we signed a new deal with Northlands."

Schiffner said the weight of financial constraints keeps many other rodeo riders out of the professional sport.

"I've always said I'm proud to say I'm a Canadian cowboy and this is what I've done for a living," he said. "But I shouldn't really be proud to say that I'm one of the few guys that's made a living at it"

"It is a little bit disheartening that the purse is a really big part of it."

Schiffner said that if the CFR moves, it will have to go somewhere where it can attract the most fans and the highest number of sponsors.

He wants rodeo to remain a sustainable sport for years to come. 

"We're not all just money hungry. We want to see the sport grow."

Dan Barnes: Calgary interested in rustling up the Canadian Finals Rodeo

DAN BARNES, EDMONTON JOURNAL, EDMONTON JOURNAL  03.02.2016

If the Canadian Finals Rodeo is headed out of Edmonton after this year, it could wind up in Calgary.

A Calgary Sport Tourism Authority official said he will discuss that possibility with Dan Eddy, general manager of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, within the next two days.

“We had no interest in having any conversations about it up until today, out of respect for our colleagues in Edmonton,” said Marco De Iaco, executive director of the Calgary Sport Tourism Authority. “Today, in light of this news, we’re open to the discussion. It’s our job to bid for and attract events. We’re certainly interested in it. It’s an event with great history.

“It could bring a lot of benefit to the city.”

It has done exactly that for Edmonton since its debut in 1974. But its home, Rexall Place, is due for change after the Oilers head downtown to Rogers Place in the fall. Northlands wants to renovate the old barn as a hockey tournament venue, which requires an $85-million investment, but might be too pricey for this dreadful economy.

But whatever happens there, the 2017 CFR needs another venue. It looked like Rogers Place would open its doors to cattle and crowds for a good, long time. But on Tuesday, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, or CPRA, called a halt to its lengthy and exclusive negotiations with a consortium of the Oilers Entertainment Group, Northlands and the City of Edmonton. No deal was reached, no further negotiations planned, and no specifics were offered for the breakdown in talks.

But it’s always about money. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said the Edmonton preference was for a five-year term and that the sides were about $500,000 apart. Another report had the sides working on a 10-year deal.

It had also been reported that the Edmonton bid totalled $4.46 million, up from the previous $3.1 million. Bob Nicholson, CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group, said that sounded about right.

So the money was on the table and the cowboys backed away. Is there more in the offing elsewhere?

The CPRA said it will open up bids to “several cities” that are interested in hosting the 2017 CFR.

It’s highly unlikely that Vancouver is among them, given the 2006 bylaw that prohibits tie-down roping and steer wrestling. Modest attendance for a Saskatoon bull riding event would probably eliminate that city, too. Regina is hosting a November rodeo but the purse for the four-day event is $100,000. It seems unlikely they could match the kind of money on offer in Edmonton.

So Calgary might be the only serious option unless Edmonton somehow remains in the game.

“Yes, there is disappointment that the rodeo group has decided not to accept our bid but I can honestly say we went above and beyond in our proposal,” Nicholson said. “This is a great bid and there won’t be a bid coming from OEG that is any stronger than what we have on the table.”

It doesn’t preclude the city from tossing more coin into the mix. City council may well decide that the CFR is worth even more of an investment, given its whopping economic impact on Edmonton. But it’s not that simple.

The rodeo association will keep bids open for two months, and by then, OEG interest in the event will have cooled significantly. They put in a ton of work and already believe they went the extra mile. Their disappointment and frustrated with the rejection, combined with a need to book their venue, will work against a future deal for the rodeo, though Nicholson is leaving the door open, just a crack.

“I really thought that with the city and OEG we put a lot more money than has ever been on the table for the cowboys,” Nicholson said.

“We were starting to take a pretty big risk that we would have to fill this building to guarantee those dollars. We went as far as we could. The city also stepped up and put more dollars into it. There’s always, I guess, greener grass on the other side and they think they can find it somewhere else. I feel very comfortable with the numbers we put in and the opportunity to grow.”

In addition to the financial chasm, the two sides could not agree on an approach to television rights and sponsorship. And that might be what Eddy was referring to in a statement released Wednesday.

“Our focus is doing what is best for those members, fans and sponsors that expect us to pursue the best possible opportunities for the sport they love,” Eddy said.

So the barn door is closing and the horse is wandering around outside. It just hasn’t decided on a direction yet. If it’s due south, De Iaco said a Calgary bid would have to involve input from the Calgary Stampede organization.

Kurt Kadatz, director of community engagement and communications for the Stampede, said they would not object to a November indoor rodeo in their city and would be willing to help. But for now they are in wait-and-see mode.

“We would sure hope an agreeable solution would be worked out. We think Edmonton and the CFR go together like Calgary and the Stampede.”

dbarnes@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jrnlbarnes

Edmonton proposal for CFR rejected by rodeo association

City appears on verge of losing Canadian Finals Rodeo, worth $80M to local economy

By Lydia Neufeld, Rick McConnell, CBC News Posted: Mar 02, 2016 9:26 AM MT Last Updated: Mar 02, 2016 6:51 PM MT

 

 

Related Stories

A final proposal to keep the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton beyond 2016 has been rejected, and organizers are now considering proposals from several cities interested in hosting the event.

But the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association appeared on Wednesday to leave the barn door open to the possibility that the rodeo, one of the city's signature events, may yet remain in its long-time home.

The current contract between the CPRA and Northlands expires at the end of 2016.

The city, Northlands and the Oilers Entertainment Group put an offer on the table to renew that contract before the deadline of March 1.

But that offer was rejected by the CPRA and the deadline has now passed.

"We put our best foot forward and we upped the ante pretty significantly from what's been offered in the past years," said Coun. Michael Oshry, who sits on the Northlands board of directors.

"We really thought that we'd have a deal done, and at this point we're very disappointed that they didn't agree with our offer."

Oshry said he doesn't know why the deal was rejected, but speculated the rodeo association is going to put out a tender to see if other cities might be interested in hosting the event.

The Oilers Entertainment Group said the door is rapidly closing and while the deal is not yet dead, there are no current negotiations.

"The bid that we gave is the best bid we'll come out with, from OEG," said CEO Bob Nicholson.

The CPRA said in a news release Wednesday its original intention was to go through the request for proposal process with several cities that have expressed interest in hosting CFR 2017.

"Out of respect to the coming 43-year history in Edmonton, in October 2015 the CPRA offered OEG and the City of Edmonton a 60-day grace period to submit a new proposal for CFR," the release said.

"That grace period was honoured and then extended, well beyond the 60 days in an attempt to come to a mutual agreement."

In the end, the CPRA board unanimously voted down the Edmonton proposal.

General manager Dan Eddy said prize money and uncertainty over ticket prices were the deal breakers.

"Our cowboys and cowgirls and stock contractors have been locked into an agreement that's been pretty tight and I think it's just time to do what's best for the membership," he said.

The board of directors has authorized the CPRA negotiating committee to pursue other opportunities, he said.

"Request for proposal documents will now be to sent to all cities that have shown interest in hosting the event, including the city of Edmonton."

CFR economic benefits

The rodeo and Farm Fair pump about $80 million a year into the local economy, said Maggie Davison, vice-president of tourism for the Edmonton Economic Development Group.

"That's the larger, fully encompassed economic impact number," she said. "And that would get right down to dollars and cents spent in restaurants, right to the dealership that sells the new truck."

What adds to the financial significance is that the rodeo is an annual event and happens every November, a time of year that can be slower for some businesses, Davison said. 

"We would have to work very, very hard to find an event to replace it," she said. "This was one of the anchor events for us here in Edmonton."

Coun. Ed Gibbons said other cities have tried to steer wrestle the rodeo away from Edmonton for years.

"What's at stake is the fact that it's been ours for so long," he said. "We just have to hope that when it goes out for tender, and every municipality that's going after it lays everything out there, ours comes out on top and we keep it."

The main competition appears to come from Vancouver, Gibbons said.

The CFR has been held in Edmonton since 1974.

Calgary ponders Canadian Finals Rodeo bid as Edmonton proposal rejected

Alberta capital has hosted CFR since 1974 

CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2016 1:16 PM MT Last Updated: Mar 03, 2016 5:55 PM MT

A final proposal to keep the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton beyond 2016 has been rejected, and organizers are now considering proposals from other cities, possibly including Calgary. (Canadian Press) 

Related Stories

Calgary might try to lasso the country's largest indoor rodeo event if it gets yanked from long-time host city Edmonton.

 

The Calgary Sport Tourism Authority is meeting on Thursday with officials from the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), which runs the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR).

 

"If it were to leave Edmonton, in my opinion, it would make the most sense for it to remain in the province of Alberta," said Marco De Iaco, executive director of the Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, which is mandated "to provide advice, due diligence and strategic direction in attracting major sport event opportunities to Calgary," it says on its website.

"We think there's some potential to bring some positive benefits to the city at a time when we need it."

Earlier this week, the CPRA and the Oilers Entertainment Group failed to agree on a new contract to keep the event in Edmonton, where it has taken place every November since 1974.

The CPRA is now considering taking bids from other cities.

The rodeo, and the associated Farm Fair, brings an estimated $80 million per year to Edmonton's economy, according to the Edmonton Economic Development Group.

A man who was introduced as "the cowboy's cowboy" at a rodeo event last year says he would be sad to see the marquee Canadian Finals Rodeo leave his home province.

 

"We put the CFR in a great place", said Scott Schiffner, a two-time CFR bull-riding champion from Strathmore, Alta.

Scott Schiffner of Strathmore, Alta., comes off Afro Man during 2006 bull-riding rodeo action at the Calgary Stampede. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

 

"Edmonton has been a great place for it, but if it's not going to fit there in the future, we need to put it in front of the best fans we can find in the world to open the doors to more exposure."

 

Schiffner, is not ready to "jump up and down and say it's going to leave Edmonton," but he said there are financial pressures on the sport that need to be accounted for.

 

"It looks like a really good deal on paper right now," Schiffner said of the offer that was rejected, "but we have to always look at the future and see if it's the best thing in the end."

 

Meanwhile, De Iaco says his organization is very interested in exploring the opportunity of landing the event.

But so far the idea is only entering the discussion stage, he said.

"We're nowhere near submitting a bid. Nor have we actually made a decision to submit a bid."

De Iaco says any proposal to host CFR will be put together with the involvement of the Calgary Stampede.

"It's worth investigating simply from a synergy standpoint," he said.

"I would argue that Calgary already is the rodeo capital of the country, but we could certainly add to that moniker."