"Disturbing": Kenney calls anti-lockdown Alberta rodeo "a slap in the face"

May 3 2021, 3:34 pm

A “No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally” was held in Bowden, Alberta, this past weekend, despite numerous warnings from Alberta Health Services.

Even as a new record number of COVID-19 cases was reported on Saturday, a large number of people gathered at the rodeo rally, which took place in a lot off of Highway 2A, just south of Bowden.

Northcott Rodeo first announced the event on Facebook at the end of March, saying “Well, somebody has to do it!”

The “No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally” ran for two days over the weekend, with a concession, guest speakers, and “Cowboy Church” in addition to the rodeo events.

Whose ready for day number 2?
• Cowboy Church starts at 10:30am ⛪️
• Rodeo action starts at 1pm tickets available at…

Posted by Northcott Rodeo Inc. on Sunday, May 2, 2021

Alberta Health Services (AHS) told Daily Hive in an email that they are aware that the rodeo took place, in breach of the province’s current public health orders.

Prior to the event, AHS Legal indicated to the rodeo rally organizers that the event would be illegal if it were to proceed.

AHS inspectors provided both verbal and written information to the organizers of the event, notifying them that current CMOH Orders prohibit businesses or entities from offering or providing exhibitions, sporting events, or sporting and performance competitions at this time.

“It is disappointing that the organizers ignored this information and went ahead with their event, knowing it was a clear breach of the current public health restrictions,” said AHS.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took to Twitter to express his thoughts about those who gathered at the rodeo rally.

Premier Kenney went on to say that not only are gatherings like this a threat to public health, they are “a slap in the face to everybody who is observing the rules to keep themselves and their fellow Albertans safe.”

The premier noted that rodeo is a celebration of Alberta’s heritage, and community spirit, including looking out for others, is a big part of that. He said that organizers and attendees of this event are doing the opposite of that.

AHS told Daily Hive that “it is extremely concerning that people would knowingly put their fellow Albertans at risk by ignoring the restrictions, particularly with increasing cases and the subsequent pressure on our healthcare system.”

Northcott Rodeo said in a Facebook post on Saturday afternoon that records were broken during the rodeo rally. “We had fast times in the barrel racing, retired bull riders pulling the gear out for another 8 second adrenaline ride,” reads the post, “but with the help of all of you we were also the first rodeo in over a year where normality wasn’t even questioned.”

“There was laughter, singing, dancing, [and] smiling faces everywhere you turned. There were families, friends, [and] now acquaintances who shared in a quite possible monumental moment in history,” the post continued.

AHS told Daily Hive that they are considering legal options in regards to the organizers of this event.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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