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Updated: 23rd October 2018 12:36

Rodeo's future in Edmonton to be determined by weekend events

The future of Edmonton's two rodeos could include a single expanded rodeo with events planned over two weekends.

There is talk of a 10-day western cultural festival combining the PBR event with CFR

Setup is underway at Rogers Place for the first ever Professional Bull Riders Global Cup, which begins Thursday. (CBC)

The future of Edmonton's two rodeos could include a single expanded rodeo with events planned over two weekends.

But for now, the separate events are going head-to-head.

The 44th Canadian Finals Rodeo is already underway at Northlands Coliseum, and the first ever Professional Bull Riders Global Cup kicks off Thursday at Rogers Place.

Whether one event will take bums out of the seats of the other, has yet to be determined, said Jeff Robson, with the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

"The test will be how the turnout is at either event and I think that's some of the feedback we're waiting for," said Robson.

"I don't see them as competing," he said. "I think the audiences are much different."

The CFR offers a wide range of events including steer wrestling, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding and bull riding, and is linked to Farmfair International at the Expo Centre.

This weekend will be the last time the Canadian Finals Rodeo will be held at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. (Canadian Press)

The PBR Global Cup will feature only bull riding in what's described by Edmonton Economic Development as a "rock concert environment complete with pulsating music, explosive pyrotechnics, and fast-paced production."

The two events ended up happening in Edmonton at the same time because CFR was supposed to leave Edmonton and PBR was stepping up to fill the void, said PBR president Sean Gleason.

"CFR deciding to come back is certainly concerning in the short term, but in the long term if we can figure out a way to make it work, it's gonna be one of the biggest western sports weekends in the world," said Gleason.

Ideas for the future

There are discussions underway for what rodeo sports in Edmonton might look like in the future, said Tim Shipton, spokesperson for the Oilers Entertainment Group.

"You could call it talks and that's about it. We haven't got down to any of the brass tacks of negotiations but we certainly are talking," said Shipton.

One vision is for the PBR event and CFR to run over a 10-day period on back-to-back weekends as part of a western cultural festival, said Robson. It's an idea he believes could work.

But would holding rodeo events over two weekends be too much for Edmontonians?

"Good question. It's certainly one of the things that's been talked about," said Robson. "If it's going to work, it's going to work here."

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