There’s a song called ‘Rodeo’ performed by Garth Brooks. In it, Brooks sings of a cowboy passionate about the rodeo, intoxicated even. He thinks about leaving, but is unable. He knows the rodeo has its risks, but his love for it is too powerful, and he’s drawn back every time by an irresistible magnetism.
For many cowboys and cowgirls, the rodeo is an old friend they grew up with. And it’s not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle that comes with adventure and a whole lot of sacrifice. There are mud stains, sore muscles, late nights and really early mornings. And it’s worth it – every bruise, every drop of sweat, every last dedicated minute.
If you’ve never had a love affair with the rodeo, then maybe it’s time to start flirting with the idea. It’s the perfect summer fling, after all. If you’ve already been to the rodeo, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.
There’s just something about the rodeo, and not only for the cowboys competing. There’s an intangible magic, an infectious atmosphere. Maybe it’s the smell of livestock that lingers in the air or the plethora of crisp hats and shiny buckles on display. Maybe it’s the barbeque, the excitement, or the undeniable sense of community. For city slickers with zero exposure to country life, it’s like stepping into a storybook.
Surrey’s own storybook-come-to-life is called The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair, and it’s a big deal… in Surrey and elsewhere. Country-lovin’ folk from far and wide flock annually to experience this spectacular tradition.
The Country Fair that’s now synonymous with the Cloverdale Rodeo was first held in 1888. In 1945 the rodeo came to town and seven decades later, the two are still a match made in heaven. In fact, The Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair is arguably to best way to celebrate the May long weekend.
On the Thursday before the long weekend a raucous bed race kicks off the celebrations. Then there’s the parade on the Saturday, not quite as quirky, but just as fun. Eager spectators line the streets as nearly one hundred entrants proceed proudly: clowns, floats, bands, marching units, community organizations and of course… cowboys, cowgirls and horses galore!
Never been to the Cloverdale Rodeo? Stick with us, and we’ll show you the ropes. Below is just a taste of what you’ll find this May Long Weekend, and you can download a map of the grounds and the daily schedule here.
Rodeo Events – Naturally! See the world’s top cowboys and cowgirls compete in classic rough stock rodeo events such as bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding, as well as ladies barrel racing.
Mutton Bustin’ – It’s not just the pros who get to have all the fun. Mutton Bustin’ is an activity that lets kids aged three and up experience what it’s like to be a cowboy or cowgirl. How? By hanging onto a sheep for dear life. It’s fun to do… and fun to watch!
The Bed Race – This well-loved tradition consists of teams of six pushing a bed on wheels with an additional team member riding the bed. Unique prizes are given to the winning male team, female team, and mixed media team. The irony? This event is the least likely to put you to sleep.
World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboard Competition – Professional and amateur skateboarders will have the opportunity to win big, doing what they love. The winner of the competition will walk… or should we say ‘skate’ away with a prize of $17,000.
Indigenous Village – Hosted by the Waceya Metis Society and the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, the Indigenous Village showcases the rich heritage of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Enjoy performances by First Nations artists, shop for unique products and be sure to sample the bannock.
Farm Friendz – Cow-milking demonstrations and a long list of animals to check out, makes Farm Friendz everyone’s favourite attraction.
The Midway – BC’s largest travelling Midway is for adventurous kids and kids at heart. From Friday to Saturday, the Midway is open until 11:00 pm, ensuring you have time to line up for your favourite ride that one last time. With over thirty-five rides that include Vertigo, Zero Gravity, and Super Shot, there’s a ride to thrill every amusement park lover.
Delicious Food – There are plenty of vendors and concessions to satisfy your appetite. And for the meat lovers, there’s also a Rib Fest to sink your teeth into.
Toe-tappin’, Thigh-slappin’ Music – The famous Longhorn Saloon’s live entertainment starts after sundown. Enjoy nightly performances by artists such as George Canyon, Dave Hartney, Tumblin’ Dice and DJ Jack. You can also catch amazing performances on the Outdoor Stage from the likes of The Promised, Six Gun Romeo, Jackson Hollow the Tanner Olsen Band, and many more.
The fun to be had is well worth the price of admission: $12 to get in the gate (0 – 12 are free), and $20 for Rodeo performances (3-12 are $7, 0-2 are free).
Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair
May 19 – 22, 2023