Cowboys and rodeo fans are getting ready to make the trip to Lea Park this year for the 63rd Lea Park Rodeo which will run June 9 to 11 that takes place every year on a rodeo grounds steeped in the history and tradition dating back to the late 1920’s.
The rodeo’s long history is one that has become a family tradition passed down through the generations. Some say that it is this feeling of family tradition that takes over the park every year.
“We are expecting 10,000 people to pass through the gates over the weekend. This year we will have new events including wild horse racing all three days as well as miniature bareback and saddle bronc riding,” said Lloyd Gray, Lea Park Rodeo President.
Many top names in bull riding, bronco-busting, tie-down roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, ladies barrel racing and team roping will travel to Lea Park on June 10, lured to compete and win the big prize money or qualify for Calgary Stampede.
Lea Park Bull Riders
This bull rider tries hard to hang on competing to qualify at the 2016 Lea Park Rodeo.
Photos Marie Conboy
“The sponsorship is pretty steady this year, it has been better than we anticipated but you have to prepare for the worst. There will be some Americans hitting the road up here. Rodeo fans on holidays travel from all over to pull in here and camp. I have never counted up the camper vans, but the park is full every year,” said Gray.
Since 2010, the CPRA has recognized Lea Park Rodeo at the Canadian Finals Rodeo Awards ceremony in the following categories; voted the Most Improved Grounds in 2013,
grounds of the year in CPRA and runner-up for Medium Committee of the year in 2011.
Medium Rodeo Committee of the Year and Medium Rodeo Ground of the Year in 2010.
The beer gardens will open Friday night with a dance at the Lea Park grounds. There will be a pancake breakfast at the Marwayne Arena on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. On Saturday night there will be a bus shuttle available to and from the grounds at Lea Park and to the Rodeo Dance at the Marwayne Arena. Buses will be leaving Walmart in Lloydminster at 8:30 p.m. for a cost of $20 (round trip). DJ - Robin Garnier will provide the entertainment during the dance and doors open at 9 p.m., admittance is $15 at the door, only aged 18+ (no minors).
A Cowboy Church Service will take place on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at in the Lea Park Rodeo Grounds on June 11.