Virden will be the site of a special Manitoba moment in August 2010. Hosting the Canadian High School Rodeo Finals (CHSRF) on behalf of the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA), the welcome mat will be rolled out to teams of athletes and their families from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario for three days of top-notch rodeo action from August 5 to 7.
The MHSRA is looking forward to working with the community of Virden for a number of reasons, including the fact that the core of the high school rodeo participants and parents live in rural southwestern Manitoba. This year over 30 MHSRA students call this portion of the province home.
Traditional rodeo events of saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing plus pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying and girl’s and boy’s cutting, will be staged outdoors.
“Work is already underway by members of the Virden Agricultural Society and Virden Indoor Rodeo and Wild West Daze committee volunteers in building the new rodeo arena in the fairgrounds,” said Canadian finals host committee chairman, Orville Brown of Lenore. “The outdoor arena will be set up semi-permanently. The only time the fencing will be dismantled is for the Virden Indoor Rodeo.” The Town of Virden is also assisting, and has approved spending to relocate the parimutuel building and judges’ stand nearer to the outdoor arena.
JUNIORS MAY BE ADDED
While it’s a major undertaking in hosting an event of this magnitude, Kelly Lyng, president of the MHSRA, is confident Virden is up to the challenge. Heading up the CHSRF fundraising committee is Kim Brown, who along with other committee members, will be looking further afield for corporate sponsorship. With the Virden Indoor Rodeo and the finals only two weeks apart in the community, local sponsorship becomes an issue. She can be reached at [email protected]if you’re interested in becoming a sponsor.
“If sponsorship permits we would like to add the Wrangler Junior Division (Grades 6 to 8) to the weekend equation,” said Brown. “It would cast a new spin on the Canadian finals, as to date only high school students have been eligible to compete.”
Along with bringing stellar riding and roping action to the forefront, the finals should be good for business as about 400 visitors are expected to converge on the town.
Although the MHSRA, a non-profit organization, has been promoting the sport of rodeo and its values since 1995, 2010 will be the first time the Canadian High School Rodeo Finals have been held in the province.
Graduates of high school rodeo over the years have aided in the growth of other rodeo jurisdictions such as the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Canadian Cowboys Association. Growth for these young, talented male and female athletes may also come through the scholarship program. Rodeo scholarships promote continued education and in conjunction with hitting the books, many competitors have been invited to showcase their outstanding ability in the sport at colleges in Canada and the United States.
Rodeo is more than an athletic event. It’s a show that allows camaraderie to be developed between participants, personal goals to be made and met, and a lifestyle that highlights an impression of the West.
– Darrell Nesbitt of Shoal Lake is the media representative of the MHSRA