Although it’s less than two months since the Ashcroft Rodeo was cancelled, time is running out for plans to keep the rodeo alive in Ashcroft according to association members.
Ashcroft Council held a special closed meeting on July 29 with Rodeo Association executive. Everyone else was turned away.
“The Village still has some irons in the fire, but we are definitely looking elsewhere,” said association spokesperson Heather Philpott. “The time element is getting very short and we need to put fenceposts in before freeze up.”
“It’s not a dead fish in the water yet but it’s on it’s last gasp,” she added.
After many years of holding rodeos on the grounds north of Ashcroft, the property owners, the Porter family of Desert Hills Ranch, told the rodeo association they could no longer hold the rodeo on their property out of insurance concerns.
The association approached the Village, asking to use municipal property on the Mesa. The Village held a public information meeting but has not responded to the request.
In all fairness to the Village, said Philpott, there is a shortage of space.
Mayor Jack Jeyes said the holdup is the property that was set aside for a new school years ago.
He said once the Village finds out whether the school board is willing to release the land and what the constraints are that go with it, the matter has to go to Education Ministry for approval and then to Crown Lands for release to the Village.
“I think the Association understands how we have been working on their behalf,” said Jeyes. “It’s not going to be a fast process.”
Philpott said the insurance scare is hurting the community. The rodeo weekend is a benefit to many of Ashcroft’s businesses who depend on that annual income – the drugstore, the grocery store, the liquor store, the hardware store and Ashcroft Work Wear.
She said Vernon asked the BCRA for the Father’s Day weekend slot this year and got it, but they couldn’t get the sponsorship needed to put on a rodeo. If the matter isn’t settled soon, she said, others will be given the slot.
Philpott said all of the association’s members want the rodeo to stay in Ashcroft, but if there’s no land, they’ll look elsewhere.