Story by Piper Whelan
Professional rodeo will return to Olds, Alberta, this fall, and it’s arriving with a cultural twist. The first Oldstoberfest, a celebration combining the tradition of rodeo with Bavarian culture, will be held Sept. 18-20 in Olds. The highlights of this event are a Pro Rodeo Canada-sanctioned rodeo at the Olds Regional Exhibition Grounds and a Bavarian-themed beer gardens in the Olds Cow Palace.
“Oldstoberfest is the first event of its kind, and unique to anywhere else in the world. Combining our western prairie heritage with German tradition gives an opportunity for incoming visitors to our community to celebrate our history in a new and innovative way,” said Gillian Shields, general manager for Oldstoberfest, at a press conference in June.
The event will feature rodeo performances on Friday and Saturday. The beer gardens will be fashioned after the German-inspired theme, and there will be two evening grandstand concerts after the rodeo. The weekend will also feature a variety of community activities, including an open house at Olds College to spotlight a number of their programs.
“The idea behind the Oldstoberfest rodeo is unique, innovative and a perfect example of what Pro Rodeo Canada is striving to accomplish moving forward,” said Dan Eddy, general manager of Pro Rodeo Canada. “The Oldstoberfest team is thinking outside the box in their efforts to change the face of Canadian rodeo, build on its excitement and bring it to new audiences.”
Olds formerly played host to a pro rodeo during the now-defunct Olds Fair & Rodeo. Last year, Olds hosted a small Octoberfest celebration at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites, one of the partners of this new event. With these two types of community events meeting to create a larger and more inventive celebration, it is hoped this will become an annual event.
The organizers are projecting 8,000-12,000 visitors for “the world’s first Bavarian rodeo,” and they are sure this creative spin on rodeo will become a must-see event. “We want to raise the standard of rodeo, increase community engagement and maximize economic impact for the Town of Olds and Mountain View County,” said Shields.
Correction: an earlier version of this story stated there was a rodeo performance on the Sunday night. The performances are actually on the Friday and Saturday of the event.