The Canadian Finals Rodeo will no longer ride into Saskatoon after an agreement to bring the event to SaskTel Centre next year suddenly fell through.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association began shopping for a new venue for the event after failing to reach a new deal with the City of Edmonton, where the rodeo has been held for the last 42 years.
In July, SaskTel Centre confirmed they had signed a memorandum of understanding with the CPRA to bring the event to Saskatoon for three years, starting in 2017.
That’s now changed, however, and a news conference Wednesday morning in Edmonton is expected to announce the event is staying put in that city.
The move was a big disappointment to Todd Brandt, CEO of Tourism Saskatoon.
“You know when people sit down around a table and negotiate a memorandum of agreement to move the event here and then have them go about, negotiating after the fact, with other entities, it was certainly a surprise,” Brandt said.
Brandt said months of work had been put in behind the scenes to get the rodeo to Saskatoon.
“The fact that you have board members that reduced this to saying ‘Saskatoon was only offering a simple rental agreement is inaccurate. But it did tell me that they were certainly ignorant to the proposal that was negotiated,” Brandt said. “There was a much more complex business plan we put together and I won’t let it be reduced to it was simply a rental deal of SaskTel Centre.”