CLOVERDALE – The Oklahoma-based Express Clydesdales make a rare visit to Canada this week.
The team of powerful draft horses is a featured attraction at Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair, which runs from May 16 to 19.
The horses have travelled the continent to appear at special events, including Calgary Stampede, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the Tournament of Roses parade.
“They’re impressive to watch in action,” said Terry Stewart, who has long worked to bring the team to Cloverdale’s big event.
Stewart is the local franchisee of Express Employment Professionals, the team’s title sponsor.
“They don’t often come to Canada because you can imagine what it takes to get the team across the border,” Stewart said.
Each horse stands 18 hands high and weighs around a ton, which gives them the strength to pull the 3,000-pound custom wagon that carries the team’s drivers.
Three years ago in Calgary, the Express Clydesdales wagon carried the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) during a Stampede-kickoff event.
In Cloverdale this weekend, the six-horse
team will appear in each of the five rodeo performances and also in the rodeo parade, on Saturday morning (May 17). On Friday (May 16) starting at 4:30 p.m., the horses will pose for photos during the rodeo’s Chili Cookoff event, at Clover Square Village, at Highway 10 and 177B Street.
This marks the 68th annual edition of Cloverdale rodeo and the 126th country fair, held every May Day long weekend.
At the rodeo, the world’s top-ranked cowboys and cowgirls will compete for a total of $328,000 in cash prizes in four main events – saddle bronc, bull riding, bareback and ladies barrel racing. Meanwhile, Cloverdale’s youngest riders will have their chance to shine in Mutton Bustin’ action during all five rodeo performances.
The country fair will feature B.C.’s largest travelling midway, a classic car show, lumberjack action, a barbecue competition and more.
Also, the third annual World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboard Competition will feature some head-turning moves from Friday to Monday. The action will include demos and competitions focused on highly technical tricks performed on a concrete floor using a “battle” format, in which skateboarders compete as a group.
“Over the past two years, the World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboard Competition has proven to be a huge success with both skateboard fans and guests of the Cloverdale Rodeo,” stated Monty Little, event organizer. “We are very excited to be returning for a third year and thrilled to bring some of the best freestyle talent from across the globe to Cloverdale. Skateboard fans really have something to
look forward to.”
Elsewhere, the Longhorn Saloon will rock nightly to the sounds of Dr. Strangelove and also Peter Ettinger & Big 50. The fair’s outdoor stage will feature the likes of the Pop Junkies, Stiletto, Ray Gibson, March Hare, Whiskey Jane and other bands all weekend, along with the BC Junior Talent Search finals, on Monday.
For ticket information and schedule of events, visit cloverdalerodeo.com.