BOWDEN — A Facebook post apparently written by Ty Northcott, an organizer of the No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally, says he and his wife Gail have pleaded not guilty to a charge of violating the Public Health Act by holding the event in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Northcotts were served with papers to that effect on May 10.
According to an unconfirmed media report, lawyer Dan Harder of the Olds-based firm MHR Law appeared on their behalf by Zoom on May 17. The Facebook post says their next court appearance is scheduled for June 21. That could not be confirmed by press time.
The rodeo rally was held May 1-2 on private property in Red Deer County at the junction of Highway 2A and Twp. Rd. 341.
The stands were packed with lots of spectators. Many others were standing. Practically no one was wearing a face mask.
The organizer, Northcott Rodeo Inc. had not obtained an exemption from AHS in order to stage the event.
At the time, exemptions for outdoor rodeos allowed for up to 10 spectators, with two metres physical distance between households as well as other protocols for organizers and contestants.
A Facebook post under Ty Northcott’s name commented on the matter.
In regard to the June 21 court date, the Facebook post said, “bring it on!”
It described the family as “very strong-willed." It said the family had shed some tears, but out of "frustration and stress, not fear."
The post said the Northcott family has received “death threats, hate mail and a boat load of uneducated ignorance, but when I feel I can educate them out of ignorance I will.
“Some people are living in so much fear. If I could give them any advice it would be to turn off your TV and radio, burn your newspapers before you read them.
“It seems harsh, but that is our reality in this time and day. Main Stream Media today is not the same as what I grew up with.”
It looks like more anti-COVID restriction rallies could be in their future. The post encouraged supporters to help the couple out financially via their Facebook page and specifically to donate to "future Rodeo Rally’s (sic)."
“We are moving forward on some more Rally’s (sic) as I speak,” it added.
“We have a great team that is fighting this fight for us, and you the people.”
The Albertan attempted to reach Northcott and Harder by phone but those calls weren’t returned by press time.