OLDS — Oldstoberfest, the first and only professionally-sanctioned Bavarian rodeo, is back on in the community after being cancelled for a couple of years due to COVID-19.
This year, it’s scheduled to take place Sept. 16-17 and it will be held at the usual place, the Olds Regional Exhibition (ORE) grounds.
“We’re back at it again. We’re relentless and we are refusing to give up,” Oldstoberfest rodeo coordinator Gillan Grant of C5 Rodeo said during a presentation to town council.
“You’ll experience lederhosen and cowboy hats. Our western heritage is combined with German tradition, giving incoming visitors and the Olds community a chance to celebrate our history in an innovative way. It's unique to anywhere in the world.”
The first Oldstoberfest was held in 2015. But a series of unfortunate events – including COVID – kept it from getting the momentum it needs by occurring annually. C5 Rodeo took over in 2017.
Grant noted 2021 was especially crushing because organizers had to cancel the event less than 48 hours before it was scheduled to take place.
However, Grant is confident it will not only grow, but has the potential to expand, perhaps to three days or more in future years.
She said C5 Rodeo has the knowledge and experience to help make that happen because they supply “world-class rodeo stock and world class competition” to help facilitate rodeos across North America.
“We’re actually having to turn some of the bigger events away, even,” she said.
Grant thanked the Town of Olds, ORE, Olds College and several local business owners for supporting the event.
She said it could get much bigger and draw more people and their money if even more businesses and volunteers got behind it and other activities and attractions occur at the same time that could attract others besides rodeo fans.
Grant noted that in Wyoming, a promotional video for a rodeo event also highlights other attractions, including rock climbing.
"Our goals are to continue to grow the event to its full potential, maximize tourism and increase community activation, all working hand in hand. We want to see this grow as big as it can be,” Grant said.
“In 2019, we had over 400 volunteers documented, invested over $130,000 into the community, with commitments to stay local and we’ve contributed over $50,000 to local non-profits.
“The greatest part of that is over 7,500 people chose to be part of Oldstoberfest – again, breaking record attendance. And I’m confident we might do that again in 2022.”
She noted that over the years, about $90,000 worth of upgrades were done to ORE facilities as a result of Oldstoberfest.
Community services director Doug Wagstaff echoed Grant’s points. He and Grant noted Oldstoberfest has only been able to be held four times since 2015, due to various issues.
“It builds right in to the type of work that (the town’s economic development officer) Sandra Blyth is doing with our community as well,” Wagstaff said.
“So it is a fit, it just does take some time to grow these and it’s had some challenges that really have been outside of the organizers’ control.”