High School Rodeo returns to RRRR Arena this weekend

Daily Herald File Photo Chase McNulty of Delisle competes in the senior bareback riding event during last year’s Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association event at the Red River Roping and Riding Arena.

After a long wait through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association will return to action this weekend with a two-day competition at the Red River Roping and Riding Arena.

“We’ve been preparing the arena and the ground for the last two weeks and we’re all pretty excited, especially with this being the first rodeo of the high school season,” RRRR Arena barn director and event chair Larry Henry said.  “Some of the rough stock was going to arrive late in the day on Thursday and we are expecting the first competitors to arrive then as well.

“We’re expecting this to be some of the best competition you’ll see anywhere. This is the second year that we’ve hosted the event over Labour Day weekend and I think a lot of people that came out last year were impressed with the level of horsemanship and the talent of both the horses and the riders. They aren’t competing for money…they are competing for points to go to the nationals and to earn post-secondary scholarships.”

With 120 competitors set to take part over the course of Saturday and Sunday, the RRRR Arena has put measures in place to make sure that proper COVID-19 protocols are followed.

“With the guidelines that have been put in place from the province and the SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority), we know that the maximum amount of spectators that we can have is 150,” Henry said.

“PPE (personnel protective equipment) is available for individuals and we’ll also have the PPE available around the bucking chutes for everyone who wants to use it. We’ll also be spraying and using disinfectant on all of the equipment that we use. We will be following all of the protocols that we have to in order to make the weekend a safe one.”

This weekend’s competition is the first of four in the province over the next month, as the SHSRA will be holding events in Whitewood, Fort Qu’Appelle and Elbow, provided that the COVID-19 numbers remain at their current level.

“I think there is always jitters and nerves every time you compete, especially when you start a new season,” Henry said.

“This weekend is going to be a lot different than usual because there hasn’t been a full-fledged competition like this since March. There have been a handful of events that have taken place this summer, but in a normal year the competitors that will be here this weekend would have already taken part in 20 to 25 events.”

This weekend’s events will get underway with the junior competition at 9 a.m. and the high school competition taking place at 1 p.m. each day.