By Cheryl Rhodes
Every year on the long weekend in May, Cloverdale – a community in the City of Surrey -features the Cloverdale Rodeo and the town overflows with cowboys and cowgirls, their admirers, and other visitors from all over North America. Anyone within 2 km of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds can hear ear-splitting music pounding from enormous speakers, the screams of thrill seekers on the midway rides, and constant announcements blaring from the public address systems. Follow the music and laughter to a fun-filled weekend!
The crazy Cloverdale bed races kick off the rodeo weekend on Thursday May 16. You won’t be getting a good night’s sleep on one of these beds. The metal contraptions look more like overgrown wagons with bicycle sized tires rather than something you’d find in a bedroom. There are different categories for teams (men’s, women’s, media, businesses) consisting of runners and one person riding on the bed. Depending on how many teams sign up, there will be several heats until a winner of the coveted bed pan or chamber pot trophy is announced. Free to watch, head down to 176A Street and 58th Avenue by 6pm to join in the fun.
Do you love chili? Do you love free chili? Then the place to be on Friday, May 17 is Cloverdale Square Village Mall on the corner of Highway 10 and 177B Street, where the great chili cook-off is in full steam. Cooks – amateurs and professionals – cook up their best chili and serve free samples in small paper cups (with plastic spoons) to all hungry visitors that show up between 4:30 and about 6:30. Some chili cook off teams give out other freebies such as crackers, tortilla chips, cookies, pop, and water hoping these extras ensure they’ll be a crowd favourite. Tasters are given a voting card to vote for their favourite chili and prizes are awarded to voters and contestants. Entertainers perform on stage, including a junior talent show where youngsters belt out their favourite songs.
Everyone loves a parade and on Saturday morning at 10:00am the Cloverdale rodeo parade gets underway. The parade takes place on the main street of Cloverdale on 176th street between Highway 10 and 58A Avenue, at which point the parade turns back towards the fairgrounds. The parade lasts an hour or so, enchanting the crowd with gaily decorated floats, horses, marching bands, local community groups, and businesses.
General Manager Mike MacSorley says the Cloverdale Rodeo is unique because it’s the only rodeo experience in the Lower Mainland. Admission to the fairgrounds is $12, or you can purchase a rodeo ticket for $32 which includes admission to the fairgrounds. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. As part of the draw to make the Cloverdale Rodeo a fun, family experience, MacSorley says this is the first time they are offering free admission for children under12 for both rodeo and fairgrounds admission.
The rodeo features bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, and barrel racing. The country fair has amusement park rides, carnival games, livestock displays, vendors, singers, and other entertainers. Parking on the fairgrounds is $10. There is free parking around Cloverdale on the residential streets. If you’re parking in the downtown area of Cloverdale, keep an eye on the signs – 2 hours max. Bylaw officers are out in full force around Cloverdale this weekend, mostly catching people who’ve blocked fire hydrants, parked to close to stop signs, parked in no parking zones, and other parking violations.
Release your inner cowperson and come join the fun in Cloverdale this Victoria Day weekend at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, on the corner of 60th Avenue and 176th Street. For more information, visit the Cloverdale Rodeo’s website http://www.cloverdalerodeo.com/
Published: May 11, 2013
Cheryl Rhodes writes from Surrey, British Columbia where she lives with two dogs and three horses. She’s the author of 5 novels and a cookbook, and enjoys traveling, photography, swimming, geocaching, reading, and writing mysteries. Visit her at www.cherylrhodes.com