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Canadian Finals Rodeo returning to Edmonton in 2024

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This ain’t our first rodeo — in fact, the big event is returning to Edmonton next year.

After moving to Red Deer five years ago, the Canadian Finals Rodeo is coming back to Alberta’s capital under a three-year agreement at Rogers Place for 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The announcement was made by Explore Edmonton on Wednesday.

Edmonton has had a long history with the pro rodeo: the CFR started in 1974 and was held at the old Edmonton Gardens and Northlands Coliseum.

Explore Edmonton said many times over the years, the CFR sold out over 15,000 seats at the former arena. It took place in conjunction with Farm Fair International at the adjacent Edmonton Expo Centre, turning central Edmonton into a hub of agricultural activity.

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When the Coliseum closed in 2017 due to Rogers Place opening downtown the year before, the rodeo moved down the QEII to Red Deer while Farm Fair stayed in Edmonton.

At that time, the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) — which runs the downtown arena — said it wouldn’t be putting in a bid to host the rodeo.

OEG said at the time it couldn’t find a model that would to ensure a strong foundation and long-term viability.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi thanked the city, Explore Edmonton, OEG, the province and Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels for working with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association to make a return happen.

“Hosting the Canadian Finals Rodeo is a testament to our city’s vibrant and economic spirit, and we look forward to showcasing the best of Edmonton to visitors from far and wide,” he said in a statement.

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The CFR has been held at Westerner Park since 2018 through next week’s rodeo (Nov. 1-5.), and those in the industry said returning to where the event began is exciting.

“Generations of people have grown up with memories of an annual trip to Edmonton to see the CFR, and now that will continue,” said Canadian Professional Rodeo Association board president Terry Cooke.

“Our athletes are excited to compete at Rogers Place in front of both long-standing and new rodeo fans.”

Explore Edmonton said the projected economic impact of bringing CFR back to Edmonton is more than $30.4 million, supporting more than 5,578 jobs.

The four-day event is expected to draw in an estimated 45,000 spectators, spurring demand for over 12,000 hotel rooms.

“We are excited by the prospect of all those visitors, but also to welcome CFR back,” said Explore Edmonton CEO Traci Bednard.