County looks to step away from rodeo partnership

Ride ending - Prince Edward County has decided it will move on from being a major partner in the County Championship Rodeo after two years. The municipality would promote the event if another party elected to take the lead in bringing rodeo back to town. (Chad Ibbotson/Gazette staff)

Municipal staff says event was not a financial success in 2017, recommends another party take lead



It appears the municipality will no longer play a key role in the County Championship Rodeo.

Committee of the whole supported a motion last week indicating the municipality will no longer be a principal partner in the rodeo. The motion came after council received a report indicating the venture was not financially successful in 2017.

The municipality partnered with the Prince Edward Agricultural Society to present the event in 2016 and 2017 as a pilot project. The event was conceived as a way to showcase the Picton Fairgrounds and attract the agricultural community.

“It was a pilot to see if it could be a self-supporting type of venture,” said engineering, development and works commissioner Robert McAuley. “Over the two years we’ve run it, it’s at best a break even and maybe a loss, so staff’s embedded recommendation is not to continue run it under our authority.”

He said that wouldn’t prevent another party from stepping forward to fill the role. The municipality would continue to market the event and assist the organizers as it would any other event at the site.

The report says the two-day event generated a net profit of $1,677 in 2016. In 2017, the event brought in 2,800 attendees — 1,100 more than in 2016. The report says the rodeo helped boost tourism and the local economy by attracting people from across the region and bringing more than 200 professional rodeo participants and their families to the county for the weekend.

The Picton Elks Club operated a bar service during the event, generating $1,993 by splitting the net profit with the municipality. The Prince Edward Agricultural Society operated a 50/50 draw, bringing in $1,100 for the organization.

Despite the positives, the event resulted in a net loss of $2,688 for the municipality.

The report says the municipality will continue to promote events taking place at the community centre and fairgrounds properties or all types, including agriculture-based events.

Sisters Angela Lammes and Annette McIntosh appeared before the committee to reiterate their opposition to the event and called for the municipality to prevent the events from being held in the county in the future.

“I consider rodeos to be animal abuse,” Lammes said.

The motion will go forward to council for approval on Jan. 23