CALGARY, Alberta — This is the third piece of a series this winter, presented by COWBOY SH*T™️, transitioning out of 2020 and into 2021. It features a number of the key players in western sports in Canada and beyond, looking forward through the Covid-19 pandemic and a hopeful return to normalcy in the coming months.
TED STOVIN: What are the plans for the 2021 Teepee Creek Stampede?
STEVE MEURS: There is so much uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing I know for sure is that the entire Teepee Creek Stampede committee is 100% committed to ensuring there is a 2021 Edition of the Teepee Creek Stampede. We will adhere to all covid protocols in order to keep fans, sponsors, and contestants safe. The Teepee Creek Stampede committee knows this is not going to be an easy task, but we are ready to be flexible and innovative to put on an event that is second to none. Doing the unimaginable is what we are known for and we are excited to lead the way for 2021!
TS: What is in place for a contingency plan if the restrictions remain for the planned event on July 8-11?
SM: I’m not sure if there is enough letters in the alphabet for all the plans we are discussing. We will have to be flexible since it is changing daily with the restrictions.
TS: What effect did no rodeo have on the committee and community in 2020?
SM: Having no rodeo in 2020 was nothing short of devastating for our community – for those young and old. This has been a tradition since 1917 and what so many look forward to each year. We enjoy bringing all ages together and showcasing the generational impact the Stampede has on families and that was truly missed this year.
TS: What changes and plans might we see moving forward in the future?
The Teepee Creek Stampede Association likes to think outside the box. We always like to have something new for our fans to see when they step onto the grounds but you will have to wait and find out what that is for 2021.
TS: The Teepee Creek Stampede has made vast improvements over the past ten years. What do you credit for the success?
SM: A LOT of hard work from many driven and determined individuals that have a connection to this historic event. I’m sure that every rodeo committee feels this way but I truly believe in my heart that the TPSA is the absolute best group of people!!! There are so many talents and interests on our committee and each one brings new ideas that are welcomed, pursued, and respected. We pride ourselves in ensuring our dedicated sponsors are more than just a sponsor and without them we wouldn’t be able to put on the event. And the fans – say no more! The comments, pictures, and stories that people share from our event remind us why we do what we do and the places we see the BAR TP brand always amazes us. It’s such a team effort and everyone is very supportive.
TS: What is the committee structure? Is it completely volunteer run? Are you an ag society? Are there any employees?
SM: The Teepee Creek stampede board and committee is 100% volunteer run. We do not have any paid employees and we are not an ag society. We didn’t hang our heads during covid but instead took advantage of the downtime to reorganize how some things are structured and streamline tasks amongst our volunteers.
TS: Tell us about how the indoor arena came to be and the events in there?
SM: It started as a bit of a dream to be honest, but again there was a small group of very determined volunteers who put in countless hours and gallons of blood sweat and tears to make the dream a reality. Our riding arena is no small facility and has been open since 2016. We have a building of 40,000 square feet of useable space. The riding arena itself is 110’ x 270’ in size with an additional lean-to of 40’ x 270’ for tying horses.
Teepee Creek has a rich western and rural heritage and having the Teepee Creek Lyons Production Services Events Centre, we have continued to build on this, while strengthening partnerships with local groups. It has become the heart of Teepee Creek and nurtures future growth and development in our area. All ages in our community have benefited from this facility – from the youngest child learning to ride to the seasoned competitive rider looking to practice their sport to the grandparent that is proud to have another generation carrying on western traditions.
Teepee Creek paved the way in the area hosting the first PBR of its kind. The second year of hosting PBR set another record for us since it was the first time ever we had to turn people away since the event was sold out! There have also been several local, provincial, and national level events held here that put Teepee Creek on the map.
TS: What are the other features of the arena?
SM: There is a fully operational kitchen in which Lefty’s Café from Bezanson, AB manages and sells food but there is no separate store inside of the building. If you haven’t tried their food, you’re missing out. They even have a ‘Teepee Creek Stampede Burger’ on their restaurant menu!
TS: What has the involvement been from the CPRA through this situation?
SM: I know the CPRA felt the hit of covid just like we did and we have been communicating the entire time to show support for each other and trying to find ways to make this work for 2021.
As of right now they are fully supportive of our 2021 event. As Terry Cooke mentioned in his message, the NFR in Texas brought a sense of optimism and he’s looking forward to working with the committees that are making plans and willing to be flexible which is going to be key for this year.
TS: What do you think would make the sport of rodeo better for you in Teepee Creek?
SM: Our biggest hurdle in professional rodeo in Teepee Creek is geography. With being so far north, it is difficult for some competitors to get to our area. Once they attend once, the word quickly spreads about how we treat our competitors but the challenge is getting them there the first time. We are known for being Professional with a side of crazy fun. Many like to stay to take it all in.
We have been working hard to promote our event in the mainstream world. Social media and our presence on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter has helped this immensely during covid times. We are looking to TV broadcasting channels so I’m optimistic that if we can draw more fans whether it’s in person or watching from the comforts of home we will be able to showcase the sport of rodeo for those near and far and hopefully attract some new competitors to our arena.
TS: What are your thoughts on the sponsorship front for the upcoming year?
We are beyond excited to know that our Sponsorship Packages went out in early November this year and the response was incredible with several commitments! Sponsors missed not having an event last year and they know that if they give dollars to our event, we are not going to disappoint. It’s a challenge we are ready for. For Sponsorship we are going to be flexible and again be willing to be innovative with ideas as to how to make it work for everyone. The 2021 Sponsorship Package is online along with the forms which has really helped with so many working remotely. Like Jake Gardner said in a recent Podcast about covid, “Shoot, we’re cowboys. So you get bucked off, you get back on the horse.” As far as the future goes we will have to wait and see what it holds.
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