Eckville Rodeo weekend promises plenty to do

There will be plenty of things to do outside the arena on rodeo weekend.

While there will be many events taking place in the arena at the 53rd Eckville Community Rodeo on Friday and Saturday, the town will also be bustling with activity during of the days on which the rodeo takes place.

The Rodeo Parade is set to roll down Eckford Street at noon on Saturday, and will feature an assortment of community organizations and dignitaries greeting residents, guests and – of course – the many cowboys and cowgirls competing in this year’s events.

This year’s parade will feature an agricultural theme, noted Mayor Hellen Posti, who is also a member of the Eckville Ag Society, with an agriculturally themed float, and possibly some machines like tractors rolling along in the parade, as well.

Posti said another feature of this year’s rodeo celebration will be the Rodeo Market, something organized by the Eckville Ag Society. The Rodeo Market will be at the curling rink, running from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday. There will be a bouncy castle at the Rodeo Market for kids who get bored while their parents shop.

This weekend, aspiring young cowboys and cowgirls will also have an opportunity to showcase skills, thrills and spills of their own at the Junior Rodeo event.

The Junior Rodeo will take place Sunday at 10 a.m., and will entail events such as barrel, poles, stakes, thread the needle, goat tail tying, goat tying and dummy roping. Both nights, children will be allowed to catch a ride on sheep in the Muttin’ Bustin’ event.

The Friendship Centre will be hosting numerous family-friendly activities over the course of the weekend, with dessert, coffee and face painting, all starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

There are so many cowboys and cowgirls participating in the rodeo that Saturday will also feature rodeo slack at 2 p.m. with free admission, for those who want an extra dose of rodeo excitement.

For those visiting for the rodeo weekend with an appetite there will be no shortage of places you can go to sate your appetite.

The 4-H Club’s pancake breakfast at the Eckville Arena, from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday. Friday evening, there will be a ham and scalloped potatoes buffet hosted by St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church from 4:30-7 p.m. at the Eckville Community Centre. On Saturday evening, there will be a barbecue held from 4-7 p.m. at the Eckville Community Centre.

Posti also suggested guests keep their eyes peeled for food trucks – which may be making an appearance – over the course of the weekend.

Saturday’s festivities will close to the sounds of music, with plenty of people moving their feet at the family cabaret, in the arena lobby.

“Admission [for the cabaret] is included with the rodeo ticket,” said Posti. “We used to hold a really big one at the hall, but it was declining, so we decided to have a family one in front of the arena.”

Posti said this weekend’s festivities will entail “something for everyone.” She noted rodeo weekends in Eckville are always a success because of the tireless work of the many volunteers who help out with every aspect of the weekend.

“This is really a community of volunteers – all the facilities are operated by volunteers and volunteer boards,” said Posti. “That’s why we have that arena – it’s volunteer run. These events are held to offset the costs of running the building. It’s pretty awesome.”

Posti said the best thing about the rodeo weekend is how it brings people from town and the surrounding rural areas together, adding “a lot of volunteers, especially for rodeos, are from our rural population.”