Trent Tupper of Oliver hits the dirt after the bull he was riding, Vincent Vega, knocked him off at the 2019 Keremeos Elks Rodeo. The rodeo will not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19. (Mark Brett - Black Press Media file)

Trent Tupper of Oliver hits the dirt after the bull he was riding, Vincent Vega, knocked him off at the 2019 Keremeos Elks Rodeo. The rodeo will not take place in 2020 due to COVID-19. (Mark Brett - Black Press Media file)

COVID-19 leads to cancellation of Keremeos Elks Rodeo

The rodeo, which attracts thousands, will not take place for the first time in its 82 year history

For the first time in 82 years the Keremeos Elks Rodeo will not be held.

Event organizers made the decision in early April to cancel what is known as the community’s largest event due to COVID-19. The rodeo will not be re-scheduled this year. Organizers say they are now looking forward to the 2021 rodeo.

READ MORE: Down home flavour to this weekend’s Okanagan rodeo

Keremeos Elks Rodeo chairman, Dave Barker said he and other organizers consulted with the federal and provincial government before making the difficult decision to cancel.

“It was very disappointing but to continue planning it was not smart with the way things are,” said Barker.

Previously, the rodeo had only been re-scheduled once in its 81-year-history due to rain. It was later held in June.

Traditionally held on May long weekend, the rodeo attracts contestants from all over B.C., Washington and Alberta as well as thousand of spectators.

Barker has been involved with the rodeo on and off for over 20 years. He said this is a huge loss for the Keremeos community. “We’re just planning on 2021 right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that come in every year. It’s become kind of reunion for locals who come home that weekend.”

The rodeo is funded largely by sponsors who will be refunded for their contributions this year.

READ MORE: Penticton Peach Festival cancelled due to COVID-19

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