The Okotoks Pro Rodeo is saddling up for its new venue this year.

After being held at the Okotoks Recreation Centre for the past 25 years, the rodeo will be heading outdoors to the Okotoks Agricultural Society Grounds.

Talks had been talking place between the Okotoks Pro Rodeo Association and the Okotoks Agricultural Society for two years about the potential for the move.

Trevor Reidy, marketing director for the rodeo, says the move allows for a greater opportunity to host more spectators.

"If we get 1,200 seats this year it's going to increase our capacity by 30% which for us is big, very big," he says. "If we can get to 1,500 and sell 1,500 seats that will give us about a 60% increase in the seating we currently have so we're really looking forward to having all that space available."

Reidy adds they'd like to move to 1,500 then 3,000 seats as time goes on.

Aside from more room for bleachers, they also have more room in the 300 ft. long arena.

"We're going to shrink it up a bit, make it up a little bit shorter," Reidy says. "It's going to be ideal fro barrel racers because they'll have a large room for their barrel pattern, for steer wrestlers it'll give them a little better opportunity because they have a longer arena, I imagine the team ropers will use a third of the length of the arena and the calf ropers will be using a third to half."

It also means room to set up the back shoots and space behind them better than in the past.

Once the rodeo is moved over to the grounds the plan is for it to stay there as Reidy says they're moving bucking chutes, pens and other panels to the grounds where they'll also be used for other horse and cattle events throughout the year.

The grounds will also host the rodeo's Dance in the Dirt on Aug. 26 where the arena's sand will be packed down for the event. The Magic Rodeo, which gives a taste of rodeo action for children with special needs and their siblings, will be taking place for its third year at the grounds as well.

The Okotoks Pro Rodeo will take place Aug. 25- 27.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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