The worst-kept secret in Langford was confirmed Sunday when the head volunteers with the Luxton Pro Rodeo issued a joint statement saying the annual event has been cancelled.
The good news is that the annual fair, featuring the midway, Saturday night country dance, heritage displays and antique farm equipment and other activities will continue this year.
“Due to increasing costs, many due to living on an Island; the Luxton Pro-Rodeo Committee has decided the Luxton Pro-Rodeo Event is no longer economically viable,” wrote rodeo managers Sandy West and Charlie Price. “In order to continue to operate, there would have to be a substantial gate fee increase. We do not wish to put this burden on the public.”
Last year’s admission price for adults was $20, with children 14 and under admitted free with an adult. Seniors and students up to 18 paid $15 per ticket.
Langford mayor Stew Young said he started coming to the Luxton Rodeo as a kid growing up in Langford. He hopes this doesn’t hurt the fair and that the other agricultural aspects of the events continue. The Rodeo had been running for 39 years.
“It is unfortunate they have shut down the rodeo, it will be a bit of a void for Vancouver Island for sure. It is not just a Langford thing, it is a draw for everyone really,” he said. “I hope the death of the rodeo doesn’t kill the rest of the society out there. We will probably have a meeting with them and see how we can help them continue on.”
Like many rodeos these days, the Luxton Pro Rodeo was plagued in recent years by complaints about cruel treatment of rodeo stock, from both the B.C. SPCA and humane society groups including Victoria Citizens Against Rodeo Events (VCARE).
VCARE spokesperson Melissa de Muelles, who joined fellow members on a protest line at the fair entrance on Luxton Road last year, was pleased to hear of her hometown rodeo’s demise.
“It doesn’t matter why it’s cancelled, it’s a good thing,” she said. “We’re just glad to see it’s one less stop that rodeo animals will have to make.”
– with files from Arnold Lim