(NOTE: the story this editorial was based on changed after the Gazette’s deadline. You can read the updated version here:
Unconfirmed word last week of the cancellation of the Luxton Pro Rodeo, an integral partner to the spring fair hosted for decades at the Luxton Fairgrounds, came as a surprise to us.
While the rodeo has been targeted in recent years by local animal cruelty groups looking to see certain events removed – calf roping primarily – if not the whole three-day competition cancelled, it has still drawn good crowds of spectators from around the Capital Region and Vancouver Island.
As of press time, the Gazette had still not heard from Luxton rodeo organizers about the cancellation and, if it is true, the reasons for it.
Volunteer-run organizations of all kinds struggle to keep their operations moving forward and providing the same level of community recreation opportunities, while facing challenges that come along.
In the case of the Luxton rodeo, growing public concern over the treatment of animals used during the events has made more headlines of late than the good work done by the multitude of volunteers who make this community event run smoothly, and keep it enjoyable to attend for thousands of visitors.
That is unfortunate, but it also cannot be ignored.
There will always be people on both sides of the issue of the treatment of rodeo stock animals, especially in urban areas such as Greater Victoria. Local committee members for the Luxton Pro Rodeo and fair have been aware of that reality for many years and have dealt with it as best they could.
More recent protest activities, such as calling out business sponsors of the rodeo, imploring Langford council to make change and standing with anti-animal cruelty placards at the gates of the fair, have put increased pressure on local volunteer organizers.
Our hope is that if the rodeo does not go ahead for 2015, that the spring fair and midway continues to be a major part of the region’s Victoria Day weekend lineup of activities, as it has been for so many years.