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Rainmaker Rodeo ready to make hay

Smaller musical lineup features St. Albert's Tupelo Honey

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 06:00 am

Country musician Aaron Pritchett is among the musical acts set to play the Rainmaker Rodeo which runs in St. Albert from May 27 to 29.
Country musician Aaron Pritchett is among the musical acts set to play the Rainmaker Rodeo which runs in St. Albert from May 27 to 29.
Supplied photo

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The 2011 Rainmaker Rodeo is alive and kicking.

Rolling into town on May 27 to 29, the 47th annual semi-professional rodeo hosted by the St. Albert Kinsmen features a variety of thrilling events such as bull riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and ladies’ barrel racing.

And this year Dave Poulsen, an ex-rodeo rider and 25-year commentator at the Calgary Stampede, is announcing the events at the Kinsmen Korral.

“To have someone of Dave’s calibre and ability — certainly to have someone of his track record will put some excitement into the rodeo,” says Rainmaker Rodeo chair Jim Oscroft.

Also returning is the bright midway, the fast-paced Dynamo Dogs and Bert the Coppertown Clown accompanied by his furry, four-legged muttley crew.

Last year’s weekend of rock and country open-air concerts with Buckcherry and Dwight Yoakam were wiped out by heavy rain and snowstorms. In the past 12 months, Kinsmen have restructured their concert vision.

Modest musical lineup

They have teamed up once again with producer Troy Dezwart of Edmonton Event Centre and on Wednesday announced a slightly more modest lineup.

“We scaled it down to four acts a night and they’ll be playing longer sets.”

Friday night is slated as the rock portion starring Default, St. Albert’s Tupelo Honey, Calgary’s up and coming band Starewell, and Edmonton’s Carson Cole Band.

Dan Davidson, Tupelo Honey’s lead singer, caught a lot of Rainmaker concerts in past years — Doctor Hook, Vanilla Ice and Trooper to name a few.

“I’m super excited to play and we’re gonna have good weather. It’s not going to be a snowmaker. We’ve been wanting to do an outside show and what better place to play than in your backyard?”

Cowboys and cowgirls flocking down to Riel Park on Saturday night can enjoy another round of the Carson Cole Band along with the harmonies of Six West, the honky tonk sounds of Charlie Major and rodeo bad boy Aaron Pritchett.

“His songs talk about the things we all want to say. I love that line in a song ‘hold my beer while I kiss your girl,’” laughs Oscroft.

To boost the rodeo’s success, the Kinsmen have taken the weather out of the equation and rented a tent. “If weather permits we can rip the sides off and people can walk around comfortably.”

The tent will also serve as a beer garden, a throwback to the rodeo’s early days when anyone raising a glass would stop at the now defunct Ducky Dome on Perron Street.

“As a celebration of the 150th anniversary, we hope people look back and say, ‘I remember.’”

Oscroft estimates production costs for the tent, stage, sound equipment, lighting and technicians will run to about $75,000. “As you can see, we have to sell a lot of tickets.”

However, he is confident the community and the many rodeo fans from across the province that travel to St. Albert for the weekend will come through.

Concert tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, May 17. Call 780-451-8000 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.


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