Canadian cattle penning finals go ahead with tight health restrictions
CALGARY -- The 2020 National Finals for the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association (CTCPA) went ahead as scheduled at the Nutrien Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary this weekend.
About 900 teams which are made up of 250 people from across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are vying for a national belt buckle.
But this year, a cap on crowds to watch the performances, have shifted most of the viewership to turn to livestreams of the competition.
“We’ve been encouraging people to be only in the stands to watch if the building is not crowded,” said chair of the CTCPA, Ray Antony.
The event which typically brings in American competitors, but they were forced to stay home this year due to border closure. Online is the only way U.S. fans will be able to watch too.
“People can sit in their trailers, they can be in the barn or be at home and they can watch their families run livestreamed, rather than be physically here,” said Antony.
The Calgary Stampede says it has enhanced all health protocols, and procedures since the start of COVID-19 in March.
Additional cleaning, the use of masks and physical distancing guidelines are in place at all the grounds facilities.
“This is not something that we're doing off of the corner of our desk,” said Greg Newton, general manager of the BMO Centre.
“This is our primary focus. We feel that the safety of people attending these events is the paramount concern for us, we want to bring that safety and comfort and we feel that we can deliver on that.”
This is one of the first equine events held at the grounds, since the pandemic began.
Those who choose to tune in online, can watch the best compete in penning, where teams of three each ride their own horse, trying to corral three of the same numbered cattle into a pen.
“Find the three number two’s, take them to the other end and it’s timed,” said Antony.
“There’s a line across the middle of the arena, if any of the other 27 numbers cross that line, the team ends up with a zero time.”
The event will wrap up on Monday with the finals of the competition.