A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo rally was not in Bowden, says town mayor

RCMP investigate pop-up freedom rally in Red Deer

Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart spent the last few days correcting the misconception that the No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally was held in his town.

“Across Canada, people know Bowden again. Hopefully we’re on the mend,” Stuart said.

Northcott Rodeo Inc. held the event last weekend on private property outside of town after Bowden & District Agricultural Society said the rodeo was no longer welcome on its grounds.

Alberta Health Services was working with the RCMP and local bylaw officials investigating the rodeo. Fans were not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but about 2,000 people attended the event.

In a statement earlier this week, both the Town of Bowden and Bowden & District Agricultural Society, said they did not endorse or have any involvement in the rodeo.

Related:

NDP calls on province to put a stop to prohibited rallies

Stuart said he received a few nasty emails, but also quite a bit of support, along with plenty of media requests.

“I’ve done more interviews in the last five days than I did in my entire previous 17 years as a councillor or elected official,” he added with a laugh.

He said a few anti-mask rallies have been held in other nearby towns, but there were none so far in Bowden, and businesses have been enforcing, or trying to enforce, the mask rule.

“Most people have been very compliant. Bowden has been very good,” Stuart said.

Related:

Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Anti-lockdown protesters have gathered in Red Deer as well this week. On Wednesday afternoon, at the intersection of 55 St. and 30 Ave., a group of about 15 people gathered without masks and waived signs at passing motorists for a couple of hours.

Insp. Holly Glassford, operations officer with Red Deer RCMP, said police responded to the ‘pop-up counter restrictions freedom rally’ after receiving a call from the public.

The investigation was still open, and no tickets have been issued.

“As the RCMP, we will continue to support AHS public health authorities in all of their investigations as needed and as required,” Glassford said.

She said criminal intelligence analysts do monitor public rallies and any events scheduled on social media for risk management and as part of the evidence gathering process.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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