Those were the words of rancher Ty Northcott as he kicked off the No More Lockdowns Rodeo near Bowden on Saturday afternoon.
The event was held on a tract of land near town after pressure from the Alberta Health Services and RCMP forced Northcott to move it from the Bowden Agriculture Society grounds.
The organizations had put enormous pressure on Northcott, and anyone associated with the event, to try and force them not to go ahead.
“I don’t care what anyone else is doing for the next couple of days, I’m rodeoing,” Northcott told the Western Standard.
The rodeo started at 1 p.m. It was live-streamed on the Western Standard’s YouTube channel.
It’s set to go again at the same site on Sunday at 1 p.m.
When the announcer mentioned Premier Jason Kenney, a round of boos went up from the crowd of about 1,500.
RCMP officers in unmarked cars could be seen around the property but no action was taken.
In his efforts to keep the AHS and RCMP guessing, Northcot didn’t publicly announce the location until 5 p.m. Friday, but “it’s somewhere close to Bowden.”
“They (AHS and RCMP) have bitten off more than they can chew,” Northcott told the Western Standard.
“We are going to rodeo like it’s 1999!”
Northcott predicts a lot of customers will show up at the gates once they realize the rodeo won’t be stopped.
“We are going to open the eyes of a lot of people to the tyrannical actions of this government.”
Northcott comes from a historic rodeo family and opened up his own livestock ranch in the late ’80s.
But the three Alberta COVID-19 lockdowns have hit his business hard, leaving him with only 50% of his normal stock because the costs of wintering and feeding them depleted his bank account.
“We have to go in the summertime. (The third lockdown) doesn’t cut it for us. We need the time to plan these events and I just decided ‘enough was enough’ if we gotta do it, we’ve gotta do it,” Northcott told the Western Standard’s podcast editor Cory Morgan.
The No More Lockdowns Rodeo and Rally in Bowden will also see several guest speakers throughout the weekend.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $15 for adults, $10 for children 7 through 17 years and under 6 years get in free.
Camp sites are available.
Or they can be purchased at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I hope to see the rest of the province get off their butts and do something.”
“People need to start standing up for their rights. We have to take our freedom back.”
Northcott said he is also getting calls from all western provinces from people asking him to bring his rodeo to their town to get their own livestock businesses back on track.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard