Skip to main content
AgricultureFeaturedLocalNewsSports

Lea Park Rodeo celebrates 67 years

By June 16, 2022No Comments
The Lea Park Rodeo celebrated 67 years of tradition this past weekend with 435 contestants competing in the three-day event. Photos by Taylor Weaver/Meridian Source

 

For residents of the Marwayne community, the Lea Park Rodeo is more than a rodeo, it’s a homecoming; a homecoming that just celebrated 67 years of action-packed greatness last weekend.

Those were the words of Rick Hozack, long-time treasurer and facilitator of all events at the rodeo, who sat down with the Meridian Source on Saturday afternoon to talk about the history and excitement of the three-day event. 

“It’s been 67 years total, and if we hadn’t cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, which we had no choice over, it would have been 68 years,” said Hozack, who’s been involved with the rodeo for 43 years. 

“This rodeo was on previously in the early ‘20s and ‘30s, but consecutively, it’s been 67 years.”

After having to take 2020 off due to COVID restrictions, Hozack said it felt great to get back at it last year as the rodeo holds a special place in the hearts of local residents.

“The rodeo isn’t just about rodeo. This is a homecoming for the Marwayne community,” he said. “Elk Point comes, Cold Lake comes, the Meadow Lake community comes, Lloydminster comes, Vermilion comes.

“For our area, it feels really good to put an event on where people can come and forget about their issues; just come and visit with your neighbour and enjoy it. It’s an affordable event, we don’t overcharge, so it’s gratifying that way.”

 

 

Hozack is living proof of the impact this homecoming has on the community and the important aspect family plays in it. 

“The family aspect out here is huge,” he said. “There are grandpas here who came when they were kids, and that’s me, I started coming here as a kid and now my family is carrying on that tradition. My kids and nephews are here, even my granddaughter is here. She started helping out here when she was 6 years old running score cards and now she’s 15 years old.”

“For my family and many other families in the area, this is the homecoming event. You come to it and you always plan ahead for it.”

With all of the sights and sounds throughout the grounds of the Lea Park Rodeo, it’s easy to see why families and spectators continue to return year after year.

“As far as rodeo, well, we love rodeo, or else we wouldn’t have been doing this for this long, and it feels really good to put on an event like this,” said Hozack. “I was just told by someone, ‘When you come to Lea Park you feel like you’re at a pro event.’ Not all rodeos feel like a pro event.”

Of course, no Lea Park Rodeo would be complete without a display from the Lea Park Rodeo Drill Team, a highly sought-after role for young female riders.

“Riding on that team carries a lot of history,” said Hozack. “We have grandmas who have passed away but used to ride on the drill team, and now their ancestors who are little kids in the community, they look to the day they can become a Lea Park rider, and it’s gratifying to see that.

“In today’s world, they’re not sitting in front of a computer, they’re out riding a horse.”

This year’s rodeo saw 435 contestants competing over the three days at Lea Park, and on top of that, Hozack noted the economic impact is always huge.

“It’s arguably around a couple million dollars,” he said. “To be able to host an event like this where everyone’s having a great time and we’re bringing some money into the community, it’s pretty cool.”