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Int'l rodeo competitors need proof of vaccination: Stampede

Last Updated Jun 17, 2021 at 7:34 pm MDT

CALGARY – Travellers crossing the border to compete or perform in the Stampede will need to be vaccinated–and have proof.

The update comes a week after the federal government gave international competitors and performers the green light to cross the border for the Stampede.

The Stampede says there are a number of protocols in place for people coming from abroad for the rodeo.

“The competitors who will be crossing the border as part of the modified quarantine and testing plan approved by the federal government,” reads a statement from the Stampede.

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“As part of that, all rodeo contestants who will be coming across the border will be required to provide proof of vaccination.”

“It’s about providing the safest possible conditions for those competitors but also for our community,” said Kristina Barns with the Calgary Stampede

Earlier this week, organizers behind the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth said the annual event can be pulled off safely, with several modifications to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The American-based Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association plans to send its competitors north. Their media director only heard of the news Thursday morning when CityNews reached out for comment.

They say they don’t have one at this time.

The news comes at a time when the concept of vaccine cards and passports are being debated amongst legal and ethical experts.

“This is, I think, a huge tension when we’re thinking about public health, in general, is that often what we’re doing is we’re limiting individual rights in the interest of the greater good,” said Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor specializing in Health and Law Policy at the University of Calgary.

She says legally — the only obligation is to accommodate those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, not those who simply choose not to.

“The Calgary Stampede is an invitational rodeo to individual competitors and then they make a choice,” said Barns. “Whether their choice is because they don’t want to come up because they’re competing at other rodeos, they have family obligations or potentially don’t want to be vaccinated. That’s their choice.”

For more information on Stampede and COVID-19, visit our Stampede page.

-with files from Stefanie Lasuik