Get in touch with Alberta’s cowboy culture at the Cochrane Fair

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Cochrane’s cowboy culture will be front and centre during the Cochrane Fair this summer.

From Aug. 18 to 20, the country fair will trot out extreme cowboy competitions but amid all the action, you can enjoy the beer gardens, a traditional midway and even the quirky randomness of a rabbit racing contest.

But what sets this fair apart is getting city folk to connect with the ranching and equestrian heritage of Cochrane and surrounding area.

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It’s sure to remind you of a folksy mini-Stampede with small-town charm, held on the hillside fair grounds, moments from downtown Cochrane. “Our vision and mandate with the Ag Society is to bridge rural and urban, and link to our heritage roots in ranching and equestrian,” said Isabel Gimber, volunteer director for the Cochrane & District Agricultural Society. “It is really, really grassroots.”

The event began five years ago as a way of the society celebrating its 40th birthday. But the event has grown every year, with peak attendance at 15,000 last year. “We want to provide the activities and learning opportunities for everyone and link with our equestrian and ranching roots.”

The equestrian events alone are worth the price of admission. Events include a mini-chuckwagon race, and cowboys showing their horse-riding prowess navigating their way through a tough obstacle course.

The fair is also introducing a bull-riding competition this year, featuring 30 bulls.

When people come to the fair, they are immersed in the rural ranching life, said Gimber. “I think people are very proud of our ranching families around here, with years and years of heritage.”

Yet, there’s something to appeal to every age and personality.

A marketplace features local crafts and beer gardens. Old-fashioned sack races and tug-of- war competitions will appeal to the whole family.

For anyone who want to channel their inner lumberjack, there will be log rolling and poll climbing, and even areas for spectators to try out some of the challenges.

Mark your calendar for this fun event, Aug. 18-20.

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