Are you thinking about going to Cloverdale Rodeo alone? It may seem like an intimidating prospect, but trust me, if you are in Vancouver there are many reasons to go to the Rodeo & Country Fair alone at least once!
Whether it would be your first rodeo or you’ve already been bitten by the rodeo bug, it can be thrilling and empowering to go to big outdoor events on your own. I’ve been going to Cloverdale Rodeo alone for years, and once I get over the initial anxiety of being alone surrounded by couples and families, I always have a good time.
From cheering on bull riders, browsing stalls, and eating great food to soaking up some sunshine while listening to live country music, there is something for everyone at the Cloverdale Rodeo. The best part is that most of the activities are solo traveler friendly. If it’s something you fancy doing, read on for everything you need to know to safely enjoy the ride!
History of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair
The inaugural event of the Cloverdale Rodeo was in 1958. It was part of British Columbia’s centennial celebrations. Since then, it’s become a popular annual tradition for locals and visitors.
Considered to be the world’s third-largest rodeo event of its kind, it’s an iconic part of summer in British Columbia, Canada.
How Long Is The Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair On For?
It usually happens over three or four days from a Friday to a Sunday or Monday, typically the same long weekend as Victoria Day. In 2023 it ran from May 19 to May 22.
The grounds open at 4 pm on Friday, and at 10 am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. There are usually two rodeo shows a day; one in the afternoon around 2 pm and one early evening around 7 pm.
Cloverdale Rodeo Ticket Options
When planning your solo trip to Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair, you’ll first want to check out the different ticket options. Not only can you get tickets for individual days, but there are also weekend passes available and family packages to save you some money.
There are a few different tickets that you will definitely need or want to get:
Gate Admission Ticket – You’ll need a ticket to get onto the rodeo and exhibition grounds which will be around $12
Rodeo Performance Ticket – If you want to watch a Rodeo show you will need to buy a Rodeo ticket in advance (they always sell out before the day of!). Expect to pay around $20 for the two-hour show.
Longhorn Beat The Line Ticket – If you want to avoid long queues to get into the Longhorn Saloon (the late-night bar with live bands), you will want to get a beat-the-line ticket. Expect to pay about $50 to skip the queue.
How To Buy Your Rodeo Tickets
To get onto the grounds, you can get your tickets online on the Cloverdale Rodeo website or at the gate on the day of the event. I’d always recommend getting your tickets in advance because it’s such a popular event.
Then it’s best to get your tickets for the Rodeo shows in advance online on the Cloverdale rodeo website to guarantee that you can go to the show time you want.
How To Get To Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair
The Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair is located in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. You can easily get there by car or public transport. There are several bus routes that go directly to the fairgrounds.
If you are coming from Vancouver, take the Expo line SkyTrain to Surrey Central, and then the 320 Langley Centre. The bus takes about 39 minutes, so give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Cloverdale Rodeo Events
The rodeo shows are the main attraction at Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair. You’ll be able to witness some of the best cowboys and cowgirls in action as they compete in events such as bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and barrel racing. Just remember to book your ticket for this show in advance as it always sells out.
This is one of the most enjoyable things to do at the Cloverdale Rodeo alone so don’t miss out!
Aside from the rodeo shows, the fairgrounds are the main attraction for most visitors. There’s lots to do at the fairgrounds such as carnival rides, and exploring the various exhibitions. There are also lots of live music performances, craft demonstrations, clowns, stunts, and more.
The Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair also has an extensive livestock exhibition showcasing a variety of animals such as horses, cows, goats, sheep, and llamas. You can even get up close and personal with some of the animals if you want to!
Shopping At Cloverdale Rodeo
If shopping local is your jam, then you will enjoy checking out all of the stalls, which are generally a mix of handcrafted items, western apparel, crystals, and self-care products.
Other Entertainment at Cloverdale Rodeo
There is plenty of other entertainment to enjoy at the Cloverdale Rodeo alone including lots of live music, and an entertaining lumberjack show.
You can also take part in various activities such as mechanical bull rides, horseback riding, zip lining, and plenty of carnival games at the fairground,
Cloverdale Rodeo Schedule
The schedule and site map for all the events is available on the grounds. You can also get a printed copy at the gates to the grounds, or you can get it online on the Cloverdale Rodeo website.
Cloverdale Rodeo Drink Options
Whether you want to drink alcohol or soft drinks, you will have plenty of drink options.
Choose from classic carnival drinks like fresh lemonade, or get beer, wine, and spirits from the bars scattered around the grounds. You’ll need drink tickets to get drinks from any of the bars.
Cloverdale Rodeo Food
The Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair is home to a variety of food vendors and eateries. From classic fair food like burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream, and deep-fried Oreos to Mexican tacos, sushi, and BBQ ribs – there’s something for everyone!
If you want BBQ, the BBQ vendors are usually near the Longhorn Saloon and arena where the rodeo shows happen.
There are some casual sit-down options like beer gardens, but If eating alone is something that generally makes you uncomfortable, eating from food vendors is a great option.
The Longhorn Saloon
For evening entertainment, the Longhorn Saloon is the place to be! Live bands from around 6 pm until 2 am, and bars serving beer until 1 am makes the Saloon very popular.
Once inside, you will need to buy beer tickets (get enough to avoid having to queue again later), to buy your drinks. Expect to pay around $8 a drink.
FAQ’s About Going To Cloverdale Rodeo Alone
How long will I be at the Rodeo?
As the Cloverdale Rodeo grounds open at 10 am on Saturday, Sunday. and Monday and the late-night bar is open until 2 am, so you are probably not sure what time to go.
There is an event schedule online on the Cloverdale Rodeo website which will give you a rundown of everything that’s happening in each area of the exhibition grounds. Most events are repeated throughout the day, so the most important event to consider is the Rodeo Show itself.
The rodeo show seems to always be twice a day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm. As the show is on for 2 hours, you’ll need to factor in whether you want to go to the Longhorn Saloon, and how OK you are with long queues to get in there. The Saloon opens around 6 pm so if you opt for the 7.30 pm show, you’ll probably be faced with a long queue for the Saloon at 9.30 pm/10 pm unless you bought a Beat The Line ticket. If live music is your thing, you’ll also miss some of the live bands if you watch the evening rodeo show.
Personally. I usually go there around mid-morning or lunchtime, watch the afternoon rodeo show, and then go to the saloon. It means I’m usually there for at least 10-12 hours which makes the gate admission excellent value!
What should I wear at the Rodeo?
There isn’t a dress code for Cloverdale Rodeo, but most people opt for either Western clothing or casual attire.
I usually opt for a summer dress or skirt and top with my cowboy boots.
You will do a lot of walking, and maybe dancing, so comfortable footwear is a must.
Is it safe for female solo travelers to go to Cloverdale Rodeo alone?
I’ve gone to Cloverdale rodeo several times on my own, and I’ve always felt safe there. People are generally friendly, and there’s always security everywhere. You will probably also see RCMP from time to time.
If you decide to use public transport and want to stay out late, it can be a little sketchy getting the late-night bus or skytrain at Surrey Central but there’s always at least one or two transit staff around. So I just never get really drunk knowing I have to do the late-night journey home.
Will I need an ID?
Yes, you will need an ID if you want to get beer tickets. I am well over the legal age and always get asked for ID so carry it just in case.
For the Longhorn Saloon, you will need two pieces of ID (at least one photo ID)
Will I need to bring cash?
In recent years the rodeo has gone cashless but I’d recommend still bringing cash with you.
You will definitely need cash if you want to go on any fairground rides, and a lot of the vendors still take cash as well.
It’s also just smart to have cash as a backup just in case of an emergency, especially if you are going there alone. I have had instances of my cards not working, and it’s an unnecessary hassle if you don’t have any cash.
Are there ATMs at Cloverdale Rodeo?
Yes, there are at least 2 or 3 ATMs within the grounds. You will usually find them conveniently close to fairground rides, food, and beverage stands.
Are there cloakrooms or lockers at Cloverdale Rodeo?
No there’s no cloakroom or locker options available so only bring items to the rodeo that you are happy to carry. I usually stick to a simple cross-shoulder bag, and a cardigan or shirt as a cover-up that I can tie to the handles of my bag or around my waist.
Also, avoid buying lots if you are planning on going to the Longhorn as you will have nowhere to put shopping bags down so you’ll be stuck carrying them around with you everywhere.
Does it matter if I know nothing about horses?
Nope, no knowledge about horses, bulls, livestock, or rodeos generally is required to have a good time. There is always a free program you can get about the rodeo, and the commentator explains sufficiently for you to get the gist of the rodeo competitions.
What are my parking options if I drive to the rodeo?
There’s official parking available which is $20 for the day. There is no option for overnight parking though so if you want to have a drink or two it’s best to leave your car at home.
Is the Beat the Line for the Longhorn worth it?
If you’re not planning to go to the Longhorn until after about 6.30 pm or 7 pm, and you hate queuing then the $50 skip-the-line is worth it. But if you are on a budget, then you avoid this unnecessary expense.
What time does the late-night bar close?
The Longhorn Saloon is open from around 6 pm and closes at 2 am. The bar stops serving drinks around 1 am though, with live music continuing until closing time. The drink queues inside the Longhorn get pretty long, so if you want to reduce the amount of time queuing (and don’t care about carrying drinks around) get 2 or 3 drinks at a time.
What are my late-night transport options from Cloverdale Rodeo?
Late-night transit options will vary depending on where you live. If you are heading back to anywhere in the Vancouver area, you will probably need to get the 320 to Surrey Central and then the SkyTrain or a night bus. The last 320 to Surrey Central is around 1 am. If you miss the buses back to a Skytrain Station, you’d need to get an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi which will be expensive (avoid if you are on a budget).
Going to the Cloverdale Rodeo alone can be a daunting prospect especially if you’ve never been to an outdoor event solo before, but I hope this blog post gives you some encouragement to get out of your comfort zone.
If you decide to go, just trust your gut instincts, take plenty of photos, and most importantly have fun!
Have you ever been to a rodeo on your own, or thought about going to one? Let me know in the comments!