Flumerfelt Park and Coleman Rodeo - Coleman, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 38.201 W 114° 30.238
11U E 680218 N 5501228
Quick Description: Mounted in Flumerfelt Park, this heritage plaque is all about leisure time, in particular this park and the Coleman Rodeo, the town's major summertime event from 1946 to 1960, its final year.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 8/16/2015 2:34:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMPE55
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoKs
Views: 3

Long Description:
Flumerfelt Park and Coleman Rodeo

Flumerfelt Park
Alfred Cornelius Flumerfelt was president of the International Coal and Coke Company. He and his company founded the town of Coleman, which was named after one of his daughters, Norma Coleman Flumerfelt.

Flumerfelt donated this land to the citizens of Coleman for use as a recreational park. Brush clearing in 1909 and 1910 led to the creation of an athletics field in summer and an outdoor curling rink in winter. Other sports fields existed in Coleman as well.

During events such as Dominion Day celebrations, Flumerfelt Park would be decorated with "bunting, bonnets and merry features." Ice cream and refreshment tents would be set up, the town band would play in the bandstand, and one could cheer on team or track-and-field events for adults and youths, obstacle and sack races for boys and girls, and egg-and-spoon races for ladies.

Flumerfelt Park was also used for team sports, and later had tennis courts. In 1944 a portion of the park was covered by an indoor curling arena.

Like other public spaces, Flumerfelt Park and its bandstand was also a gathering-place for outdoor political meetings and labour rallies, particularly in the tumultuous 1920s and 1930s.

Today, Flumerfelt Park remains a popular place for public recreation and community events.

Coleman Rodeo
The Coleman 'Crow View' Rodeo was an annual event held from 1946 to 1960, and was initially intended as a fundraiser to repair or replace Coleman's hockey arena. In terms of attracting both competitors and attendees, the rodeo was the most successful sporting event in Crowsnest Pass history.

The waste coal dump on the hill above and just west of Flumerfelt Park was chosen as the new rodeo grounds. The area was graded and covered with fill by the International Coal and Coke Company in time for the first rodeo.

The first rodeo was held in August 1946 and was an instant success, drawing an estimated 4000 spectators. Cash prizes attracted the leading cowboys and performers of the day, many of whom also participated in the Calgary Stampede. In addition to rodeo events, there was a parade, carnival, crowning of a rodeo queen and a western dance. The parade was the most popular event and was soon 'a mile long'. In later years a bingo was added where the prize was a new car; the 1954 bingo prize was won by a nine year old girl.

The Coleman Board of Trade was the sponsor, with town merchants underwriting any losses. All rodeo, parade, dance and other committees were filled by volunteers. Every town within the Pass participated. Merchants decorated their shops on a western theme, and banners, lights and a 'welcome' arch of evergreen boughs adorned Coleman's main street. The Town of Coleman even declared an annual civic holiday. An economic crisis was to disrupt everything. Contracting coal markets in the early 1950s caused the decline and closure of coal mines in Crowsnest Pass. Less than a third of the estimated 10,000 parade spectators of 1956 purchased rodeo tickets, and the Coleman Rodeo lost money. Interest in many other civic events declined, including municipal elections, and in 1960 the Board of Trade ceased its sponsorship of the rodeo due to a lack of volunteers. Only a last minute effort saved the 1960 rodeo, but it was the last one.

In 1963 the Horace Allen School was built on the former rodeo grounds. Horace Allen was a long-time school principal and administrator, and was also the president of the Board of Trade when the Coleman 'Crow View' Rodeo was first proposed.

16mm movie film footage of several of the rodeos and parades has been made into a DVD, and is available through the Crowsnest Museum.
Learn more about Crowsnest Heritage

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Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: Parking available in the park

Placement agency: Crowsnest Heritage

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