Fredericton — In an effort to compete with Western Canada for tourist dollars, and to make displaced oil workers feel more at home in the Maritimes, the New Brunswick government is investing in the creation of a “Horse Killing Festival” to run concurrently with the Calgary Stampede.
The Stampede, one of the largest outdoor festivals of its kind, has been thrilling crowds for more than a hundred years with its rodeos, parades, concerts and competitive horse-killing events.
“New Brunswick’s tourism department feels there’s an untapped potential here for the province, given our close ties to the oil sector in Western Canada,” according to government spokesperson Patricia Noel. “We believe there’s enough demand for bloody horse murder that a second festival on the East Coast could be sustainable.”
With that, the provincial government earmarked $15 million to set up its own celebration of Western rodeo culture and wanton disregard for animal welfare.
“We’ve been brainstorming since January and we’ve come up with some really great ideas,” Noel said. “We would start things off with a nice parade downtown, maybe a free concert somewhere, and then break into events like chuckwagon racing through a minefield.
“Picture the chariot race from Ben-Hur, but with more dead horses. That movie didn’t kill nearly enough horses.”
Organizers know they must step up their game in order to compete with the Calgary Stampede, which has been perfecting the art of killing and maiming horses under the guise of rodeo culture since 1886.
“We’re looking to one-up Calgary with a host of new events — including letting drunk festivalgoers throw empty cans of Molson at the horses, and betting how many fat people can sit on a miniature pony before crushing it,” Noel said. “Oh, and a little something we’re working on called the Clydesdale Catapult™.
“We’re also in contact with the federal government to see if we can get some of the wild Sable Island horses here so we can kill those too — y’know, it’s part of our culture or something.”
The New Brunswick festival, to be sponsored by IKEA and Elmer’s Glue, is tentatively scheduled for July 2018, but is already facing considerable delays after one of the chief organizers broke his leg in a hiking accident and had to be euthanized.
-With files from Calgary correspondent Susan Ehrhardt