Roosters, ghosts and jukebox jive in Clive

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Get in the game with 48 hours on the shot clock in Clive

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Jeremy Derksen

In Clive, AB – a town of just 700 northeast of Red Deer – even the ghosts know how to have a good time — sometimes well past closing time. At least, that’s according to Dale Bright, co-owner of the Clive Hotel.

One night about 25 years ago, says Dale, the father of the former owner and one of the staff were staying in the hotel.

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“About an hour after the place shut down, they heard the jukebox playing, so they went down to check it out,” Dale says. “They could hear what sounded like ragtime music. But when they went to open the door into the bar, the music stopped.

“So they closed the doors and went upstairs, and shortly thereafter it started up again. They went back down a second time, and as soon as they opened the door, the jukebox quit. And this was before the internet – an old plug-in record player.”

Clive alberta
Photographer: Jeremy Derksen

“In a small town, it’s hard to keep busy, so having sports gives kids a reason to get outside,” says Jeremy Whelan, town councillor. “Not only that, it brings families and the community together.”

Clive alberta
Photographer: Jeremy Derksen

When you roll into town, you’ll notice the giant rooster right away. It’s an unofficial town landmark and social centre, standing sentinel at the Rooster Roadhouse. The Rooster’s holds big event weekends, including horseshoes, golf and bones tourneys.

“We have teams that come in even from Saskatchewan,” says Whelan. “I never played bones until about three years ago, and now every year my wife and I enter … [it’s] a lot of good laughs, and entertaining times.”

After some good laughs and games, one of Whelan’s favourite local places to unwind for an afternoon is the Chain Lakes, a few kilometres north of town. The JJ Colette trails are another popular spot for hikers and dog owners.

With all that activity, hunger is going to hit. For that, one word: frings. This signature onion ring-french fry poutine is featured on the menu at the Clive Diner. Located in the Clive Hotel, the restaurant’s vibe is so eerily reminiscent of a ’50s-style diner, it’s like the ghost of a mid-century interior decorator restyled the place.

Clive alberta
Photographer: Jeremy Derksen

For historic bragging rights, the Clive Hotel ran Alberta’s last men-only beer parlour until 1978. (Raise a glass to the demise of gender segregation.)

As the day winds down, folks get back together post-game at the Clive or the Rooster, to recap the big feats of the day. Sometimes, they carry on into the late hours.

Clive is that kind of place; people work hard and play harder. Even the ghosts don’t know when to call it quits.

If You Go

Enter one of the Rooster Roadhouse’s annual tournaments — it’s a good way to enjoy some classic games and get to know the locals.

Order breakfast “your way” at the Clive Diner — diner breakfast, however you like it; no set menu here.

Visit the local shops — the Elite Treasure Thrift Shoppe features antiques and locally made tapestries, jams and preserves, with funds going back into the community.

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