When cowboys and cowgirls enter into the rodeo stadium inside Alex Fraser Park next summer, they’ll be honouring a Quesnel rodeo legend.
The Quesnel Rodeo Club has been given the go-ahead to name the outdoor arena in honour of Gus Cameron. Cameron died Aug. 29, 2020.
Cameron and his wife Nita were instrumental in bringing and sustaining rodeo to the area. The couple has been involved in the local event since the 1960s, even helping to move the event from Bouchie Lake to Quesnel.
“[I] was really honoured that they would think to do that for Gus,” Nita said. “That was his life; rodeo and the rodeo club was his life — our life.”
Gus served as president of the Quesnel Rodeo Club six times.
The current president of the rodeo club, Ray Jasper, called Gus “the face of rodeo in Quesnel.”
“He led the efforts to build [Alex Fraser Park] to what you see today,” Jasper said. “His fingerprints … are over everything that’s there.”
Gus also served as president of the B.C. Rodeo Association.
Jasper said the club wanted to name the arena to keep Gus’s memory alive and educate newer community members on who Gus Cameron was.
“It’s important that history doesn’t get lost as time marches on,” Jasper said. “I think it’s important that his contribution to this community is recognized in that way.”
The Rodeo Club gained permission to christen the arena at the Nov. 10 North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee meeting, and the club is now planning what the signage around the arena will look like.
“We have some ideas on what we want to do, and we just have to finalize which one of those ideas we have to do,” Jasper said. “I can’t really tell you [the plans yet], but whatever we do will be befitting the man that he was. It will be something we can all be proud of at the end.”
A global pandemic doesn’t make things easier. Jasper wasn’t sure what form the Quesnel rodeo will take in 2021, or if there will even be a Quesnel rodeo – but when rodeo eventually returns to Quesnel, it will be in honour of the man who helped make it possible.
“Everybody knows that he was a very devoted, honest and caring person,” Nita said. “I’m really happy that the club thought to do that.”
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