Williams Lake Stampede Campground managers Della and Mark Boothby enjoy the opportunity because it ensures they are in her hometown from April through October each year and then spend the other half of the year just outside of Alberta in his hometown. (Monica Lamb-Yorski - Williams Lake Tribune)

OUR HOMETOWN: The best of both worlds

Generally they start April 1 and stay until mid-October

Managing the Williams Lake Stampede Campground the last four years has meant Della and Mark Boothby get to spend half the year in her hometown and half the year in his hometown, just outside Calgary, Alta.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Della, who was born and raised in Williams Lake.

She said her parents Audrey and Maurice Burke live in the family home in Williams Lake, where Della lived since the age of four. Della’s three brothers and sister live locally as well and she has lots of cousins.

“My mom was a Kinvig, she grew up on the Pioneer Ranch in Miocene,” Della said.

While growing up she attended Marie Sharpe Elementary School and said she runs into one of her elementary teachers Mrs. Purdy once in awhile.

“I just had tea with my old neighbour from when I was little and I’m still in touch on Facebook with all my old buddies from school.”

She also attended Williams Lake Junior High and graduated from Columneetza Secondary School . She left in 1979, lived in Kelowna, Whitehorse and then Alberta.

READ MORE: Plans for Williams Lake Stampede campground closed due to COVID-19

Mark and Della have not been married for very long.

They could have met 40 years ago at the wedding of mutual friends in Williams Lake, but Mark wasn’t able to make it.

“We missed that opportunity, but we caught up later on,” Mark said, adding those friends introduced them to each other.

Describing themselves as semi-retired, the Boothbys said they purchased a motorhome and toured for a year. The position opened up at the campground, they applied and didn’t get it at first, but when the person who got it didn’t stay they were hired.

“It’s great because I’d rather keep busy than sit around and visit all day so this has worked out very well for us,” Mark said.

Generally they start April 1 and stay until mid-October.

This season has unfolded differently due to COVID-19, and in the beginning the campground was only open for first responders and crews needed in the community.

By June 1 it opened to regular camping, and many of the campers are people working in the area.

Last weekend was quieter than normal because the Stampede was cancelled.

“It felt empty,” Della said. “We missed the campers.”

This year is quite different, Mark said.

“We are not a destination type campground, but normally we get Americans going north and south, and we get a lot of Europeans going east and west. But this year it’s just people trying to get out, mostly from B.C.”

There have been a few Americans en route home to Alaska.

Recently Della connected with all the people that had reservations for Stampede weekend 2020 to re-book for 2021.

“She got a lot of really nice comments back about how they miss the Stampede and miss the people and the place,” Mark said.

A big focus for the Boothbys is keeping the campground clean and green. This year they cannot offer the wash houses, with showers, laundry and washrooms, because of COVID-19 so all units must be self-contained.

There is no tenting this year either.

When the 2017 wildfires started, they were away at a wedding, and could not get back into town so the Stampede Association campground directors looked after everything.

“It was very full with campers and animals until everyone had to evacuate,” Mark recalled.

Della said her parents, like many other seniors in the community, did not want to leave.

“My sister had to pack them all up and she and my nephew hauled them out to Sicamous. My dad has a sister and niece that live there so they went to stay with them.”

Looking out from the deck of the office, Della said she remembers when the Stampede Grounds were pretty basic and First Nations families camped above the grounds all along the hillside.

“It’s nice because Mark and I both grew up in Western towns,” she added.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The sow, which had gotten into household attractants, was destroyed after it showed aggressive behaviour (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola residents urged to secure attractants after two sow grizzlies killed

One sow was a mother to three cubs of the year, which have been transported to Smithers

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in Nation is pictured at Farwell Canyon, B.C. Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Tsilhqot’in Nation honours war chiefs with virtual celebration

Current chiefs provide video messages on Lhats’asʔin Memorial Day

Troy McMillan was flown to a Vancouver hospital Oct. 18 after falling into the boards while playing hockey Oct. 11. (Submitted Photo)
Quesnel family “overwhelmed” by support after hockey injury

Troy McMillan is fighting for his life after tumbling into the boards Oct. 11

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Most Read