Dozens of children flocked to the Cariboo Memorial Recreational Complex Friday morning for the Cowboy Carnival.
An annual event that’s been run by the Billyboy family for the last seven years, the Cowboy Carnival is a chance to get the children of the lakecity into the ranching and rodeo life early. Attendees got to pet ponies, ride a mechanical bull, take a seat on a real tractor and play various carnival games mimicking ranch life.
The event went well on Friday according to Terris Billyboy, a former Stampede Princess and one of the founder’s of the carnival. As a fourth generation cowgirl who is competing in the breakaway roping event at this year’s rodeo, she said that she feels it’s important to offer children the chance to experience rodeo events first hand.
When she was Stampede Princess, she attended an event called rodeo magic in Edmonton that inspired her to form her own children friendly event.
“In our first year, I was told bring 50 kids and we’ll make it an annual event and in our first year we had 600 kids show up and it was a little by terrifying,” Billyboy laughed.
Nowadays she said the public interest is steady and she doesn’t have to advertise it too much. Families tend to come in waves as they were at this year’s Cowboy Carnival and beyond it being a little cold Billyboy said there were no problems.
The event also serves as a preamble to the Indoor Rodeo that starts Friday at 6 p.m. and goes for the entire weekend, an event Billyboy encourages the entire town to come out to.
“Being as Williams Lake is built around the rodeo grounds and we have so many rodeos every year, the Indoor Rodeo is a great one to see a lot of local competitors and people you actually know,” Billyboy said. “It’s a really good crowd for an amateur rodeo, the energy is all there.”