Volunteers were pressure washing seats and painting fences at the Williams Lake Stampede Association on Saturday, June 25.
The all-day work bee to prep the stampede grounds for this weekend’s rodeo meant it was all hands on deck.
From pressure washing the dust from the glass and stands to painting the railings and fences to cleaning bathrooms and putting out the tables for the Let’R’Buck Saloon, people were preparing for the first Williams Lake Stampede since 2019.
“It’s kind of a learning curve again,” explained stampede association director John Margetts, who was putting on the signs for the designated handicapped parking spots.
Stampede association president Court Smith was on hand at the work bee as well. One of the massive jobs underway was improving the ground surface in the arena, which needed significant work.
Smith credited volunteer Carl Girscheff with helping lead the work and rallying the required heavy equipment to make it happen.
Smith said Girscheff brought Corby Hanson and Tracey Ilnicki on board to also bring in equipment so the area could be properly prepared after heavy rainfall had made for a muddy surface.
Amber Nustad, the general manager of the Williams Lake Stampede Association was busy coordinating preparation efforts for her first ever stampede in the role of GM and she was looking forward to seeing people back in the stands.
“The community, they all come out for it … they thrive on it,” she said, and was glad to be giving people something to look forward to “after two years of chaos and weird” during the pandemic.
Tim Rolph, another association director and a past president, said he imagines many people probably don’t even realize how much work goes into preparing for the rodeo.
While many groups rent facilities for events, the stampede association owns and has to maintain the rodeo grounds year-round.
Pauline Smith was busy scraping old paint on the chutes and gates. She said while it felt overwhelming to be trying to get things back in order after two years, the organization is incredibly grateful to the dedicated group who stepped up to help make it happen.