Amber Nustad is the Williams Lake Stampede Association general manager. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Amber Nustad is the Williams Lake Stampede Association general manager. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Stampede Association’s new general manager takes the reins

Amber Nustad is excited to help plan next year’s Stampede

Williams Lake Stampede Association’s (WLSA) new general manager likes to think big.

“I say to people I dream in technicolour because I have huge grandiose ideas,” said Amber Nustad, who has been on the job since Nov. 9, 2021.

“They don’t always work, but I like to try.”

As the new general manager for the WLSA she is excited and looking for new ideas and said she was fortunate to start that job at a time when it is a quieter for the Stampede Association.

“I’ve done a lot of reading and looking through files to try and get ahead of some of the things so we aren’t scrambling last minute. “

Melissa Normandin, who worked for the WLSA previously, has been helping Nustad learn the ropes..

“She has been a huge help and very open to any questions. She’s been right there and said if there is anything I need to contact her. She’s been fantastic,” Nustad said.

Looking forward to the Stampede’s return in 2022, after it was cancelled two years in a row due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, Nustad said ‘this community needs it.’ The Stampede was established in 1920 and it was only during the second world war that the Stampede was ever cancelled, she added.

By attending meetings and talking with WLSA directors, Nustad has learned the Stampede has ‘huge’ and ‘unreal’ community support.

“We have hundreds of people that come out and volunteer for this every year. That is phenomenal. It shows me how important the Stampede is to people in the community that people will drop everything and take time off work to come and volunteer.”

Board meetings are once a month, with the exception of January and sometimes July, although work parties at the Stampede Grounds get underway in May. Nustad grew up around horses.

“My love for horses began very, very young. My dad used to take me riding when I was two. That spurred the love and the passion.”

Her mom put her in English riding lessons, but it was not until Nustad was an adult that she had horses of her own, her first one being an English jumping horse. When she moved to Williams Lake in 2004, Nustad brought her horse with her. There were not many people doing English riding here so she found hersef in a minority, she recalled.

“I did what I could, but of course the western aspect starts to rub off on you. I started dabbling and I bought a reining horse in 2012 and I got the bug for reining.”

In 2012 and 2013 she led horsemanship training with the Stampede Royalty Program contestants and in 2013, purchased another reining horse.

“She was my show horse and in 2015 we went to Oklahoma and we showed at the NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) finals. That was a huge experience for me. I really enjoyed that.”

She bred her show horse in 2017 and is training her three-year-old colt to be her next show horse.

Nustad has three children ages 22, 19 and 11 years old. For anyone who is on social media, Nustad has been having fun keeping the Williams Lake Stampede Association Facebook page up to date, sometimes with some history or other information. It is worth checking out.

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