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Williams Lake Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo ready to entertain

Barrel racing qualifier Thursday, April 18, Rodeo performances April 19 to 21
Hunter Reid at the 2023 Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo April 15, 2023. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Get ready to have some fun at the 2024 Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo April 19 to 21 in Williams Lake.

“It is going really well,” said Roy Call of C+ Rodeos, one of the organizers.

Entries were closed Friday and organizers did the draw for the rough stock events.

There are almost 50 registrations for the open barrel racing, which he said starts on Thursday, April 18 with a qualifying event.

“That is a new format this year,” he said of the qualifier, noting 20 of the 50 will advance to the weekend’s rodeo. “Sometimes we forget that the crowd is what we are there for. We want to put the top contestants in front of the crowd.”

A lot of times big sanctioned rodeos, some of the best contestants compete during the slack and not in front of the paid crowd, which Call said does not make sense to him.

“When I see world champions out there at noon on a Friday when no one is there to watch and then I watch average riders when the stands are full and think ‘that’s crazy.’”

Barrell racers can enter more than once with different horses but they can only advance with one horse.

Some have entered with two or more horses.

Joleen Seitz, a winner at the Calgary Stampede and Canadian champion will be competing, Call said.

Thursday night will also feature 10 junior and half a dozen peewee barrell racers.

“Just to make sure our arena is set up right we will also buck a few bulls on Thursday night and we are doing that again this year,” he said.

It will be admission by donation for Thursday night with proceeds going to the Logan Parent Foundation, named for a young South Cariboo bull rider who died by suicide October 2020 due to brain damage he received while bull riding.

The foundation funds scholarships and supports organizations working to help people with concussions.

Call said members of the foundation will be there selling merchandise and handing out information about concussions.

“We always like to support that important cause,” he added. “We are happy to have them be part of the Thursday event. They will be around for the weekend as well.”

Entries for the rough stock will result in 20 bull riders per day.

Each rodeo will begin with bull riding and end with bull riding.

There will be 10 riders at the beginning so Call advised people not to be late.

“If you arrive half hour past the start time you will have missed 10 bulls.”

There are a dozen steer riders every day, five mini bull riders, the wild horse race is full every day and the bucking horse riding event will have 10 to 12 riders every day.

“The running time is going to be about two-and-a-half hours at the max. It is going to be a challenge because there are not going to be the usual breaks people are used to,” Call said. “It will be quick and exciting.”

Tickets sales have been good and there are still tickets available for all the performances.

“This year we have actually had a really good response to paper tickets. We are selling them at the Laughing Loon and the Broadway Avenue Liquor Store and they have both gone really well.”

The tickets are also available on Eventbrite and the IREA website has new content on it every day.

Saturday night’s Barn Dance tickets are also selling rapidly, as well.

Five people are on the Interior Rodeo Event Association board, but to run the rodeo takes close to 100 volunteers over the weekend.

“We have a tiny, tiny committee that does all the early stuff,” Call said. “The nice thing about that is we can have a meeting with a few guys and we can make the decisions that we want so it moves along quickly and easily.”

Having 30 years of experience also helps.

“Between the group of us we have done it a lot. The nice thing is we don’t have a venue to maintain year round. We are basically walking into a city building and putting on a rodeo. We have all the assets to do it.”

One exception has been getting the rodeo clown - Bert Davis and the Muttly Crew of rescue dogs - clearance to attend from the United States, which Call said has an act worth the price of admission alone.

“It has been like pulling frickin’ teeth to get him across the border,” Call said. “Without MLA Lorne Doerkson and MP Todd Doherty we would not have got him across.”

The hangup was because of a temporary foreign worker permit, the bureucracy and the clown as a specialty act.

Call said they started in November working on the permit and just finished in April, he said.

Tyson Pietsch from Buck Lake, Alberta, will return as the rodeo announcer.

Friday, April 19, the rodeo begins at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 1 p.m.

READ MORE: Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo prize buckles a labour of love

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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