Angie Mindus/Tribune file photo Helicopter pilot Jody Christensen eyes a log landing as part of ongoing work at the end of South Lakeside Drive to stem the current Douglas-fir beetle infestation affecting the area. The pilot was working with rigger Tyler ‘Grubby’ Davidison of Sarver Wood Fibre, the main contractor for the project.

January: Bull rider star’s death hits home for many across rodeo world

A look back at some of our stories from January, 2017

Jan. 4

Heli-logging used in fight against fir beetle

Efforts being made to combat Douglas-fir beetle infestations around Williams Lake have been front and centre as a heli-logging crew has taken on the highly visible and dangerous job of removing infected trees within the city limits one at a time in populated areas.

The areas targeted included 168 Mile behind the stockyards, off Hodgson Road in the Esler subdivision, and above South Lakeside.

Government mapping data (based on aerial surveys conducted in the summer of 2016) indicated the beetles killed 81,223 cubic metres of timber in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Natural Regional District in 2015.

Jan. 9

Pinette wins gold at World Junior Water Ski Championships

Williams Lake’s Conley Pinette soared to a gold medal at the IWWF World Junior Water Ski Championships Jan. 5-8, in San Bernardo, Chile.

Conley was competing as a member of Team Canada and jumped 190 feet (58 metres) in the prelims at the international event, setting a new Canadian record in the process. It was also the third-longest jump ever at the World Junior Championships. He went on to jump 55.9-metres in the final to become the world champion.

“I was very proud to be representing Canada and Williams Lake,” Conley told the Tribune. “It was a goal of mine since I was young to win the Worlds.”

Jan. 10

Rodeo world shocked to learn of rodeo star Ty Pozzobon’s death

Professional bull rider Ty Pozzobon passed away Jan. 9 at his home just outside of Merritt.

The Pozzobon family would later confirm that Pozzobon took his own life, suspecting a connection between several head injuries and concussions Pozzobon had faced throughout his career and his mental health.

“It’s important that people know about the implications of head injuries as a result of concussions,” his mother, Leanne Pozzobon, stated in a news release from the family.

Later research would conclude what the Pozzobon family suspected, and would name Pozzobon the first confirmed case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

For local ranching family Hugh and Shelly Loring, Pozzobon’s death hit home, as the family is still dealing with the aftermath of a severe concussion that ended Hugh’s rodeo career.

Shelly stayed by her husband’s side and nursed him back to health while navigating all the unknowns of a brain injury without medical support.

“I can see he’s changed. He’s not the same person.”

Jan. 25

Mt. Timothy employee hurt on the job

A Mt. Timothy Ski Area employee was transported to hospital in serious condition after both his arms were severely damaged while working on a conveyor belt at the ski hill.

Dylan Pilgrim, 23, of Williams Lake is the maintenance manager at Mount Timothy and was working on the bunny hill’s magic carpet on Wednesday Jan. 18 when the incident occurred.

Jan. 25

KIJHL bid rejected

A bid to bring a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise to Williams Lake was voted down by the league. A bid by the ownership group made up of Rob Sandrock, a former professional hockey player, Tyrel Lucas and Ryan Bailey was rejected.

While members of the franchise said the application was excellent, they needed time to seek consultation to determine whether expansion would benefit the league’s business plan.

The ownership group, however, said they would not give up on bringing a junior hockey team to Williams Lake.

Jan. 27

Hoyer first ever to win X Games snow bike gold

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer became the first person ever to win a Snow BikeCross gold medal Friday at the 2017 Aspen X Games.

An early spill didn’t stop Hoyer, who is considered a pioneer of the sport, from blowing through a field of 15 of the best snow bike riders on the planet to finish 12 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Colton Haaker in 14:15.115 in the 30-lap race.

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Angie Mindus/Tribune file photo Zion Faubert and Aidan Myhre belly flop into 2017 as Roy Argue and Tyler Judd look on during the Polar Bear Swim, an annual fundraiser for youth rugby.

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