Williams Lake Stampede Association was gearing up for its Back in the Saddle Bull Riding event, slated for two days, Sept. 5-6, featuring bull riding, a wild horse race, dash for cash flat race and grandstand show featuring Karen Lee Batten and The Hillside Outlaws. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Stampede Association was gearing up for its Back in the Saddle Bull Riding event, slated for two days, Sept. 5-6, featuring bull riding, a wild horse race, dash for cash flat race and grandstand show featuring Karen Lee Batten and The Hillside Outlaws. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

New COVID-19 restrictions force cancellation of Back in the Saddle Stampede event

Back in the Saddle was slated for Sept. 5 and 6

Two days after the province announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions for the Interior Health region, the Williams Lake Stampede board of directors announced its long-awaited rodeo event set for the Labour Day long weekend has been cancelled.

“While the disappointment in having to cancel is beyond words the outpouring of support in attempting to host this event has been amazing,” the directors noted in a Facebook post. “Thank you to all the sponsors, ticket buyers, and volunteers who stepped up to support us.”

The smaller but highly anticipated Back in the Saddle event scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6 would have been the first Stampede event since the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Williams Lake Stampede for the last two years in a row.

The WLSA stated they would be contacting those who purchased tickets and sponsors in the near future with regards to refunding their money, before offering some words of encouragement to rodeo fans.

“Remember, it is not the number of times you get knocked down, but, the number of times you get back up that matters, see you in 2022.”

New health measures introduced for all of the Interior Health region were announced Friday, Aug. 20 and include mandatory masks in all indoor public spaces for people 12 years and older.

Effective Monday, Aug. 23 at 8 a.m. indoor personal gatherings are limited to ten guests or one other household, outdoor personal gatherings (e.g. birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties) are limited to no more than 50 people and organized indoor gatherings (e.g. weddings, funerals, seated events) are limited to 50 people, and outdoors gatherings are limited to 100 people, both requiring a COVID-19 safety plan.

The government news release noted the measures will remain in place until the end of September and Interior Health experiences lower cases of COVID-19 and higher vaccination rates, citing the delta variant as the cause of faster transmission of COVID-19 and more severe outcomes for younger people.

IH added most people are being exposed to COVID-19 at social gatherings, work places or in private households.

“The vast majority of our cases are in people who are unimmunized or partially immunized and in adults between 20-40 years old. For those who haven’t yet gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please get it now. Getting immunized will help keep our hospital beds open for treating people with other illnesses and needing surgery,” said Interior Health medical health officer, Dr. Rob Parker.


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