Cowboy Luke Butterfield goes for a wild ride on Rip N’ Zip in the saddle bronc competition at the Williams Lake Stampede’s first rodeo performance Friday afternoon. Temperatures soared over the four-day event

Cowboy Luke Butterfield goes for a wild ride on Rip N’ Zip in the saddle bronc competition at the Williams Lake Stampede’s first rodeo performance Friday afternoon. Temperatures soared over the four-day event

Stampede a smooth ride

The 89th annual Williams Lake Stampede went out with a bang, literally.

The 89th annual Williams Lake Stampede went out with a bang, literally.  Moments after the final bull ride Monday, a severe thunder and lightning storm swept over the city sending fans running for cover.

Over the weekend, more than 14,500 rodeo fans took in the four-day event, which saw some of the best cowboys and cowgirls competing from across North America.

“The rodeo itself was better than it has been in years,” said Williams Lake Stampede Association president Fred Thomas of the top level of competitors.

“The animals were probably a little better than the competitors even though the competitors were world class.”

Extremely hot weather and the fact that Canada Day fell mid-week may be to blame for not breaking any attendance records this year, however, the turn out was still great, Thomas said.

“14,000 is still a fantastic number.”

On the policing side of things Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron also reported no major incidents over the weekend, attributing the good behaviour to good organizing and good planning on behalf of the Williams Lake Stampede Association as well as the extra policing on the streets.

“That all helps. It was a smooth, well-run event.”