Can you feel the excitement building in the air? Store fronts are all decorated in western themes, hotels are getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors and the grounds are ready for the excitement and action of the world-famous Williams Lake Stampede.
Now in its 88th year, the rodeo has hosted some of the best cowboys and cowgirls competing against each other on this important tour stop. The Stampede has defined Williams Lake and has helped preserve our western heritage and culture.
On top of the exciting action at the rodeo grounds, I also have the chance to talk with many local ranchers, agricultural producers, constituents, community leaders and even catch up with old friends.
The Stampede is truly a community event with lots of events for all ages throughout the weekend. From the parade on Saturday morning, community pancake breakfasts organized by Rotary and Knights of Columbus, and the evening entertainment featuring B.C. country music artists like Whiskey Jane and the Ken McCoy Band at the Let R’ Buck Saloon and Clancy Wright and the Silverados playing at the beer gardens.
And of course, the Stampede is one of the biggest draws for tourists giving locally owned businesses, hotels and other tourism operators a significant boost to their bottom line every year.
If you are attending on Friday night, be sure to dress-up in your favourite red shirt in support of our men and women serving in the military. On Sunday, be tough enough and wear pink in support of cancer research where $1 of each ticket sold will be donated to the Cariboo Memorial Trust Fund in support of local Stampede legend, Bruce Watt.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy the action at the rodeo. If you drink, please do not drive. Make arrangements before-hand, or designate a driver so everyone gets home safe.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.