Column: Celebrate 90th Stampede

It’s Williams Lake’s biggest event of the year and this year we are celebrating its 90th anniversary.

It’s Williams Lake’s biggest event of the year and this year we are celebrating its 90th anniversary.

It’s the world famous Williams Lake Stampede — on the Canada Day weekend, June 30 to July 3! The Stampede is our region’s proudest tradition and has been growing since 1919, drawing thousands of locals and visitors to the largest event in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

The Williams Lake Stampede had its origin when a group of local cowboys got together and organized a contest to show off their skills for prize money and to settle who really was best. The Stampede has been held on the same grounds since Day 1 and has become a favourite stop for professional rodeo competitors from across Canada and the U.S., as well as  locals who enjoy the festivities, the food, and of course the long standing traditions, such as naming the Stampede Queen. It is amazing to think we have had 90 years of excitement and friendly competition between cowboys and cowgirls who gather from all around to compete in our long-standing rodeo, and show off their talents and grit to determine which competitor will win bragging rights for the year’s best local cowboy or cowgirl.

Thank you to Stampede president Tim Rolph, the Stampede committee and the many volunteers for their selfless efforts to make this event so great and memorable. Thank you, as well, to the City of Williams Lake and the many businesses who make the Stampede possible each year. While the Williams Lake Stampede is our biggest event, we have several other rodeos that take place in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, with our rich tradition of ranching. The Anahim Lake Rodeo was held this past weekend, but we have several others in the coming weeks that you should check out if you have a chance:

• Alkali Lake – June 23 and 24

• Interlake – June 30 and 31

• Bella Coola – July 2 and 3

• Bridge Lake – July 2

• Red Stone – Aug. 13 and 14

So, shine up your cowboy boots, grab your hats and chaps and bring the whole family for a fun-filled weekend at the Williams Lake Stampede to celebrate the 90th anniversary!

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.