Column: Celebrating 90 years of memories

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the rodeo.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the rodeo. When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to travel the rodeo circuit with my grandparents and cousins. It’s always been a big part of our family experience, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the Williams Lake Stampede celebrating its 90th anniversary this year! It’s helped create special memories for my family and for so many others in our community.

Indeed, our entire region looks forward to rolling out the welcome mat this Canada Day long weekend to host local Stampede spectators as well as visitors from around North America. We’re so lucky to be able to watch talented cowboy competitors from Canada and the United States! We welcome them not only to this top-notch event but to our hotels, restaurants and attractions—sharing our Cariboo pride while boosting our local economy.

The range of activities featured at the Stampede is impressive. There’s bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, tie down roping, barrel racing, the Mountain Race and more—not to mention the concessions, live music, camping and other festivities.

Large-scale events like this couldn’t run smoothly without the hard work of so many dedicated organizers and volunteers. A big thank-you to each and every one of you. It’s with good reason this event was awarded the 2016 Business Excellence Award in Hospitality/Tourism from the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce. The warm welcome and great customer service you’ve provided has made this event an outstanding success each year.

Today’s rodeo takes place at the same site the very first one did. Indeed, this event holds such an important place in our local history, paying tribute to our rich ranching tradition. I encourage everyone to pay a visit to the Williams Lake Stampede this long weekend and help celebrate 90 years of the community family event! For more information, please visit See you there!

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.