Column: Celebrating Cowboy Heritage at the Williams Lake Stampede

It’s that time of year again, where friends, neighbours, ranchers and visitors from all over, gather together.

It’s that time of year again, where friends, neighbours, ranchers and visitors from all over, gather together to see cowboys ride some Broncs and Steers and rope and race on horseback!

With four days of action-packed rodeo excitement that kicks off on June 26, followed by a weekend filled with adrenalin — the Williams Lake Stampede is a great family fun-filled rodeo and community-wide event that has been world famous for 89 consecutive years.

Cowboys have had an important role in B.C. for more than two centuries. Raising and herding cattle, providing a secure food source, and preserving the natural environment were some of the jobs that cowboys have historically carried out.

The Williams Lake Stampede additionally boosts our local economy in so many ways.

Last year, the record was broken with approximately 16,451 rodeo fans attending the performance — which was not only entertaining but supports our local tourism industry and essentially our province as a whole.

It is not only the many top cowboys and international rodeo competitors from Canada and the United States that make this annual event so significant, but it is the team of the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, the board of directors and sponsors that put on the Stampede every year who really make it so special.

It would not exist without the tireless efforts, expertise, time and support from each of them and I thank them for that.

If you would like to have some fun and celebrate the hard work of the cowboys, cowgirls, ranchers and individuals who have put so much time into supporting and preserving our Cowboy culture, heritage and history.

Happy Stampede Weekend!

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

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