Column: Eighty-nine years of Stampede

Can you feel the excitement in the air? The time is coming for the Williams Lake Stampede.

Can you feel the excitement in the air? The time is coming to bring out the welcome mat for the four-day, action-packed 89th annual Williams Lake Stampede that begins June 26.

The Stampede is just around the corner and has been an important tradition for Williams Lake since 1919 and has continually supported the preservation of our western heritage and culture.

Drawing thousands of tourists, families and visitors of all ages every year to our beautiful region, the Stampede is by far the most popular event in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. The stampede is always great entertainment, from bull riding to the ever popular and exciting mountain race and of course one of my favourites is the ranch challenge, where local ranches take part in various events.

This year’s Stampede Parade is built on the foundation of the Rotary 2015 theme, “Be a Gift to the World; A Tribute to Volunteers.” I would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, businesses, Stampede President Fred Thomas, the organizing committee and a special thank you to Nancy Gale and parade chair and Daybreak Rotarian Ron Malmas for their great organizational skills, time and dedication. It is because of your service to the community that the Stampede has become one of the most popular and successful events in North America and remains a source of great pride for the Cariboo Chilcotin. I am looking forward to giving an extra hand at the Rotary Club of Williams Lake Pancake Breakfast and know that the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast as well as the Rotary Club and the Legion’s steak dinners will be a great success.

I will also be participating in the great parade that starts at 10 a.m at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Proctor Street, accompanied by others including this year’s two honourary parade marshals, Jim Byer and Dr. Peter James. Tickets to the rodeo and other Stampede events are available in the Stampede office behind the grandstand or call 250-392-6585. I am looking forward to seeing old and new friends at the Stampede and hope all have a fun, safe and enjoyable time!

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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