Volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to set the stage for the inaugural Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo in April.
“We’re not going to let perfection get in the way of getting things done. It’s going to be a great show. The community really wants to see the rodeo back. That’s been very apparent and we are off to a good start.”
Tickets are on sale now online for the rodeo through the event’s website at https://www.irea.ca. Tickets are $30 each for adults and $25 each for children and seniors. Paper tickets will be available for sale at the Laughing Loon and Re/Max, although Call encourages everyone to buy online.
The first rodeo performance will get underway Friday, April 14 starting at 6 p.m.
During all the rodeos, Rink 2 will offer beer gardens. Friday evening Rink 2 will also be open for drinks while Evan Fuller will be performing after the rodeo. No minors allowed.
Saturday, April 15, the rodeo performance will start at 1 p.m. followed by the barn dance Saturday night. There are 900 tickets available for the dance at $30 per ticket. No minors allowed.
Sunday, April 16 at 1 p.m. will be the rodeo finals. The show will include the traditional unveiling of inductees into the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame just before the rodeo kicks off.
Rodeo contestants are encouraged to visit the website to read the ground rules and confirm entry dates for the rodeo.
Call said while they are keeping the 30-year tradition of the indoor rodeo alive and well in Williams Lake, he noted there will be updates.
No performance will be longer than three hours. Call said fans just don’t want to sit longer than that.
Also, for this year, there will be no junior break away roping and no wild horse race.
Call said the wild horse race, an event which sees teams of cowboys attempting to capture and ride a group of ‘wild’ horses in the arena, is “a victim of our times.”
“That’s the event I hear the most complaints about,” he said, in relation to the treatment of the animals.
Call, who has been in the rodeo business with his brother Earl for the past several decades, speaks openly about the pressures and challenges facing rodeo today.
“With rodeo, we are either going to evolve or we’re going to die, and we’d rather control the away our sport is going to evolve than have it mandated to us,” said Call.
At the Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo, several safeguards are being put in place to protect the community, the cowboys, the sponsors and the animal athletes. One new rule is that contestants will no longer be allowed in the chutes to push the cattle forward in the timed events. Call and their trained staff will control all interaction with the animals in the area in an effort to reduce any injuries or perceived poor treatment of the animals.
“We want the cattle to be taken care of and protected,” he said, noting they have added the most prohibitive jerk-down rule for tie-down roping. “We put the onus on the cowboys to keep the animals safe.”
Call said they want to do a good job and keep all seven remaining rodeo events functioning long into the future.
Also new this year will be a replay board so fans can watch the playback. The West Coast Thunder drill team out of Langley will open each rodeo and sell 50/50 tickets.
Call encourages anyone who can spare some time to volunteer at the rodeo, whether that’s just a few hours to sweep the floor or for several hours throughout the weekend.
“We don’t want to burn anyone out. We want volunteers to have fun helping out where they have interest.”
Pauline Colgate-Smith is the director in charge of volunteer services. Those interested in volunteering can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.