PHOTOS: Thursday night rodeo action kicks off Williams Lake Stampede Weekend

Xeni Gwet’in wagons and riders entered the arena for the grand entry to open the Thursday night performance at the 2022 Williams Lake Stampede. Chief Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation, on left, and Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmie Lulua, said a few words before the rodeo action got underway. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Stampede)Xeni Gwet’in wagons and riders entered the arena for the grand entry to open the Thursday night performance at the 2022 Williams Lake Stampede. Chief Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation, on left, and Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmie Lulua, said a few words before the rodeo action got underway. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Stampede)
Bareback rider Cruz McNulty of Biggar, Sask., was one of the bareback riders trying to win their share of the prize purse. The event was set to pay out to tenth place and first place would take home $3,699.84. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Bareback rider Cruz McNulty of Biggar, Sask., was one of the bareback riders trying to win their share of the prize purse. The event was set to pay out to tenth place and first place would take home $3,699.84. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Tie-down roper Blair Burk of Durant, Okla., dropped a loop around his calf and netted himself a time of 9.6 seconds. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Tie-down roper Blair Burk of Durant, Okla., dropped a loop around his calf and netted himself a time of 9.6 seconds. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Clay Elliot of Nanton, Alta., missed the mark on his run in the tie-down roping on Thursday, June 30 at the Williams Lake Stampede. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Clay Elliot of Nanton, Alta., missed the mark on his run in the tie-down roping on Thursday, June 30 at the Williams Lake Stampede. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Natalie Atwood of Cardston, Alta., did not manage to catch the calf in her breakaway-roping run during Thursday night action at the Williams Lake Stampede. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Natalie Atwood of Cardston, Alta., did not manage to catch the calf in her breakaway-roping run during Thursday night action at the Williams Lake Stampede. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Colt Gordon of Comanche, Okla., gets some air in the saddle bronc event on Thursday night. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Colt Gordon of Comanche, Okla., gets some air in the saddle bronc event on Thursday night. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The Mountain Race competitors race down the steep section of the course towards the Stampede Grounds in Thursday night’s race event. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)The Mountain Race competitors race down the steep section of the course towards the Stampede Grounds in Thursday night’s race event. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Clay Guthrie of Ponoka, Alta., gets a hold of his steer during his run in the steer wrestling event on Thursday. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Clay Guthrie of Ponoka, Alta., gets a hold of his steer during his run in the steer wrestling event on Thursday. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Teaghan Bertamini of Acme, Alta., rode her steer to the buzzer during the Thursday event. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Teaghan Bertamini of Acme, Alta., rode her steer to the buzzer during the Thursday event. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Rusty Rae Woodward, from Wainright, Alta., makes her way around her first barrel during Ladies Barrel Racing on Thursday. Woodward knocked down her third barrel during her run. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Rusty Rae Woodward, from Wainright, Alta., makes her way around her first barrel during Ladies Barrel Racing on Thursday. Woodward knocked down her third barrel during her run. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Wild Horse Race teams were mostly unsuccessful, and this wild horse was one of the winners of the event, by not getting ridden and remaining untamed. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Wild Horse Race teams were mostly unsuccessful, and this wild horse was one of the winners of the event, by not getting ridden and remaining untamed. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lisa Parfiniuk was well in the lead coming into the finish of the Wild Cowgirl Race on Thursday. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Lisa Parfiniuk was well in the lead coming into the finish of the Wild Cowgirl Race on Thursday. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
In the darkness of the final moments of rodeo action, bullriders were lit by a spotlight from across the arena, helping fans catch the final moments of action. Here, Ethan Shultz of Wheatland County, Alta., tried to hold on, but didn’t manage to make it to the buzzer. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)In the darkness of the final moments of rodeo action, bullriders were lit by a spotlight from across the arena, helping fans catch the final moments of action. Here, Ethan Shultz of Wheatland County, Alta., tried to hold on, but didn’t manage to make it to the buzzer. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Stampede’s Thursday night rodeo kicked off a return to full stampede action on June 30, 2022.

The crowd was lively and there was plenty of orange shirts to go with the theme Family and Every Child Matters.

The events got underway after the grand entry of the Xeni Gwet’in wagons and riders.

Williams Lake First Nation Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars and drummers and singers welcomed the group to the territory and Sellars spoke, followed by some words from Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmie Lulua.

Xeni Gwet’in youth from the ride then performed a song for the crowd before the rodeo got underway.

It was an action-packed rodeo night, with an enthusiastic crowd of about 4,000, according to announcer Tyson Pietsch.

While a few riders were thrown against the fence, no serious injuries took place, including during the heart-stopping Mountain Race.

Bull-riding went until after 10 p.m. and a long lineup formed immediatley afterwards outside the Let’R’Buck Saloon for music lovers to catch Chad Brownlee and Karen Lee Batton live on stage.

Crowds in the stands on Friday were even bigger and Saturday was set to be a sell-out crowd as rodeo returns to the lakecity.

Read more: Daring mountain racers thrill fans at 94th Annual Williams Lake Stampede

Read more: PHOTOS: Hit-to-pass kicks off Stampede racing at WL Forestry/NAPA Thunder Mountain Speedway



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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