The 90th Annual Williams Lake Stampede was exceptional in every area with record attendance and no animal injuries, said Stampede Association president Tim Rolph Tuesday.
“We had record attendance on Saturday and it looks like we had record attendance for the whole weekend,” Rolph said of the 4,725 people who attended Saturday’s rodeo and 16,677 through the entire weekend.
Rolph said there were no animal injuries, with the exception of a minor abrasion a horse received when he was being loaded into a horse trailer. One saddle bronc rider, however, did break his ankle, but there weren’t any serious riding injuries, he added.
“There was just a really good vibe around everything.”
After serving as a director for nine years, Rolph became president this year and found time to get out and interact with more volunteers, of which he said there were roughly 350 to 400 leading up to and during the Stampede.
“Everyone was so positive. There were people coming from Kamloops and Merritt to volunteer and wanting to know before they left how to make sure they are included next year,” Rolph said.
“Of course the local people are amazing. There were new people who hadn’t volunteered before who were so excited, not only at the start, but more importantly at the end, which means they had a good experience.”
More young people volunteered this year as well, Rolph added.
As for the weather, it was just about perfect, Rolph suggested.
“If it gets too hot then it’s hard on everybody, including the animals and the contestants and the volunteers. Then people want to go the lake because it’s 35 degrees out, and you can’t blame them.”
“The temperatures were good and the rain came at the right time to keep the dust down and yet didn’t interfere with the rodeo or the night events.”
Friday and Saturday’s beer gardens at the Let R Buck Saloon were also a success, with everyone having fun to the bands rocking out at night, and the local performers were “a hit,” Rolph said.
Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Del Byron said it was a good weekend in th city as far as policing goes.
“We had about 115 people in cells during the weekend, but that was about it,” Byron said, adding at one point there were 40 people in cells at one time.