Work has begun on a new log-covered entranceway into the grandstand at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds.

Work has begun on a new log-covered entranceway into the grandstand at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds.

Upgrades to Stampede Grounds underway

The Williams Lake Stampede Association announced Monday work has begun on a new addition to the Stampede Ground grandstand.

The Williams Lake Stampede Association announced Monday work has begun on a new addition to the Stampede Ground grandstand.

Fred Thomas, president of the WLSA, said work will be completed by late April or early May on a $70,000 new log-covered entranceway into the grandstand.

“We’ve been wanting to do something like this for the last 10 to 15 years to enhance the back of the grandstand to make it more comfortable for the people who take the tickets and the people who come in to buy tickets,” Thomas said. “They don’t have to stand in the rain, or they don’t have to stand in the hot sun.”

In 2009, the WLSA completed work on a completely log-constructed announcer’s booth and box seating area opposite the grandstand.

Thomas said they wanted to continue along with the trend of utilizing log work to enhance the Stampede grounds.

“Last year we renovated our office area and made life better in there,” he said. “This year we wanted to do the rest of it all out of logs to enhance what we’ve done in the rest of the area.

“We’ve had successful years in the last two or three years and we want to put monies back into this facility, make it better and make it more friendly for the future and we wanted to stay with the log concept because this area, Williams Lake, is known for its log construction and timber construction.”

Contractors Ric Durfeld (Durfeld Log and Timber), Daryl Williamson (Daryl’s Contracting) and Tim Lloyd (Tim Lloyd Construction) will be doing the work, based on a concept design from Phil Harrison of Harrison Design.

Jim Byer, assistant to the WLSA board of directors, said those contractors deserve recognition for the work they’ve done on the grounds. Durfeld, in response, said he’s happy to be working with the WLSA.

“We regard it a privilege to be associated with the Stampede association,” Durfeld said. “It’s [the Stampede] a big part of what this country is. My parent’s came here in 1959 and that’s very much what was going on here then was ranching and a certain amount of forestry, so it’s great to be a part of and being able to display that to people.”

Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook and city Coun. Surinderpal Rathor were also on hand for the announcement. Rathor said Williams Lake is lucky to have generous corporate citizens and volunteers living in the community.

“They contribute not only to their own pocket but they contribute to the community,” Rathor said. “I can’t thank the Stampede association enough for how hard they work and how much they generate to the economics of Williams Lake every year.”

Thomas said, in addition to the log work, the WLSA plans to push back the fence behind the grandstand to allow for more space.

“That will give us more area in here for our vendors because our Bronco Buster Trade Fair has really come to life in the last few years,” he said. “We have a tremendous amount of interest from people from outside Williams Lake and they want to come here and be a part of the Stampede. For us to do that we’ve got to make it a little bit bigger back here and a little more secure.

“[For the log work] it’s just a matter of getting the footings and foundations in order and then coming in and erecting the facility and putting the roof on. We’re going to open our office here on May 15 so we want everything tidied up and completed by then.”

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