Organizers have made the difficult decision to cancel what was scheduled to be this year’s 30th Annual Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo. (Photo submitted)

First BCRA-sanctioned rodeo cancelled due to COVID-19

President Kelly Walls said it is with heavy hearts that the WLIRA has made the decision

The first British Columbia Rodeo Association rodeo signalling the start of the rodeo season in the province has been cancelled.

Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo Association president Kelly Walls said it is with heavy hearts that the WLIRA has made the decision to cancel its 30th annual spring rodeo due to COVID-19.

“Following the guidelines of health authorities, and out of concern and care for everyone’s safety, we are exercising an abundance of caution in dealing with the novel coronavirus,” Walls said.

“It is of utmost importance to limit or slow the spread of the illness in our community — in all communities.”

Each year a dedicated group of hard-working volunteers in Williams Lake come together to make the event a memorable one.

The WLIR at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex kicks off the first event of the British Columbia Rodeo Association (BCRA) season, and is anticipated by athletes, fans and stock contractors, along with various vendors, every year.

Annually, thousands of fans from Williams Lake and abroad attend the rodeo.

Walls noted the rodeo is also a powerful opportunity for many local businesses who sponsor the event.

READ MORE: 29th Annual Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo in the books

“We’ve had many of the same loyal sponsors year in and year out,” she said. “We do our level best to bring awareness to and promote those sponsors with our advertising, because we genuinely appreciate their support and contributions.”

She said the loss from not hosting the rodeo will be felt among retailers, restaurants, hotels and fuel suppliers.

Additionally, entertainment and the annual WLIR barn dance has become a tradition for many in the community. Walls said there is no other event quite like it.

“We’ve proudly sponsored the ‘Safe Ride Home’ program for several years,” said Janna Gertzen, owner of Adventure Charters inter-city bus service, which has buses parked outside the arena making several, scheduled shuttle trips throughout the night to safely transport patrons from the beverage gardens and dance to their homes.

“We certainly understand why the rodeo had to be cancelled this year, but it’s sad, and a definite loss for the region.”

Walls added there are always new challenges when organizing any event, but this is a unique one.

She said the WLIRA board of directors has vowed to make the best use of the additional time they’ll have this year, to continue to grow and improve the event.

“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and we look forward to seeing you in 2021,” she said.



sports@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusRodeo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Construction for New Denver child care centre on time and on budget

The child care centre is set to open on September 8 at Lucerne Elementary School

Creston flour mills overwhelmed by COVID-19 demand

Flour shortage highlights region’s grain insecurity

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read