Skip to content

Williams Lake 95th Annual Stampede Saturday performance sold out

Hometown hero Rick Hansen thanked the volunteers for bringing the community together

The Saturday performance of the 95th Annual Williams Lake Stampede attracted a sold-out crowd, with many donning red to celebrate Canada Day.

“All of us here know that Canada is a country that is welcoming to people from all over the world,” said hometown hero Rick Hansen as he addressed the crowd from the VIP seating.

“I want to congratulate all the Stampede directors for all their hard work in bringing this together so that we can be entertained and see the best from around the world.”

Hansen noted “it is the sense of community that makes this country proud. What better way to celebrate than to be here for the Stampede.”

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor thanked everyone who volunteers to put on the Stampede and thanked Hansen for coming to Williams Lake.

This year’s recipients of lifetime passes Bruce Lennox and Cindy Brady were honoured in a short statement that was read out about each of them. Lennox has moved away and was unable to attend the Stampede this year, but Brady rode a horse-pulled wagon.

Families of long-time Stampede volunteers the late Willie Crosina and Wilf Smith were presented a Stampede poster. Crosina and Smith are both depicted in the poster, which was created by local artist Tiffany Jorgensen, who was also presented a poster.

The 2023 inductees to the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame were also announced and acknowledged and included John Young, working cowboy, Allan Macdonnell, horseman, Bill Pulver, pioneer and Reg Steward, builder of western culture.

The rodeo itself got off to a rough start when the first contestant in the bareback event and the horse he was riding crashed within seconds of the ride.

A truck arrived to transport the horse to a vet, but when the horse saw some men planned to put it in tarp for transport, it suddenly stood up, causing the crowd to cheer.

The horse seemed a bit disoriented, but it recovered and the pickup men herded the horse out of the arena.

Later in the afternoon rodeo announcer Tyson Pietsch said the horse was doing OK and was grazing in the field with the other horses.

Another tense moment occurred during the Mountain Race when one of the riders, Darren Sulin, veered to the left of the first hill on the trail, eventually falling off his horse.

Before the end of the afternoon, Pietsch announced that Sulin and his horse were OK as well.

Matina Callison, [Durfeld], returned to her hometown from Kamloops to compete in the Wild Cowgirl Race and came first Saturday, followed by Megan Sam in second in a tight finish.

Callison has won the race in the past.

For the first time ever there was a contest before the bull riding, where a team of RCMP members and a team of Williams Lake Fire Department members raced to set up the fencing that goes up for the bull riding.

It was an idea drummed up by Stampede president Court Smith in conversation with RCMP Staff Sgt. Brad McKinnon.

A challenge went out from the RCMP to the Williams Lake Fire Department to see whose team could put up the fencing the quickest. There was $1,500 as part of the competition for the winners and losers to donate to a charity.

Each team had help from the pros who normally put out the fencing and the fire department team won.

The third performance of the Stampede is Sunday, beginning at 1:45 p.m.

It will include the finals of the Mountain Race and the Wild Cowgirls Race as well as rounds of the other events to determine who the final winners are.

On Saturday there were only two bull riders - Edgar Durazo and Jett Lambert.

Lambert’s ride qualified, earning him 80.5 points.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
Read more