While many were preoccupied with SkyFest and ArtsWells this weekend, rodeo aficionados in the know had their attention focused on the goings on at Alex Fraser Park.
The B.C. Team Roping Association held its annual finals in Quesnel this year. While it has often taken place in the Gold Pan City, last year’s competition had to be held up north for fear of fire interference.
“They were held in Fort St. John for one year but are now back for good hopefully,” says Quesnel Team Roping Club president Gary Nicholson.
Nicholson is one of many who share the sentiment, as there were some unhappy cowboys when the event was held so far away from where it normally is.
“We’ve got to build it back up again,” says Nicholson. “A lot of guys got disgruntled with us going up north last year, so it’ll take a little time to get them back, but it’ll be bigger next year.”
Looking at the Alex Fraser Park’s adjoining field, it would not have seemed like it was a small event by any means.
Trailers and RVs packed the lot for the four days (Aug. 2-5) the roping events were being held.
While Friday saw some competitors take part in a warm-up roping, Nicholson says there were almost 260 roping teams competing on Saturday, approximately the same amount on Sunday and 280 teams trying their hand at some money — and bragging rights — on Monday.
There was over $4,000 added prize money being given out for each number, so the rewards were lucrative for those who could manage a solid run or two.
Quesnel’s Dustin Shields won a saddle in the open competition on Saturday afternoon with a partner from Williams Lake.
“First-place money paid ever $2,000 plus a saddle, so it was a pretty good pay day for some guys,” says Nicholson.