Big crowds cheered on many local competitors and a new contingent of pro saddle bronc riders during the 54th annual Quesnel Rodeo, held July 19-21 at Alex Fraser Park.
Quesnel Rodeo president Ray Jasper says, overall, they are quite pleased with the addition of the Ram CPRA Saddle Bronc Showdown this year, even though some of the professional riders couldn’t make it here Saturday because they were trying to get here from rodeos in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Idaho.
“Other than that, we had a full contingent on Friday and Sunday, and it was spectacular,” he said. “Eighty seven and a half won it, which is a pretty high mark. It was a really, really good ride. And there was an 84 and some 82s. It was really good. We were really happy.”
Jasper is also very happy with this year’s attendance.
He says the Friday night and Saturday crowds were record crowds, and although Sunday was “a tad down” from normal crowds, it was still a huge crowd. He says last year was probably a record year, and although they haven’t tabulated all the numbers yet, he is pretty sure attendance is even higher this year.
“We’re very pleased,” he said late Monday afternoon after spending the day cleaning up at Alex Fraser Park. “It was mind-blowingly good. We can’t really complain about anything. We thought the whole event was good. We had a real fast-paced rodeo. Our scoreboard people were great to work with — the instant replays and slow motions just add to our event. As a group and from the preliminary feedback we got from people — the competitors, fans, everyone thought it was well done, so we’re pretty happy about it.”
Jasper is grateful to all the volunteers who helped this year.
“It’s really nice when you get good crowds, and you’ve got a volunteer group of probably 50 to 60 people that all come together in specific little areas of spots of work and jobs to do, and at the end of the day, you pull off a big event like that and everybody works in their own capacity to do the job that needs to be done, and we’re able to have a production that we do and service the public with the facilities and make it a good experience for everybody,” he said. “We’re pretty happy with everything.”
For Jasper, the pro saddle bronc riders were the main highlights. He judges rodeos all over the country and sees them often, but that still sticks out for him.
“I see it because I go to other places that have that calibre of bronc riding, but a lot of people don’t see it up close like they did yesterday and the day before, so I think the bronc riding and the really good bucking horses and the really good riders [stick out],” he said. “And it’s just going to grow. We had 25 entries this year, and we’ll get more next year, and we probably won’t cap it.”
Some of the winners this year included Josh Cahill of Clinton and Levi Hughes of Abbotsford in team roping with a 6.2, followed by a three-way tie for second with the teams of Chad Evenson of Pritchard and Steve Lloyd of Quesnel, Tim Terepocki of Cache Creek and Ty Lytton of 100 Mile House, and Ryan McNaughton of Quesnel and Dustin Shields of Quesnel with a 6.4.
Keri Mikkelsen of Pritchard won the ladies’ barrel racing with a time of 16.055. Quesnel’s Clayton Honeybourn won the tie down roping with a 10.1, while Wade McNolty of 150 Mile House won the steer wrestling with a 5.1.
Alan Puhallo of Quesnel and his team won the wild horse race, Quesnel’s Chelsea Brears won both flat races and Parallel Welding won the wild cow milking title.