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Quesnel home to high school rodeo championships

The zones were the appetizer for this weekend’s Junior provincials

Local youth are racing, roping, bucking and cutting like seasoned veterans. Quesnel was witness to young athletes from all over the north at the regional championships for Grades 6-8 (Juniors) and 9-12 (Seniors) this past weekend.

But there’s more.

May 20-22, Alex Fraser Park is back in action, hosting the provincial Junior High School Rodeo Finals.

Then, on June 8-11 it’s time for the BC High School Rodeo Finals for the older grades.

Anne Lloyd is there cheering on granddaughter Kenzie and grandson Kyder, just like she did her kids before they turned professional.

“There are more Quesnel kids entering than they’ve ever had before,” said Lloyd. “These events are huge for the town, and there are more events now so more kids can find a way to participate.”

Those old favourites are still there, but cowboying is more widely represented now with new disciplines. The list includes barrel racing, steer riding, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, ribbon roping, chute-dogging, goat tying, team roping, pole bending, and of course bullriding.

For several events, there are boys and girls categories, and if there’s not then the girls and boys can go head to head. Part of the upturn in rodeo’s numbers is better inclusion practices than ever before.

Winners can earn their way into the national high school rodeo held this year in Brandon, Manitoba Aug. 3-5, and a couple of American events as well: Perry, Georgia and Gillette, Wyoming.

Now, former Quesnel pro rodeo partners Steve Lloyd and Steve Thiessen are together again, but as coaches. This week they are leading a four-day breakaway roping and tie-down roping clinic, so the pros of tomorrow get the benefit of some experienced mentorship.

For more information about that, email stevenklloyd@hotmail.com.