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

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Good news for Barriere regarding municipal water wells

The District of Barriere’s June 1, 2020, regular council meeting was open… Continue reading

TNRD advises disposal fees back in place at Eco Depot

Disposal fees are now back in place for household garbage at all… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

“Sorry, no Pancakes with June 14 Cowboy Church,” say Fall Fair and Barriere Lions Club

Cowboy Church still a go, but no Lions Breakfast due to COVID-19 regulations says Interior Health

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Most Read