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

Breathing always hard for some Comox Valley residents

Regulations on burning due to COVID-19 bring to light ongoing issue of smoke

Comox to Texada ferry run suspended for now as pandemic precaution

BC Ferries not making schedule changes of regular Comox-Powell River route

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read