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

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read