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

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

Bachrach to donate salary hike to community organizations

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP among growing list of MPs giving raise away amid economic crisis

Coast Mountain College sets up student emergency fund

It’ll provide grocery store gift cards for students affected by COVID-19 crisis

Northern Health moves reefer unit to Mills Memorial

The move is not related to COVID-19

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

Most Read