Day two of this Canadian adventure. My kind hosts were eager to inform me that today marked the Williams Lake Stampede. The most highlighted time of the year for locals and neighbours in the surrounding rural areas.
I expected rodeo bull riding cowboys, but was told there would be other dramatic events throughout the day too.
It was a hot day with barely a cloud in the late June sky. People of all ages, many wearing cowboy hats were starting to pile into the stadium, and many were carrying overly large ice-creams that I later decide I would indulge in too.
After parking up, we drifted through the various stalls that are located outside the main arena. Most sold festival style paraphernalia including one stall that sold vintage sign’s, after previously taking a vouch of alcohol abstinence this one above others made me smile the most.
The $18 (£12) entry fee seemed fairly cheap for what would be a full afternoons entertainment, although the stadium seats were by no means comfortable for hours at a time.
Ten minutes after locating our seats the Texas sounding broadcasters voice came booming out of the tannoy sounding like a Southern American wrestling commentator, ‘LLLLADIES AND GENTLEMEN! Good afternoon and welcome to you’re main event! One of only two of its kind in the whole of Canada! THE WILLIAMS LAKE STAAAAMPEEEEDE!!’
Half of the 3000 strong audience began to holler and hoot whilst everybody clapped and the stunt motor cyclists started their engines.
Specially designed stunt ramps had been put in place, perfectly set at the right width for the two acrobatic stunt riders to do their flips and somersaults through the air.
Next came the cowgirls waving their flags as they all came in alignment for the national anthem.
Each event seen heroic cowboys getting launched as the horses and bulls tried the hardest to shake them off. As well as rodeo events there were horse races and even one particular section where they had to lasso a cow, get some milk from it and the first cowboy back to the stand won. They weren’t small prizes either with the winner of each event taking home several thousand dollars.
Snacks and refreshments were priced reasonably and there were cowboys and cowgirls there to meet and greet at the end of the day for autograph and merchandise signing.