Valley Ridge Rider's Caroline Granander accepts a generous donation from the WLDCU's Georg Oberprieler

Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club secures funding to continue facilities upgrade

Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club secures funding to continue facilities upgrade

The Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club (VRR) wrapped up another busy year with its Annual General Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held on December 16th, at the Royal Canadian Legion, in Hagensborg.

Among the years’ highlights was an update for members on successful efforts to secure funding to allow the Club to move forward with upgrades to its facilities at Walker Island. To this end, confirmation was recently received of a generous contribution from the Williams Lake and District Credit Union (WLDCU) Community Investment Fund. The WLDCU Community Investment Fund is a grant funding initiative intended to help local communities achieve greater economic success and improve the quality of life within the WLDCU service region. The funding program has been essential in allowing local not-for-profits, such as the VRR, to improve facilities and offer programs that might not otherwise be available in the community.

The WLDCU contribution will be used to continue with improvements to the facilities at Walker Island, and specifically, to replace the old wooden (and rotting) team/calf roping pens and alleyways, with a refurbished steel “herring bone” delivery system. The herring bone system allows for the quick and easy sorting of steers for “roping end” events, including the team and tie-down roping, as well as breakaway roping and steer wrestling.

The announcement of the successful application to the Community Investment Fund represents the third time that VRR has been awarded funding by WLDCU.  It is not the only success this year, however. The Central Coast Regional District (CCRD) approved a Grant-in-Aid for the Club, and two separate private donations equaling the CCRD’s award were also received. The VRR would like to express its sincere appreciation to Dianne and Maurice Tuck, and Michelle and Matt Absatz, as well as to the CCRD, for their generous contributions toward the purchase and installation of the herring bone system.

Another major VRR initiative that will be included as part of the facility upgrade for the coming year is the replacement of the old bucking (rough stock) chutes. The British Columbia Rodeo Association (BCRA), approving entity for the Bella Coola Valley Rodeo, has identified replacement of the bucking chutes as a priority in order to ensure approval of the annual event into the future. Efforts to secure funding for replacement of the bucking chutes will continue in 2014.

In addition to reporting on facilities upgrades and grant funding, other AGM highlights included the approval of a resolution to send a letter to the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, urging reconsideration of the recent decision to eliminate BC Ferries Route 40 service to the Bella Coola Valley. The Annual Rodeo makes a significant contribution to the local economy, and in turn, many local businesses support the Rodeo. Directors felt it prudent that VRR add its voice to those in support of the continuation of local ferry service.

The final item of business for the meeting was the election of directors. The process of election of members to the nine-seat Board of Directors is staggered, with four seats available to be filled for 2014. Three incumbents were elected to another two-year term, and they were joined by first time director, Wendy Kingsley. Welcome Wendy!

Those in attendance recognized the ongoing efforts of this community organization, as well as enjoying a visit with neighbours, as planning commenced for another successful rodeo and riding season in 2014. The Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club would like to express our sincere appreciation to all our volunteers and sponsors in 2013. We look forward to seeing you again in 2014 for our 29th Annual Rodeo!