A very colourful Garrett Mack takes part in the Businessman's Cow Ride

Valley Ridge Riders celebrate 31st Annual Bella Coola Rodeo

Intermittent rain didn’t dampen the mood at the 31st Annual Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo, held on the July long weekend.

Intermittent rain didn’t dampen the mood at the 31st Annual Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo, held on the July long weekend.

The weekend kicked off with an open gymkhana on Friday afternoon. Contestants of all ages competed in the five traditional events of Keyhole, Polebending, Stake Race, Scurries, and Barrel Racing, cheered on by an impressive crowd of spectators. Winners of the respective High Point titles and buckles for the gymkhana were Justine Billyboy – Peewee; Nate Graham & Kaydence Charlieboy – Intermediate (a sibling tie); Sydney Schuk – Junior; and Taylor Cherry – Open.

The Rodeo performances, held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, were also attended by an impressive crowd that cheered particularly loudly as local contestants were introduced to compete in their respective events. This year ‘local’, or ‘formerly local’ contestants were entered in the saddle bronc, barrel racing, pole-bending, steer riding, #8 and open team roping, and bull riding events, in addition to the wild cow milking and businessman’s cow riding, that comprise the traditionally local events. The two one-day BCRA rodeo format ensured a large pool of contestants, necessitating a ‘slack’ (overflow), in the morning of each of the performance days.

The Saturday and Sunday crowds were entertained and engaged all afternoon by the outstanding stock provided by DnB Rodeo; veteran announcer Brian Baldry; and by numerous opportunities to participate and enjoy the weekend’s events: from Cow Patty Bingo, to dancing, to Rodeo Burgers and beer.  Speaking of dancing, local was the continuing theme during the evenings as well, with local band AKA providing a great mix of country and classic rock music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Monday afternoon’s activities included BCBRA barrel racing, a team roping jackpot, and a steer riding and bull riding Calcutta.

In addition to the entertainment value, BCBRA races allow local and non-local contestants to fill their race cards, confirming their eligibility to attend the BCBRA Finals in late summer. The steer riding, team roping, and bull riding events are ‘jackpots’, where contestants can enter just before competing, in hopes of winning the substantial pot of entry fee and added money.  This year’s Monday buckle winners were: Team Roping: Roy Cherry & Darius Kruger; Steer Riding: Tyler Cherry; Bull Riding; Ty Hamill.

The Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders would like to thank all of the contestants, sponsors, spectators, and volunteers that made our 31st Annual Rodeo possible. A huge thank you also, to the supporters of the fundraising raffle. The lucky winner of the helicopter ride was Greg Cherry, and the lucky winner of the Pacific Coastal Tickets was Dwayne Gordon (Ming).