The sun shone down on the Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders this past weekend, as the local club celebrated its 30th Annual Rodeo, on June 27th and 28th. By all appearances, this year’s rodeo attracted a record number of contestants, and drew the now familiar praise from “regulars” and newcomers alike.
The festivities kicked off on Friday afternoon, with an open gymkhana, featuring cash prizes and buckles for the high point winners in each of four age-based categories. Contestants competed in five events: Keyhole, Polebending, Stake Race, Scurries, and Barrel Racing.
While the weekend weather was hot and dry, contestants and spectators took advantage of a range of cold drinks and treats from the concession stand and beer garden, before heating things up again in the open air dances hall, with live music provided by Chilcotin Dreams. Saturday night’s dance was particularly well attended, and the floor of the dance hall is now well polished!
On Saturday and Sunday, rodeo action got underway in the afternoon with performances approved by the British Columbia Rodeo Association (BCRA). For the fourth year in a row, the local rodeo format featured two full one-day rodeos. Entries were so high that a “slack” had to be scheduled for both days, in order to accommodate all the contestants.
In addition to the standard events that make up the regular rodeo performances, the Valley Ridge Riders hosted a number of novelty events encouraging local participation. While the very popular Businessman’s Cow Ride had to be cancelled, due to a limited availability of cows, Wild Cow Milking, a Calf Scramble for the kids, and the most popular “event” with spectators, the Cow Patty Bingo were all enjoyed as usual. A few lucky locals went home with bigger-than-average smiles as a result of these novelty events.
As this story goes to press, the Valley Ridge Riders are preparing to host both a Steer and Bull-A-Rama on Monday afternoon. Top cowboys will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, before taking their turn in the short go. British Columbia Barrel Racing Association (BCBRA) races will round out Monday’s activities, along with a Jackpot Team Roping.
This year’s rodeo performances featured five local contestants, each of whom put in a respectable showing, across a range of events. Veteran local barrel racer, Vickie Tuck, competed on both days, along with almost-still-locals, Dave Enderud, in the saddle bronc, and Marcus Apps, in the bull riding. Junior cowgirl Rachel Chatham took home money both days in the junior barrel racing, and Isaac Mack tied for second money in the junior steer riding on Saturday, and won the event on Sunday, with a stellar 78 point ride. Congratulations to all contestants, and in particular to the local contestants, for your committed and entertaining representation of our community, and for showing us all that it can be done!
Of course, a full weekend of excitement and entertainment requires a lot of work behind the scenes, and the VRR Rodeo is no exception. While a few of the participants are professionals who make their living in rodeo, the vast majority are volunteers, many people put the weekend together, and many more enjoy the final result. The Valley Ridge Riders would like to thank them all! Without the support of the community, and the dedication of rodeo families, it couldn’t be done. Congratulations to the Valley Ridge Riders on another successful rodeo. Long May You Run!