Rodeo season is here for another year. The Nechako Valley Rodeo takes place April 23 and 24 in Vanderhoof.
Brenda Ferguson is the president of the Nechako Valley Rodeo Association. She says Vanderhoof can expect a lot of visitors next weekend.
“It brings in a lot of people from out of town. We do have a few that compete from Vanderhoof, definitely,” Ferguson says. “We have a lot of ropers that compete from Vanderhoof and a lot of barrel racers, which is awesome. Last year, I think we had 142 competitors. A lot come from out of Vanderhoof.”
Dustin Shields is one of the local competitors. His events are steer wrestling, and the calf and team roping events. He says that, as physically demanding as rodeo is, a huge part of success is all in your head.
“You gotta have such a strong mind game when you go to these rodeos. There’s a whole bunch of people there watching you and you’re on the line to see whether you win or lose.”
Shields is headed to Williams Lake this weekend to compete in their rodeo. He says, despite the competition, those on the circuit become close.
“It’s a big family is what it is. Everybody helps each other out and everybody goes to each rodeo and so you create these friendships that consider it a friendly.”
This is the fourth year of the Vanderhoof Rodeo, following a 14 year hiatus. Ferguson says support from the whole community makes the rodeo possible.
“The businesses in our community are a huge help in the sponsorship portion. We go to the businesses of the community and ask them to help us. If it wasn’t for the local businesses in Vanderhoof, and in outlying areas – Prince George as well is a huge one – if it wasn’t for them, the rodeo wouldn’t be here.”
This year’s program includes the usual roping and riding events, as well as steer wrestling, wild horse racing, wild cow milking and mutton busting, among others. There will even be a genuine rodeo clown to entertain the crowd between events.
The Nechako Valley Rodeo takes place on April 23 and 24 at the Nechako Exhibition Grounds.