The weather forecast leading up to this year’s May long weekend looked anything but promising for Keremeos Elks Rodeo fans.
The fact that weather forecasters predicted a dismal, rain filled weekend may have had something to do with less than stellar attendance for Saturday’s Keremeos Elks Rodeo events.
This year’s Saturday offerings represented a change from past years, when rodeo events were held on Saturday and Sunday, with the bulls and barrels feature taking place on Monday. This year, the rodeo events happened on Sunday and Monday, following the traditional Elks Rodeo Parade, which is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. along Seventh Avenue.
The 2014 Keremeos rodeo was dedicated to longtime Elks member and rodeo volunteer Joe Riechert, who died May 2.
Levi Laulor of Quesnel finished in first place following the bull riding event Saturday, with 162 points.
An intermission show featured the Marron Valley Drill Team, with more than two dozen ladies competing in the barrels program Saturday afternoon.
Saturday evening’s dance at Victory Hall was also disppointing in terms of attendance.
Word on the street was that too many venues offered live entertainment on Saturday night, limiting the number of residents turning out to the dance. At least four outlets in Keremeos were offering live entertainment Saturday evening.
Police reported a relatively quiet night, saying that a visible police presence on Seventh Avenue resulted in several more vehicles than usual left parked in the streets over night.
Sunday’s weather forecast was also away off base, skies turning mostly sunny with shirtsleeve weather in the afternoon. A few minor showers appeared in the late afternoon, causing relatively little inconvenience to a strong turnout for Sunday’s rodeo events.
The steak supper in Memorial Park attracted about the same number as last year, feeding approximately 330 satisfied carnivores.
“Where else can you get a full steak dinner, with all the trimmings, for $10?” asked Keremeos Councillor Jeremey Evans.
The Keremeos Community Church also offered live music Sunday night at Memorial Park, after holding Sunday morning services in the tent set up in Memorial Park.
The Similkameen’s famous winds were present throughout the weekend. Firemen’s Pancake Breakfast patrons, as well as Sunday night steak diners had to have a firm grip on their eating utensils, especially towards the end of the meal, when plates and cups became lighter.
Firemen enjoyed typical turnouts for Sunday and Monday’s breakfast offerings, serving over 400 breakfasts each day.
The rodeo parade featured Keremeos’ newly crowned Ambassadors, in addition to a strong mix of floats, antique vehicles, and local business entries. The downtown blocks between Seventh and Fourth Streets were lined with hundreds of citizens who turned out to have a look and support the event.
Monday’s rodeo events saw a moderate turnout to the grandstands as the rodeo grounds played host to a lighter schedule of events.
Master of Ceremonies Allen Parsons and J.J. Harrison, rodeo clown, continued to keep the crowd entertained between events during each day of the rodeo, in a partnership that seems to improve with each year at the Keremeos Rodeo.
All in all, the weekend went pretty well, compared to what might have been had the weather forecast played out more accurately.