Because of the speedy action of the rodeo committee and some dedicated barrel racers the Elks rodeo wasn’t a washout and drew record crowds over the Victoria Day long weekend.
Although the area desperately needed it, rainfall overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning almost flooded the rodeo grounds.
“Early this morning we thought it was going to be a total washout,” Reggie Reichert, longtime Elks member and rodeo volunteer said Sunday.
Rodeo committee members along with barrel racers dug trenches through the rodeo grounds to try to channel the water away. Once the rain stopped a decision was made to bring in sand to try to sop up some of the excess water so the grounds were safe for the equine athletes.
“What was going to turn out to be a real disaster was avoided because of the quick action of the rodeo committee and because of the help of those barrel racers.”
The rodeo was delayed about an hour but spectators were “very supportive,” Reichert said.
“We can’t thank them enough. They stuck it out and supported us and had a great time and that’s what this event is about, giving something to the community. That’s what it is about.”
While about 600 plus people came into the rodeo each day a team of about 40 volunteers worked tirelessly to feed them behind the scenes.
Elks member Mac Watson said this year there was a mix of volunteers and a dedicated seasoned crew behind the counter.
“Without these people in here we couldn’t put this on every year,” he said.
Over the weekend the dedicated group cooked up breakfast each morning and then homemade french fries, hotdogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, and other delicious treats in the afternoon.
More than 700 pounds of fresh cut french fries were cooked up over the weekend.
“We’re off potatoes for awhile,” John Armstrong, the team’s dedicated potato slicer said while taking a break from cutting.
“It’s only rice for us for quite awhile,” Bob Cornett the crew’s potato washer said with a laugh.
Saturday was a switch up this year as the new program offered barrel racing and team roping. Under blue skies hundreds watched as their favourite amateur rodeo competitor tried his or her best.
Monday the bleachers were packed and many people stood around the fencing for a front row view of the championships.
The day was filled with a few tense moments including when Lewis the small dog decided to run out onto the grounds after a failed attempt in team roping.
The crowd gasped as Lewis ran after the steer with the riders not far behind and was almost trampled several times by the hooves of the horses.
The crowd clapped with relief and delight when little Lewis made it back out of the grounds safely to his owner’s arms.
The calf scramble drew much laughter even before it started as children got caught in the muddy patches of the grounds, with some losing their boots and others falling right in the mud.
“That was worth the price of admission right there,” the announcer said over the loud speakers from the booth.
The weekend also included a dance headlined by local band Timeline and the annual parade and various other events throughout the community.
Results and payouts can be found on page 8.