Overcast skies and light morning rain broke in time for Saturday’s “Bulls and Barrels” event at the Keremeos Elks rodeo grounds.
This year marked a departure from the normal running of rodeo events, with the main rodeo schedule taking place on Sunday and Monday this year.
Indeed, the rodeo had a slightly different feel to it this year, from the parking lot attendant conducting a visitor survey to a noticeable increase in publicity for the event, to Saturday night’s dance, the first in years. The rodeo committee obviously put a lot of work – and new ideas into the event this year.
Saturday actually turned out to be a good afternoon, weather wise, for the light crowd that trickled through the gates throughout the afternoon. Calm winds, with broken cloud cover – and the rain, threatening down valley, stayed away for the remainder of the day.
The bulls weren’t so kind to the cowboys, however, as an program of 32 rides ended with only four qualifying.
Cowboy Ira Pierce of Williams Lake was transported to the Keremeos Diagnostic and Treatment Centre late in the afternoon after suffering an injury courtesy of Stubby George, his bull.
It seemed to be that kind of an day for most of the cowboys, many of whom barely made it out of the chute before ending up on the ground. But then again, nobody said that riding 1,500-2,000 pounds of attitude and temper was an easy task.
The ladies event also suffered from a lack of competitive times. The best time of the afternoon went largely unchallenged by 31 other racers, several of whom were disqualified by their recalcitrant mounts.
This year’s rodeo also featured the debut of rodeo clown Josh “Slick” Sheppard , who provided a bit of levity to a sometimes less than riveting performance of man and beast. His mock performance of Evel Knievel – motorcycle jumping a series of “trucks” brought wry smiles to many.
Coming back to rodeo weekend for the first time in more than a decade was the Saturday night dance, which took place at Victory Hall. Flashback played to a packed hall.
Improving weather on Sunday and Monday no doubt enticed many to come to Keremeos, and it was evidenced by much fuller stands for both days of the regular rodeo events.