The 64th Annual Kispiox Rodeo was a huge success last weekend according to organizers, participants and spectators and was packed full of sanctioned rodeo events, fun for children and crowds and lots of coveted buckles designed by Roy Henry Vickers.
The first event this year was on Thursday night with the Queen Contest Horsemanship Competition.
While businesses have been decked out for weeks with the winner being the New Hazelton Bulkley Valley Credit Union, the actual rodeo started with the annual Old Hazelton Rodeo Kick Off party on Friday at lunch with free smokies and fun prizes being handed out for best dressed cowgirl and cowboy and group along with stick horse races and other fun activities.
Friday night was the Rodeo Dance at the Kispiox Rodeo grounds and it was packed with people enjoying the music of Mustang Heart in the Main Hall.
Saturday morning was started with a pancake breakfast with the 4 Fat Fryers followed by horse drawn wagon rides for a few hours before the main events got under way at 1 p.m.
The show started with a performance from the Kispiox Valley Drill team on both days but on the Saturday the horses all showcased Vancouver Canuck logos on their hind quarters to show their support for their team. Furthermore, during the rodeo that day a brave Boston Bruins fan ran into the rink wearing a Boston jersey however she was quickly roped up by wrangler Wayne McNolty and dragged out of the arena which had the crowds cheering.
While rain started to fall during the second half of the day, the stands stayed packed until the end. The day was topped off with the Western Idol Contest in the evening followed by the Family Dance.
Sunday started out once again with a pancake breakfast and wagon rides before the main action started once again in the main arena.
Sun shown most of the day and all but the Bull riding buckles were handed out.
Organizer Joy Allen said overall it was another great rodeo weekend in the Kispiox.
“I think it was another great rodeo and the weather cooperated especially on Sunday, we had good crowds and our sponsors are so fantastic that we are able to put up some really great prize money which has drawn a lot of cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country,” she said. “We had Canadian Champions here in almost every event and it’s just a remarkable reflection of our committee and the hard work they put in to making this event what it is. Our community is second to none and when I say community I don’t just mean the Kispiox Valley, it’s the Hazelton’s, Smithers and all the surrounding areas. We had volunteers calling from Gitsegukla, Kitwanga, Smithers and Terrace and one even flew in all the way from Vancouver and worked at the beef barbecue so it’s not just a Kispiox Rodeo, it’s an event that has inspired people from all over British Columbia and especially our Canuck fans.”
A big hit amongst the spectators this year was the addition of two new events, the Wild Horse Race and the Wild Pony Race which had the crowds cheering and laughing on both days. For many, they had never seen such an event and some people were doubled over with fits of laughter watching the cowboys and cowgirls trying to first hold on to a wild horse and then trying to put a saddle on and ride. While there were some successes, the complete mayhem in the arena was highly entertaining Allen said.
“We had a couple new events that we thought we would try and one is the Wild Horse Race which is sanctioned by the Wild Horse race that has a Canadian Finals,” she explained. “Along with that we had the kids miniature wild horse race and it was a crowd favourite.”
In addition to the Canadian Champion competitors and Rodeo Queens, NHL Montreal goaltender, Carie Price returned to the rodeo this year to compete in the team roping event to the sheer delight of both organizers and fans.
“This was my first rodeo of the year and I always look forward to it,” Price said. “This is my third time here and all the people are really great.”
As for local competitors, many from the northwest landed in the money last weekend and a few even walked away with the highly coveted buckles. Complete results are as follows: the Saddle Bronc was won by Steve Hohman from Quesnel, Bare Back went to local Smithers cowboy, Nesls McIntyre , Calf Roping winner was Virgil Poffenroth, Alkali Lake, Steer Wrestling went to Willie Twan, Williams Lake, Breakaway Roping went to the team of Allison Everett, 150 Mile and Charlie Soffel, Vanderhoof, Team Roping winners were Ty Lytton and Ryan McNaughton, Kamloops, Ladies Barrel Racing buckle went to Judy Hyde, Prince George, Junior Barrel Racing winner was Brett Wills, Jr. Steer Riding was taken by K.C. Spiers, Williams Lake, Jr. Breakaway Roping was local Houston cowgirl Kirsten Bell, Cowhide Race was captured by Mike Gill, Williams Lake and Kaleigh Allen, Kispiox Valley, the first time Wild Horse Race was won by the Zimmerlee Team, Williams Lake with the Kids Wild Pony Race winners were the Martin Team, Williams Lake
Musical Chairs was won by Kispiox’s Kaleigh Allen, Rescue Race winners were Houston locals, Tanisha Baldwin and John Vandermooren, Ride & Lead went to hometown cowgirl, Kaleigh Allen, All Around Cowboy was Steve Hohman, Quesnel, All Around Cowgirl was Allison Everett, 150 Mile with the All Around Jr. going to Houston’s Kirsten Bell, Men’s Sportsmanship winner was Gary Nicholson, Quesnel, Ladies Sportsmanship was Kaleigh Allen, Kispiox Valley and Jr. Sportsmanship was Kyle Bell, Houston.
Next week the Interior News will feature a photo page with highlights from the events.