Next week the world class Kispiox Rodeo is gearing up to put on another crowd pleasing event despite the recent cancellations of several big rodeos in the both British Columbia and Alberta after reports of a respiratory virus that affected horses surfaced.
While the disease called bEHV-1, otherwise known as horse herpes, poses no threat to humans, it is highly contagious to animals such as horses, llamas and alpacas. All the animals need to do is breathe on one another to spread the disease which is why so many rodeos in the south are holding off on their events.
The United States has reported 30 cases in Idaho, Utah, California, Washington and Colorado and of these, three horses are reported to have died from the virus. Last weekend there were three horses from Vernon that attended the Utah event that are now suspected to have the virus as well.
To date in the province, 100 Mile House’s annual Little Britches rodeo, South Cariboo Rodeo Association Rough Stock Rodeo and District Outriders Gymkhana have postponed until a later date.
However, at this time organizers of the Kispiox Valley Rodeo are only aware of one confirmed case in Alberta, which is the closest.
They say if they start to get a lot of cancellations they may consider postponing the event but at this time it is a go for sure.
On the weekend two rodeos in Cloverdale and Falkland did go ahead as planned.
As for the Kispiox rodeo, local contestants are gearing up and getting excited as they plan to try and take the buckle in front of their hometown crowds.
Rodeo events get underway on Friday with the main competitions starting on Saturday with finals on Sunday.
There is a lot of entertainment for people of all ages with things such as mutton busting and stick horse races and the calf cash grab for the children and of course the big events for the rest of the spectators are usually the bull riding and the bronc and saddle back competitions. Barrel racing, pole pending and other crowd pleasers such as the rescue and cowhide race are also a go again this year.
Then there is the huge Kispiox Valley Drill team with more than 25 riders this year who always put on a top notch performance.