The 22nd Annual Interlakes Rodeo, which was sanctioned by the British Columbia Rodeo Association, on Aug. 4-5 was another huge success.
Noting it was the hottest rodeo weekend he can recall in the seven years he’s been involved in the event, Jim Zailo, one of the key organizers, says he believes it had a lot to do with the crowd numbers being down this year. He adds they got around 1,000 to 1,200 for the two days, when they have been getting upwards of 1,400 recently.
“It was a little slower than we’re accustomed to on both days. I can understand why; it’s lake country out here, and when it’s hot, people want to be at the lake.”
He adds they rely on the tourists and the seasonal residents to fill the stands.
However, Zailo says the Interlakes Rodeo is a “well-oiled machine” and it’s going to go regardless and be the same great show it always is.
“Everyone knows their jobs and it runs as smooth as silk. Again this year, we had no animals hurt and no competitors hurt, so that’s a huge thing and we’re delighted with that.”
Noting the rodeo grounds have been refurbished this year, he says their sponsors have been fabulous, and they received a lot of compliments from the competitors and fans alike.
Zailo says there were some local competitors this year, but they finished out of the prizes.
The bull riding entries were down a little bit this year, but they got a lot of competitors for all other events.
Despite the heat, he says the rough stock was good again this year. While there isn’t a lot of shade at the rodeo grounds, Zailo explains they were well watered.
Danny Lytton, who recently passed away, was honoured both days, as his good friend Gary Cleveland led a riderless horse around the arena at the start of the shows.
Zailo says it’s always a challenge getting enough local volunteers to help during the rodeo and it’s mostly due to timing.
“A lot of the ranchers here are into hay production for their stock and it coincides with the rodeo almost right on the nail head every year. So it’s tough as far as the cowboy go because they’re working ranchers.
“We need real cowboys to help handle the rough stock during the rodeo because we can’t have city slickers who don’t have the knowledge to deal with those animals.”
However, Zailo explains the stock contractor – WWE out of Salmon Arm – always brings some extra cowboys to fill in.
Overall, Zailo says he is pleased with this year’s rodeo.
“I just want to express a heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers and sponsors.”
Ryan Jasper of Riske Creek received the Royal LePage 100 Mile Realty buckle as the men’s All-Around cowboy.
Laura James of Kamloops was awarded the Safeway buckle for being the All-Around Cowgirl. She also won the 100 Mile Feed & Ranch Montana Silversmiths jewelry for winningLadies Barrel Racing.
Kyle Bell of Houston got the Gordon Brown Memorial Buckle, presented by Steve Brown, for winning the Junior High-Point Youth.
K.C. Spiers from Vanderhoof received the Just Horse’n Around Buckle for winning Junior Steer Riding.
McKenzie Wills of Quesnel got the Lazy B Tack halter for winning Junior Barrel Racing.
B.J. Isnardy of Cache Creek received the Backroad Signs clothing for taking first in Junior Breakaway Roping.