Rodeo fans can expect a stacked lineup spread over five performances this weekend when the Williams Lake Stampede rides into town.
And Roy Call, manager of C+ Rodeos — the longtime bucking stock provider for Stampede — is busy making all the final preparations to ensure spectators won’t go home without witnessing heroics — both on the part of cowboys and their animal counterparts.
“We’ll be bringing six liner loads to get all the stock in there,” Call said. “That’s about 100 horses, probably the better part of 40 bulls, then another 100 head of cattle for the timed events. It’s a full week project for us.”
For this year’s Stampede, entries have been limited to the top 60 cowboys in North America, leaving 12 contestants per event to provide the best competitors to match up with C+ Rodeos’ stock.
“Bareback riding is ridiculous all the way through,” Call said. “We’ve been involved for 30 years and this is by far the most talented group we’ve seen. You’re going to need to [score] 82 or better to even have a chance at winning.”
Horses to lookout for, Call said, are Ginger, Billy and Smokin’ Gun.
“All those horses have been Canadian Finals horses in the past and they’ve all had great seasons — [people have scored] 85 or better. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be the best event at the rodeo.”
In bronc riding, Call pointed to several pairings to watch, including a world champion, Cody Demoss of Heflin, Louisiana, who will be on one of C+ Rodeos’ premiere bucking horses, Dusty, during the Saturday afternoon rodeo performance.
“That’d be worth the price of admission that day,” Call said. “That’s the event to watch.”
Clay Elliott, originally of Vernon and now living in Nanton, Alta., drew Kiss ‘n Kate, another ride that will take place during Saturday’s rodeo.
“He could do really well,” Call said. “That young man is in the top 20 in the world right now.”
On Sunday, another former world champion, Wade Sundell of Coleman, Oklahoma, will be on Con Man — another ride Call said should be phenomenal — while Kamloops’ Cole Scott will be on Pay Day, a Canadian Finals horse, Friday evening.
In bull riding, a strong group of contestants, including a few former world champions, will round out the field.
Call said this year will feature the debut of several young bulls they’ve been raising over the past few years.
“We’ve raised them right here in Williams Lake,” Call said. “We’re proud of them — a lot of our young bulls are just getting famous, and we’ve got a couple black bulls that are spectacular.”
Canadian Finals Rodeo contestant Jesse Torkelson of Warburg, Alta., will highlight Saturday’s bull riding event, drawing Blacklist.
“He’s [Blacklist] a bull we’ve raised for four years, and he’s had two years [in rodeo,]” Call said. “He hasn’t been ridden to the whistle yet.”
Wesley Silcox from Santaquin, Utah, also a former world champion, will be paired with FBB — a six-year-old brindle bull Call said should put on a good show.
“Wesley had an 85 on him [at the Grand Prairie Stompede May 27-31],” he said. “He’s pretty bucky, but Wesley can ride anything with hair. He’s a guy you don’t get a chance to see very often but when you do, something good happens.”
On Monday, 150 Mile House brothers Reid and Kyle Lozier are slated to bull ride.
“Reid will be on Ill Will — a young brindle and a really good spinner — and he could get a pretty good cheque,” Call said. “Kyle has Crowbar, and he’s a damn good bull, too — just really gassy and a good spinner.”
Kyle has been on a hot streak as of late and is coming off a win at the Grand Prairie Stompede last month.
“He’s just outside the top 10 in Canada right now,” Call said. “Both Lozier brothers are healthy right now and riding good again.”
Monday will also feature Tyler Tomson of Black Diamond, Alta., who will be on another one of C+ Rodeos’ premiere bulls, High Roller.
“He’s a bull we’ve used as a breeding bull. There’s a bunch of calves of him in the draw, too, and they’re all spectacular. Tyler’s had the bull before and won some big cheques with 85 or more. He’s a cool bull and Tyler likes him and gets along with him well.”
Williams Lake Stampede performances go Friday at 12:45 p.m. and at 6:45 p.m., Saturday at 1:45 p.m., Sunday at 1:45 p.m. and Monday at 12:45 p.m.