Are you looking for a cultural experience to complement your wilderness adventure?
British Columbia is filled with many diverse cultures, and to compliment your stay in BC and Chilcotin Holidays, our province’s western lifestyle and cowboy culture offers a chance to explore with local rodeo events. The community spirit, friendly rivalry and competitive nature are enjoyed by all as rodeos bring everyone, young and old, from all across the globe, together for fun and entertainment, and food. BC holds over 20 sanctioned larger-scale rodeo events of pro, semi-pro and amateur in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. BC also has High School Rodeos and Little Britches Rodeos for youth rodeo riders.
Rodeo developed from the cattle industry where riders looked after and moved their cattle by horseback. They lived off the land and faced challenges every day to keep themselves, their horses and cattle safe and get them back to the city for market. Living close to nature naturally made the cattle industry stewards of the land. If they didn’t look after the land there would be no grazing for their cattle and their industry would collapse.
Rodeos have two kinds of events, the rough stock, riding horses and bulls that want to buck you off, scoring the performances based on how long you stay on the animal and your technique.. Timed events have riders racing against the clock with lassoes flying, horses galloping, and riders roping cows, all trying to be the fastest. Common events are bull riding, bareback and saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down and steer roping as well as barrel racing. Some fancier throw-ins are wild horse races like the 1963 John Wayne movie, McLintock! There is even wild cow milking.
There are several big time Rodeos with Pro events, the Williams Lake Stampede, which is held at the end of June, and Armstrong at the end of August. These events run for 4-5 days and fill your day with fun. From start to finish, the smells of BBQ and sounds from the events will keep you on the go. Taking in agriculture exhibits lets you explore the cattle industry culture with friendly people and livestock filled barns, bring the farm to you. These events are for the community, the people, and a big part is getting youth involved. Smaller local rodeos, including some Indigenous ones offer a more personal experience where you can get closer to the action.
The high school rodeo follows the school year, with finals held in spring, each rider competing for a chance at scholarship funding for after graduation. Community is a culture, and teaching youth to work for it, give back, and help others is passing the culture on. The little britches rodeo offers a great family venue for teaching teamwork, comradeship, respect and responsibility of animals and a sense of self-worth. Rodeo gives you the “I can” excitement, and being part of that is magical. Rodeo is a huge personal development opportunity for riders as they master the skills and techniques to be successful, but also for the spectators who learn what it’s possible to do on horseback.
Attending a rodeo is the perfect compliment to your journey with Chilcotin Holidays and makes a great additional experience, either before or after your time with us. Many rodeos are easily accessible on your drive to or from Vancouver, or along the way if you are travelling further north.
Contact us for a list of this year’s rodeos.
We can organize a guided trip to local rodeos for a group of 6-8 people, contact us for more information.
Check out our rodeo blog stories on our Trails to Empowerment website:
We watched the broncs first, where the rider rode a bucking horse across the arena, holding on with only one hand, to dismount safely with the help of the pick-up men who rode around the ring. The event comprised bare-back and saddle bronc riding.
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