Stampede out of the gate
There will be plenty of bronc-busting action in Falkland over the May long weekend.
The 96th annual Falkland Stampede is expected to draw a large crowd Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
“It’s a big tradition and there’s a lot of atmosphere,” said Jason Churchill, stampede manager.
About 200 riders are expected this year.
“We have them coming in from all over the world. There are some from the U.S. but the majority are from Alberta and B.C.,” said Churchill, adding that this is the first major outdoor rodeo of the season.
The cowboys and cowgirls will be competing for $40,000 in prize money and there are strict rules to be followed.
The rider is judged on their action, and the animal they are on is judged on its bucking performance. Each judge marks from one to 25 on the rider and 25 on the animal, giving them a total of 50 marks that he might award.
The bucking stock, once again, is being provided by Northcott Rodeo, including Saddle Bronc Horse, Get Smart, Dark Side and Charley Horse.
In bulls, you will see Black Jack, Risky Remedy and Moccasin Bead.
Added to the schedule this year is mini chuckwagon races.
“It will be pretty entertaining and something new to see,” said Churchill.
Beyond the rodeo action, there will be a lot of other activities going on, including an outdoor trade show with about 30 exhibitors.
“There will be tack, log furniture, jewelry, art and local businesses and it’s co-ordinated by Doug Carlson for the Falkland Community Association,” said Ozzie Leaf, stampede director.
On Saturday, Doug Mills will lead a horse training presentation at 11 a.m. while the annual Falkland Stampede parade makes its way along Highway 97 Sunday at 1 p.m.
“There will be a pancake breakfast downtown all three days and dances Saturday and Sunday nights,” said Leaf. “There will also be a great variety of food vendors on the grounds and a beverage garden too.”
About 6,000 people attended the stampede last year, and the Sunday alone generally attracts upwards of 4,000 people.
“In 96 years, we’ve built up a lot of tradition,” said Churchill.
The rodeo takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday and Monday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, while the trade show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The mini chuck wagon races occur each day at 3 p.m. while there will be the heavy horse pull Monday at 10 a.m. and a cowboy church service Sunday at 11 a.m.
“We are proud of our town to be able to continue to put on a three-day pro rodeo and we want to thank our sponsors, the local rodeo fans for their support and to all of our dedicated volunteers, we thank you,” said Leaf.
For more information, go to www.falklandstampede.ca or call 250-375-2577.