That’s how Williams Lake Stampede Association president Court Smith described the decision not to proceed with this year’s Stampede. It will be the second year in a row because the Stampede was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been struggling with finding a balance,” Smith told Black Press Media Friday. “We’d hoped the health restrictions would have lightened up, but they haven’t.”
Smith said his biggest concern is possibly losing engagement from the volunteers, sponsors and community at large.
“We don’t want them to forget that we are doing everything we can.”
He explained the Williams Lake Stampede is a ‘bit more complicated’ in the sense the association has a lease with the city, insurance issues and the responsibilities that come with those make it difficult.
“I know Quesnel Rodeo has announced something, but we are not in the same boat as them. It’s frustrating.”
A statement issued by the board of directors Thursday, March 25, noted the event requires more than 400 volunteers and the directors execute up to 25 individual contracts for services with any number of community groups, professional entertainers and stock contractors to make the Stampede weekend the full festival it has grown to be.
“We have a number of general operations that need to be put in place well before the July long weekend arrives and these forecasting limitations impact it all,” the statement noted.
The board will continue to see if a smaller rodeo event can be planned for late summer or fall 2021 and noted members are prepared to be quick on their feet if the possibility of events become available.
Last summer the association teamed up with Rotary and put on a few events such as drive-thru breakfasts and a rib dinner at the Stampede parking lot that were well attended.