Williams Lake Stampede Means Big Economic Boost for Small Cariboo Town
Williams Lake, B.C. – It’s by far the biggest event of the year in Williams Lake and it kicks off tomorrow night – the Williams Lake Stampede.
This year marks the 90th Stampede for the Cariboo town of roughly 11,000 people and as usual organizers are expecting it to provide a big economic boost to the area.
Stampede president Tim Rolph is expecting plenty of tourists and large crowds.
“Our attendance over the last few years has been in the 15,000-16,000 range over the four days which is about one and a half times the population of Williams Lake. So that’s pretty cool that we get that many people and we’re hoping for those numbers again or better.”
He estimates the rodeo provides about a $1.5 million boost to the economy which is music to the ears of Mayor Walt Cobb.
“When you get those people doing everything they do throughout the community, whether they’re shopping, whether they’re in hotels, whether they’re eating it’s a huge financial economic impact.”
So what’s kept the Stampede going all these years?
“I think it starts with the volunteers,” says Rolph. “The volunteers have kept it going. This city has also kept it going and we have terrific support from our sponsors and the majority are local.”
And of course there’s the entertainment.
“We have five rodeo performances over four days,” says Rolph, including the wildly popular mountain race.
“Which if you haven’t seen it, it’s phenomenal. There’s a course that works its way down the hill that surrounds the bowl we are in and ends right in the arena. That’s really popular.”
He says there’s lots of family fun to be had too.
“We’ve got free family entertainment before the rodeo. Everyday local artists are going to be performing on our Canadian Tire Concert Stage and we’ve got a kids zone.”