For the second year in a row, the annual BCRA-sanctioned Bella Coola Valley Rodeo won’t take place in the summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“After careful consideration, the Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club (BCVRRHC) has made the difficult decision to cancel our annual rodeo, scheduled for July 3 and 4, 2021,” the club announced Monday, April 26.
“In keeping with the recommendations and guidelines of our health authority, and out of concern and care for the safety of our community, sponsors, dedicated rodeo fans, and contestants, we are exercising an abundance of caution in dealing with the continuing circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
While the 2021 rodeo will not proceed, the BCVRRHC is working on plans for a number of smaller-scale activities and events to be held over the spring and summer months, in hopes of encouraging participation from across a range of equine-related disciplines, in addition to those related to the much-loved rodeo tradition.
Activities the club hopes to offer, in association with other local service providers, include gymkhanas, poker rides, schooling show/play day, a summer day camp program and a weekly youth group. All activities will adhere to provincial and local COVID-19 regulations, with reduced group size, and strict observation of social distancing protocols, the club noted in a news release.
“The club also plans to continue to use this time to attend to repairs and improvements at the Walker Island Rodeo Grounds, in anticipation of next year’s rodeo being bigger and better than ever. The Valley Ridge Riders would like to thank all of our volunteers, sponsors, and fans for your understanding and continued support. As always, it takes a community.”
Last month, the Williams Lake Stampede Association announced the cancellation of its CPRA-sanctioned rodeo which runs the same weekend as the Bella Coola Valley Rodeo.
Last week, the B.C. High School Rodeo Association announced the cancellation of its 2021 spring events in Dawson Creek, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Merritt and Clinton.