“Langley is Canada’s horse capital, but has never had a professional rodeo event of its own – until now” – written in bold letters right at the top; these words are sure to attract people’s attention when they visit Valley West Stampede’s website.
As Langley Riders Society prepares to host the community’s first-ever professional rodeo event, it was also time to give the decades-old arena a fresh look.
Members of the Langley Riders Society, along with hundreds of volunteers, have been working for the past three months for the upcoming road event, which will feature about 130 riders from Canada and the United States. The planning started right after the society got a green light from Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) in November last year, which allowed them to host a rodeo.
Improvements include three additional chutes, new light poles for evening events, bleachers upto the edge of the arena, a new announcer’s booth, and more.
With 2,000 spectators expected to visit each day, Sheila Hicks, president of Valley West Stampede, said the upgrades were necessary.
“There have been some massive upgrades to the ground. The arena is fully wired and able to hold evening events,” Hicks said. For the stampede show, the grounds will also have a beer garden and a big live screen behind the announcer’s booth.
Though the ground has hosted little britches and other amateur rodeo shows before, Hicks said the upcoming event starting Friday, Sept. 2, is “much bigger” in scale. The show is sanctioned by CPRA which makes the upcoming event a professional rodeo show.
The sanctions also mean that the cowboys and cowgirls participating in the competitions could collect points for their year-end total. In addition, the association is offering $20,000 in prize money for adult riders competing in each of the four events: bare back riding, ladies barrel racing, saddle bronc and bull riding.
“We are bringing the best of the best,” said Hicks.
The rodeo show will also feature locals kids in a mutton-busting competition. Other activities include 4-H events, a cowboy breakfast, beer gardens, barn dances and festival activities including Indigenous food and entertainment.
On Friday night, the association also hosts a separately-ticketed fundraising dinner for 4-H Canada, a non-profit organization. John Scotton, the vice president, said they do not have any expectations regarding the fundraising amount but are hoping to raise “as much as possible.”
The dinner will be hosted at the Bunkhouse Bar at the Geogr Preston Recreation Centre and will feature bands.
Sunday’s events start early, with a cowboy breakfast from 8 a.m. inside the Langley Riders Society arena, followed by cowboy church at 10 a.m.
People could also participate in a 50-50 draw. The proceedes from the 50-50 will benefit the riders society.
Rodeo events in the arena start at 2 p.m. each day (Saturday, Sunday and Labour Day Monday.
“All going well, we could see this become an annual event that will serve as a tourism driver each year for the region’s local businesses, as visitors and participants alike converge on Langley and stay over the long weekend for the rodeo,” Hicks concluded.
The Valley West Stampede will be held on the Langley Riders Society grounds on 208th Street near 42nd Avenue in Langley with bleachers for up to 2,000 spectators each day.
General admission tickets are $25 for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available online from the stampede’s website https://valleywest.ventures or showpass.com/langley-rodeo.
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