A young competitor in the barrel racing event from a previous Keremeos Elks Rodeo which goes for the 81st time this weekend. (Western News file photo)

Down home flavour to this weekend’s Okanagan rodeo

The 81st Keremeos Elks Rodeo runs for three days this long weekend.

Steeped in tradition, with a down-home country appeal, the Keremeos Elks Rodeo is coming to town for the 81st time this weekend.

The community’s largest event is so successful simply based on the involvement of the people who live there, according to organizers.

In particular, the Keremeos Community Church has stepped up to the plate and are not only putting on a delectable barbecue rib supper Sunday (adults $15 half order $8 and kids six and under free) but a special Cowboy Church service Sunday at 9 a.m. at the grounds at 3010 River Rd. East.

As well, the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department is again hosting its popular breakfast Sunday and Monday at Memorial Park.

There will also be a cowboy breakfast at the rodeo grounds on those days.

Monday will again see the downtown parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m.

“It really does have a small town feel to it. I think that’s one of the things that people really enjoy about the Keremeos Rodeo every year,” said past-president Mac Watson. “It’s just ordinary folks that are doing all this.”

He added while there may be fewer Elks Club members, there is a strong contingent of others who jump in to assist.

“They put a lot of effort in. They don’t just show up Saturday morning and open the gates and everything goes. It’s a month-long preparation,” said Watson. “Making sure contracts are signed, making sure the stock is available, making sure the volunteers are available for the kitchen.

“Then another three weeks after that doing the clean up. So, hooray to the volunteers and to the people that run the rodeo and the Elks members.”

Saturday is billed by organizers as family day. Admission is just $5 and the target audience is the youngsters.

“The kids get to see the team roping and barrel riding events and hopefully that will get them interested in rodeo,” he said.

Sunday and Monday feature the more hardcore competitions, including the first rounds of bronc and bull riding Sunday and the finals Monday.

Parking and camping on the grounds are free for patrons of the rodeo. Admission Sunday and Monday is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Kids six to 12 are $5 and six and under are free.

Rodeo events, on all three days, begin at 1 p.m.

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The always popular kids chicken catching event is returning to the Keremeos Elks Rodeo this weekend. (Western News file photo)

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