The unofficial horse capital of Canada now has its first homegrown professional rodeo event, taking place through the Labour Day weekend, from Saturday to Monday, Sept. 3 to 5.
Fans of the Cloverdale Rodeo, which has been absent the past three years, will be happy to hear that Langley has introduced the Valley West Stampede featuring bareback riding, ladies barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding.
Each of the events is fully sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) and feature $20,000 in prize money.
After the four main events, the stampede will conclude with mutton busting for kids. It will also involve several other activities and attractions dispersed throughout the grounds, including Langley 4-H exhibits and a cowboy breakfast.
Taking place at the Langley Riders Society grounds on 208th Street, this event will have capacity for 2,000 spectators each day, explained Valley West Stampede president Sheila Hicks.
“We’ve kept it relatively small in order to do it really well,” Hicks said.
Rather than having this be a one-time event, the organizers hope it’s the start of a new chapter in Langley’s rodeo scene.
“This will lay the groundwork for an annual event that will bring in visitors and contestants, as well as build tourism throughout the area,” she elaborated.
“In no way are we trying to replace the Cloverdale Rodeo. What we’re doing is essentially supplementing it, so that now there are two rodeos in the Lower Mainland,” said John Scotton, vice president of the Langley Riders Society.
First Nation involvement is a key component of the new stampede, according to Hicks.
“Kwantlen First Nation members and the Indigenous Knowledge Keepers will help with the opening ceremonies, as well as performing throughout the event.”
The event is also being led by vice president James Delorme, a member of Klahoose First Nation, who emphasized the importance of doing this stampede properly.
“It’s really critical that we do this in the right way. It’s about entertainment, getting together, and unity, but it’s also about caring about the animals. It’s about us being together to do a good thing,” said Delorme.
Although no protestors were present at Wednesday’s press conference, members of the Vancouver Humane Society, BC SPCA, and other animals rights groups have publicly expressed displeasure with the upcoming Langley rodeo.
Tickets for general admission will cost $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger. There will also be a separately-ticketed dinner on Friday night in order to raise funds for the Langley Riders Society and local 4-H activities.
Ticket information can be found at www.valleywest.ventures.
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