Records are sure to be broken this week - it’s the 2017 Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede.
With a record 252 rodeo entries, and a promising weather forecast, look for the attendance totals to be higher than ever before. The exhibition is full of new features this year, and classic ones that make the Dawson Creek event unique and special.
Two new things this year are a Much Video dance for ages 12 to 16 on the nights of August 11 and 12, and a bigger beer gardens with entertainment and musical acts. The dance will not be country themed but will feature top 40 and electronic dance music songs, as part of a way to make the event fun for all ages. Beer gardens will see the capacity grow from 1000 to 1750, a huge increase. Massive increase.
“We’ve been working with the RCMP and the Liquor Control Board, working as friends and as a team to see this change,” said Travis Jones, head of technology and media relations for the exhibition.
There will not be the normal concerts, but there will be an entertainment section in the beer gardens themselves. Dan Davidson will be featured Friday and Saturday night, along with five other artists spread throughout the week.
And of course, there is the main draw, the rodeo itself. With the amount of entries, an extra day of rodeo, called the slack, went down August 10.
This is in addition to the three days running from August 11-13. A ranch rodeo took place Wednesday and Thursday, where local farmers and families compete in branding, loading up calves and separating competitions.
A heavy horse and cattle show will also go down, serving as a provincial qualifying event. If they win they go to the national championship. The supreme cattle national championship is in Winnipeg.
“If the contestants win here it means big money for them,” Jones said.
Let’s not forget one of the biggest draws of attendees, the chuckwagons. Both the Western Chuckwagon Racing and World Professional Chuckwagon Racing associations will be there. It is the only event running every day.
The championship race is on August 13, which will be legendary rider Kelly Sutherland’s last regular season race of his career. It will be a special moment for Sutherland and all in attendance and involved.
Other things going on are West Coast Amusements, photos, colouring contests, and fireworks. Despite the fire ban, the organizers were able to get approval from the city. As well, the parade takes place Friday August 11 on an all new route.
“Things are going good, we’re on track this year, the only thing that will stop us is one heck of a storm,” Jones said.
The rodeo infill was completely redone this year, dug up and leveled it out. The committee really hopes to win the Most Improved Track award at the Canadian Finals Rodeo this year.
Going on the same time as the exhibition and stampede is some events at the Co-op. There will be a breakfast August 12 morning, followed by the Race Against Hunger, in which people will run around the grocery store collecting grocery items. All the items gathered will be donated to the food bank. Jones encourages everybody to try and make it out to the exhibition.
“There’s something about coming here, going on a ride, getting carnival food and going to the rodeo that you don’t get to see every day. Bring your families out and interact with different people.”