Large crowd attends rodeo
by Derek Cornet
The 95th annual Stampede Week, held June 1-6, is now in the books and from all indications, the committee is pleased with the outcome.
“There were a lot of local entries and that always helps bring in the crowd,” Meadow Lake Stampede Association president Leighton Wood said. “Everyone who was local put on a good show and were competitive in their events.”
Attendance also surged this year and Wood said it hit a five-year high. Mayhem in Meadow – the bull riding portion of Stampede Week June 4 – attracted close to 1,100 people. Wood also noted, when there’s good weather during the rodeo attendance tends to dip as people sometimes opt to head to the lakes or are busy doing yard work, but that wasn’t the case this year.
He went on to say many people were impressed with the addition of an electronic video screen put up for Thursday’s show. Spectators were able to watch instant replays as well as view the action taking place in the bucking chutes. Wood said he’s heard so much positive feedback about the video board, the committee has decided to bring it back for 2016.
“We only had it one night, but people commented they would have liked to have it on Friday and Saturday too,” he remarked. “We’re also looking at some other changes, but nothing has been finalized. We will get the final numbers and input from this year, then we’ll move on from there.”
Wood also contributed some of the success to partnering with local organizations. Those groups assist with jobs such as selling 50/50 tickets and security, and allowed other volunteers to work on different projects.
Many local contestants entered the Lakeland Rodeo Association’s sanctioned events at the Meadow Lake and District Arena including Landon Nadon, Jason Diamond and Colton Ouellette in bareback riding, Ryan Vandersteen and Tyler Wilson in saddle bronc, Jason and Curtis Diamond of Pierceland in tie-down roping, Arlan Lumgair in junior bull riding, Marty Cockrum in bull riding and Ashley Wood, Nancy Dancy and Carol Gran in ladies barrel racing. The event also featured about 30 entrants in local ladies steer riding, boys steer riding and calf riding combined. Another 18 competed in local barrel racing.
Ouellette was satisfied with the 70 points he earned during the bareback riding event. The 18-year-old tied for second place and stated he did the best he could.
“Meadow Lake is one of the better rodeos,” Ouellette said. “It’s always a great atmosphere and it’s nice to have the hometown crowd behind you. I could feel the energy when I was getting on the horse knowing my family and friends had come to watch.”
So far this season, Ouellette has placed within the top three at every rodeo he’s attended. At Cold Lake’s afternoon rodeo June 6, he placed first overall after raking out another 70-point ride. He’d like to have a career competing on the professional circuit.
“I want to make a good go at it as long as I can,” Ouellette said.