Greatest Show in the Peace still great despite absence of midway

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The 99th Dawson Creek Exhibition & Stampede was up against the clock and the weather,…

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The 99th Dawson Creek Exhibition & Stampede was up against the clock and the weather, but organizers tried to create a great experience for everyone.

With just six weeks to prepare, the president of the event, Connie Patterson, says the event went well.

“We only had six weeks to put this together, so we were finding ourselves on Wednesday morning still hanging banners on the infield,” said Patterson.

With tight timeframes and long days, she says the organizers worked tirelessly to ensure a great experience for the visitors.

“We just picked up the energy. Our whole team just dealt with one thing at a time and managed to come through it.”

While attendance was lower than normal years, Patterson says the crowds were great.

“We ended up with around 25,000 people come through over the five days. We had great crowds for the parade on Friday, and in the agriculture fair as well.”

One thing that was missing from this year’s event was the midway, bringing with it approximately $70,000 in revenue.

“It hurt us not to have it, of course, and we don’t have to do anything for it other than give them the space. When you miss out on $70,000, it does hurt.”

There were still countless activities and attractions for kids to see and do.

“We did have lots of events. We had a special needs rodeo for the kids of Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd. The kids all got buckles and red bandanas. Then we had the chuckwagon cowboys pull the kids in the wagon through a little circuit. Then the rodeo cowboys came over and helped teach them how to rope, so it was great.”

An overflow of contestants made for some schedule-juggling in the rodeo on Thursday, says Patterson.

“We ended up with slack, which is when a cowgirl or cowboy wants to come to your rodeo, but they can’t make it in the time chosen for them to take part. So on Thursday, before the rodeo started, they came and did their events. We had 50 barrel racers, five steer wrestlers and 15 ropers. We managed to get them done and still do the ranch rodeo and still be ready for the chuckwagons and the night show at 5.”

Patterson says after that, everything fell into place for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As for highlights and bloopers, Patterson says the wind on Sunday was a definite blooper, something she hadn’t seen in her 18 years as president.

“That wind was unbelievable. That was the worst wind I think I’ve ever seen here. We lost some banners; I think we lost five or six that we’ll have to replace. Also, one of our teepees came down in the wind, and it landed on the fence that separates the chuckwagon track.”

Patterson’s highlight for the weekend was the opportunity to see neighbours and friends visiting.

“Just seeing people and having them at the dance, in the beer garden, sitting in the bleachers visiting with neighbours, it was absolutely great.”

Patterson says the organizing committee is already preparing for an incredible 100th-year celebration.

“We’re looking forward to the 100th, and we’re having our first meeting on September 1st. We’re going to be having a concert on the Tuesday, so it will be a six-day event instead of five. We also plan on having the midway back, which is big for us.”

The team of Obrey, Ethan and Hayden Motowylo won the $30,000 World Professional Chuckwagon Association’s Dash for Cash riding the Vold Jones & Vold Auction – Dawson Creek Outfit wagon.

Click here to view the Pro Rodeo Canada unofficial 2021 event results.

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