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Williams Lake Stampede

Williams Lake Stampede rodeo action fills the arena stands each Canada Day Weekend

The 86th Annual Williams Lake Stampede runs from June 30 through July 2, 2012 at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds.  This longstanding rodeo event is a treasure of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of British Columbia.  Cowboys and rodeo competitors from Canada and the U.S. come together for a long Canada Day weekend of bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and much more.

In addition to the rodeo action, the Williams Lake Stampede features a parade and a variety of vendors and entertainment, making this event fun for the whole family.

The Cariboo area is well known as British Columbia’s Cowboy Country and this summertime event celebrates that history and the thriving cowboy culture of today.

Williams Lake Stampede Rodeo Events

The Williams Lake Stampede hosts a variety of traditional competitions and a few signature events that are not to be missed.


Williams Lake Stampede Bareback RidingBareback Riding

This, the most physically demanding of rodeo events, requires the rider to hold with only one hand while trying to spur the horse higher and wider, on each jump, than the other competitors.

Williams Lake Stampede Barrel RacingBarrel Racing

This speed event requires the rider to circle around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. Close proximity to the barrel is required to be competitive for time, but a fallen barrel results in a penalty.

Williams Lake Stampede Bull RidingBull Riding

The most dangerous event at the Williams Lake Stampede is very similar to bareback riding, with its lack of saddle and one-hand hold, with one not-so-small difference: the competitors ride a rodeo bull!

Williams Lake Stampede Saddle Bronc RidingSaddle Bronc Riding

Having a saddle doesn’t make this event easy. The key for competitors is timing the arc of their spur action with the jumping of the horse. Additional rider marks are earned for keeping feet turned outward throughout the motion.

Steer WrestlingSteer Wrestling

Imagine trying to pull something that weighs 10 times as much as you do off its feet. That’s just what steer wrestlers do using a combination of speed, agility and power.  They even give the steer a head start!

Team RopingTeam Roping

In this event a pair of ropers ride well-trained horses and, in a coordinated effort, try to get control of a steer.  One rider lassos the head and the other lassos the hind feet of the steer.

Tie-down RopingTie-down Roping

Also known as calf roping, this timed event is widely considered the most technical of the rodeo.  The rider must rope a calf, throw it, and then tie any of three legs and hold it for six seconds.



Williams Lake Stampede RaceMountain Race

The Williams Lake Stampede Mountain Race dates back to the 1920’s, when riders would race down the side of Fox Mountain and into the rodeo grounds. Today, the racers start on a lower hill, but the races (one per day) are no less thrilling as riders compete for prize money and the Silver Mountain Race Championship Buckle.

pony chariotsPony Chariot Race

Two drivers use chariots with two wheels and two horses apiece to race for the finish line. The excitement as they go neck and neck down the final stretch is breathtaking.

Williams Lake Stampede Pony ExpressPony Express Race

This relay horse race recreates the exhilarating days of mail delivery by horseback.  This event requires riders to change horses along their route, so it requires a combination of horse speed and rider coordination to win.

Horseback Ride to the Williams Lake StampedeRanch Challenge

Participating ranches compete in a variety of competitions to prove their professional skill in:

  • Saddle Horse Racing (Friday & Saturday)
  • Cattle Branding (Friday)
  • Cattle Sorting (Saturday)
  • Trailer Loading (Sunday)
  • Wild Bronc Ride (Sunday)

Wild horse race at the rodeoWild Horse Race

A rider tries to saddle a haltered horse and steer it across the finish line.  This would be simple for most cowboys, but there’s one little thing to consider: these horses are not halter broke.

Each rider takes the field with two helpers, a saddle and a shank.  There are typically six to eight teams on the field at a time. The haltered wild horses are then let out of the chutes, a horn sounds and the race is on.

The action is pulse-pounding, but the horses are not mistreated in any way, though the rider teams may have some complaints.  Come witness the drama (and maybe a little comedy) of the Wild Horse Race.

For more information about this event and how to purchase tickets, please visit the Williams Lake Stampede website.

Near Williams Lake, BC

We have member B&B inns convenient to and from Williams Lake, BC

Choose Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Lodging as Ruggedly Individual as a Cowboy

Our Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Bed and Breakfast inns will provide you a unique lodging experience as you enjoy the Williams Lake Stampede and all the Williams Lake area has to offer.

Take advantage of a wide variety of breakfast options, cozy and comfortable guest rooms, and the singular hospitality and local knowledge of the innkeepers at locations all across British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region.

What’s Your Williams Lake Stampede Expectation or Experience?

The Stampede has been celebrated at Williams Lake for over eight decades and, in that time, has grown to become one the most famous rodeos in Canada and throughout the world.

Please share your plans for this 2012 event and memories of past Stampedes at Williams Lake.