Monday, May 18, 2009

Rodeo Days in Keremeos on the Victoria Long Weekend

Rodeoing started in the early days in the Similkameen Valley when the majority of the inhabitants were ranchers, and eager to compete and display their skills with horse and cow and lasso.

Keremeos held their first official rodeo in 1921, next to the Victory hall in what is now the centre of town, and without any fences or corrals.

In the early 1940's the Elks took over the rodeo events, and the site was relocated to a spot across the river where cowboys still gather to compete, and where the excitement of the wild horse rides, the bulldogging and the calf roping keep all the spectators on the edge of their seats, - that is the ones who haven't gone to find refreshment at the hamburger booth or the beer garden.

When the children were growing up we attended rodeos faithfully, with the movie camera (all the rage at that time) and we have faded films of small cowboys/girls chasing calves, and many an exciting moment when the clowns had to come to the rescue of riders just one step ahead of the bull that had just thrown them.

Everybody wore jeans and cowboy hats and neckerchiefs and with six children it was a night-before-the-rodeo chore to make sure everything was laid out and ready to hop into come the happy morning. When our youngest daughter reached the age where she could attend rodeo's on her own we gave up the pleasure of sitting in the dust and the hot sun, and stayed home with a cool drink! But we have exciting memories....

Some of the very best riders to compete in the Keremeos and Chapaka Indian Rodeo (held Easter Sunday) are First Nations Cowboys.

Here is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Aeneas Nehumption who were Flagbearers for the 1950 Rodeo Parade

We still occasionally go to parades.....

Sometimes we even take part....


Willo said...

I love to read about your incredibly varied interests. Rodeos! I would have never guessed.

At one time Bryce and I, with our five tots, lived on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Their rodeo was definitely native. Those Braves rode buffalo back then. It took several pickups to chase the out of the corrals when it was over.

Why the Standing Rock? Bryce had the contract to build a great number of basements for a government housing project. Half of his crew were native neighbors. One young guy rodeoed every weekend in the area.

Hildred said...

Willo, I think almost everybody who has any connection to the earth in the western part of our countries has a little rodeo blood in them! And even to city people cowboys and horses are terribly exciting (perhaps a little quaint).

We have a Standing Rock just west of Keremeos, - I was going to post a picture of it, but unfortunately it is all covered with graffiti - again. Every decade or so it gets cleaned, but there is no stopping the wannabe artists.

Unknown said...

Hi Hildred,
My name is Donna Davies, I am doing the new website for the Keremeos Elks Rodeo,
I came across your blog about the history of the Rodeo, I think it is fantastic
If you could please contact me. my email is or my number is 250-499-5337 or 614 7th ave, keremeos that is the Main Event Boxing & MMA Studio I teach classes from 9am-11am
Thank You
Donna Davies