The gates are being thrown open wide for fun in Falkland.
The 99th annual Falkland Stampede kicks off Saturday and runs until Monday, with the town of 800 swelling with rodeo fans.
“Over the three days, we have about 5,000 people in town,” said Ozzie Leaf, a long-time volunteer.
Upwards of 400 cowboys will compete for more than $50,000.
“It’s the first outdoor rodeo of the year and that gets everyone going,” said Jason Churchill, manager.
The rodeo includes saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling, and half-time entertainment with Full Throttle Trick Riders.
“Our cowboys are world class and our entertainment is as good as you will see anywhere,” said Churchill.
Among those in the ring will be Vernon-born bronc rider Clay Elliott.
“It will be quite an attraction to see him ride,” said Leaf.
The rodeo starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and on Sunday there’s cowboy church at 11 a.m., the stampede parade on Highway 97 at 1 p.m. and the rodeo at 2 p.m.
On Monday there is a heavy horse pull at 10 a.m. and the rodeo at 1 p.m.
Hat Trick will perform at dances at the Falkland Community Hall Saturday and Sunday at 9 p.m.
A key component of the stampede is concession stands and other activities hosted by community groups and the money goes right back into Falkland.
“For a little town, it’s quite a feat,” said Leaf.
Churchill is closely watching the weather forecast after what occurred in 2016.
“Last year was a washout but we still had thousands of people show up in the stands,” said Churchill, adding that the action occurs rain or shine.
Environment Canada is calling for clouds and a 60 per cent chance of rain Saturday, 26 and sun Sunday and 26 and sun Monday.
For more information, go to www.falklandstampede.ca