Halfway River rodeo tacking up for 20th anniversary

Horses trot through the field at the Halfway River Valley Rodeo Grounds on April 9

The Halfway River Valley Rodeo is tacking up to celebrate 20 years but there's an even longer history where the arena stands today.

For Jeff Metecheah the milestone event in August speaks to a longstanding way of life in river valley." With our culture, because were cattle ranchers, we've always had cows and horse around so we just graduated into rodeo eventually entertaining ourselves," said Metcheah who's part of the rodeo committee that built the arena in the early 2000s. 

Metecheah says they transformed what was the first Halfway River settlement when the First Nation moved down from the mountains in 1950s. "Pretty much this was the downtown of halfway river back in the day."

Almost all of the houses are gone and many moved to the new subdivision. But now the former settlement turned rodeo grounds it is a different centre of the community.

Metecheah says nearly 500 people attended Saturday’s event in 2021 and he says some visitors can usually been see swooping overhead. "When the rodeo comes you see there's always eagles flying around” he said.

Reminding Metecheah that ancestors and deceased family are attending the rodeo which also provides life lessons to future generations. "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. That's what I learnt."

Metecheah says it feels good to see the best of high school rodeo showing off their courage in the river valley alongside other competitors. With everyone from bull riders to barrel racers hoping to take home a cash prize on a weekend that promises to be packed full.

"We'll be lucky if we finish by 8... we got time to wash up, shovel down a burger and head to the rodeo dance." The dance is a Saturday night staple for Metecheah and hometown musician Kyle McKearny will perform in 2022.

All events are cash only and tickets can be purchased at the gate August 19 to 21. Camping is also available to allow everyone to celebrate the Halfway River Valley 20th Rodeo Roundup.