Daybreak Rotary's Stampede Parade


A Brief History

The year was 1919 and there was great excitement in the Williams Lake valley as the steel rails of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway inched closer and closer.

As surveyors began laying out the streets for the new town to be called Williams Lake, people came from all over to mark the historic event with an impromptu picnic and day of cowboy sports held in the big natural amphitheatre near the creek.
By the following year the first hotels, stores and homes had blossomed on the bare hills and that casual get-together had been organized into the first official Williams Lake Stampede. It included, of course, a Parade made up of mounted cowboys eager to compete in contests of racing, riding and calf-roping - the type of competition that came naturally to the rugged men from the vast range lands of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
For many years it was a small amateur rodeo - a time of easy informality, a time to meet old friends. Suspended in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II, it was not revived again until 1947. But the days of it being strictly a Cariboo Stampede with local contestants was over as it began attracting attention all over the country.
Today the Williams Lake Stampede is a highly professional show, rated second only to Calgary, with some of the best cowboys and riders in Canada and the U.S. competing.

And naturally the Parade has changed too. No longer a simple line of cowboys, it has mushroomed into a colourful spectacle attracting over 140 entries each year.