Coombs Rodeo back in business

Also, West Coast Amusements brings rides here April 22-26

After a seven-year break, the Coombs Rodeo is back this summer as a more animal-friendly bull-a-rama and organizers are kicking things off with a West Coast Amusements carnival and Western Weekend in two weeks.

It’s been more than 10 years since the famed midway has stopped in this area, according to the best guesses of organizers behind the new Vancouver Island Western Heritage Organization (VIWHO) which will host the bull-a-rama.

“We’re bringing in West Coast Amusements as a fundraiser and to raise excitement,” said VIWHO president Ray Aebig.

The carnival will set up at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 22 and may have a soft opening that evening. Otherwise things get going Thursday at 3 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. through that weekend.

Aebig said most of the VIWHO members are also members of the Coombs Hilliers Recreation and Community Association (CHRCO) and decided it was time to bring the rodeo back after a long break due to lack of funds and volunteer efforts.

They had a date scheduled later in the summer, but a conflict with other rodeos has caused them to go back to the calendar and a new date will be announced soon.

The “bull-a-rama” style event will focus on things like rough stock, barrel racing and challenges, mutton busting and some children-scale events.

In conjunction with the carnival weekend, CHRCO is staging a Western Weekend all day Saturday and Sunday (April 25-26) with cattle sorting, barrel racing, Gymkhana games and a beer garden.

April 25 there’s a dance with Backstage Whiskey performing country and Top 40 favourites from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Check http://www.chrco.org for more information.

VIWHO is hosting a colouring contest and always looking for new members, sponsors and anyone interested in tickets can contact them at viwho@telus.net.

The carnival will be open, starting April 23, Thursday and Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday noon-10 p.m. and Sunday noon-6 p.m.