Rodeo Ground’s History

At the same time as rebuilding the community hall, the Roe Lake & District Recreation Commission members were working on another project. Stock exhibitions were an important part of the rural lifestyle. There was a need for a permanent exhibition area and a rodeo was also a possible revenue source. In 1989 Steve Brown, Gordon Brown and Walt Levick provided the funding via a mortgage to purchase 4.0 acres of property across the slough from the hall for the Rodeo grounds. This was a very uneaven parcel of land, with a hill and huge swail and a slope down to the Roe Lake slough. Many skeptics said it could not be done.

Steve Brown skillfully obtained two grants – a Canada Works E.I. grant through Dave Worthy, MP for the money to pay salaries, but not material; and a provincial grant that paid for materials for a capital project, but not salaries. The blend of the two grants provided the base for the project. The first task was level the area – Levicks, Charltons and Higgins stepped up to the plate – every D8, D6, loader and excavator in the area was there moving earth. They had one week to go in the time line and still too much earth to move, when Katchmar from 100 Mile House rolled onto the grounds with his equipment. It was a beehive of activity and their only payment was diesel to keep the equipment working.

The arena, stock holding pens and gate systems were modelled after the Calgary Stampede. Steve Brown and Walt Levick purchased used steel casings from an equipment yard in Savona. All the fencing/gate panels were prefabed in Walt Levick’s shop. The shop was open to anyone in the country that could spare a couple of hours to weld the pipe into the panels. All the outhouses, ticket booths were being constructed in the Interlakes Building Supply lumber yard. Martin Scherrer came with his tractor and auger spending a week drilling the holes for all the steel posts. Once the fencing and gates were in place the call went out for painters – people came from Sheridan Lake, Fawn Lake, Deka Lake and Bridge Lake with paint brush in hand – and paint they did!! The project took four months with the first rodeo being held on Sunday, July 1, 1990 – with Canadian flags, supplied by our MP, Dave Worthy, flying from every post.

The following year, used hydro/telephone poles were obtained from BC Hydro for the construction of the 18 stable pole barn. The wash racks behind the barn were also constructed. A year later Gary Cleveland obtained the BC Rodeo Association sanction for the now two day rodeo and the date was moved to the August long weekend. The wooden stands were systematically replaced with metal stands over a period of five years ending in 2012. Further improvements will be a new concession building, but the grounds remain in tact as they were built in 1990. The rodeo grounds continue to be used for the two day rodeo, by the local barrel racers and team ropers, by ranchers for moving cattle, and as a dry campsite and R.V. site for people attending functions at the community hall.