Organizers have cancelled the Bull-a-Rama event planned for July 21 at the Penticton Speedway. Western News file photo

Wildfire concerns cancel Penticton Bull-a-Rama

Fire, smoke and travel all factors in cancelling the event at Penticton Speedway

Citing concerns about the ongoing wildfires, air quality and transportation, organizers have cancelled the Bull-a-Rama event planned for Saturday evening at the Penticton Speedway.

Speedway owner Johnny Aantjes said they were concerned about the welfare of the animals and the riders.

“Last year, when we had the fire situation all around the province and the smoke, we battled with trying to get enough riders. People were trying to take care of their farms and ranches,” said Aantjes.

“Getting the bulls here was a bit of an issue. You don’t want them getting stuck in traffic. You don’t want them sitting on the road for 3, 4, 5 hours.”

Aantjes said most of the livestock comes from the Kamloops and Vernon areas, and the closure of Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland for a time was a concern, as is the long list of fires burning And the possibility of more thunder and lightning.

“We’ve already got a bunch of fires going. It’s hot weather, it’s high winds. It is not making sense right now,” he said.

Aantjes says they are looking at possibly putting another bull-riding event on the schedule for September or October.

“It is a little bit late to plan it at this point, but we’re looking at it,” said Aantjes. “It would be tough to make it happen, but we’re going to try.

“If we can’t, then we will put it in place for next year. That’s all we can do.”

The bull-riding events have become a popular attraction for the Speedway.

Related: Bull-a-Rama at the Penticton Speedway

“I think we are gaining some momentum with adding our dedicated arena and bleacher space, and the pens and so on for the animals. We’re about as well set up as we have ever been,” said Aantjes.

“This was looking to be one of our best events. This night event is typically when we get our better crowds, and in July we have more tourists looking for some options of things to do.”

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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