Large white letters on top of the grandstand show the name change of the rodeo arena. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

A cowboy’s last ride: Gus Cameron honoured before start of Quesnel Rodeo

Cameron's horse, Target, opened the first rodeo at the newly named Gus Cameron Rodeo Arena

  • Jul. 20, 2021 12:00 a.m.

A local legend of rodeo got one last ride at the Quesnel Rodeo Club’s return to events.

As nearly 800 eager rodeo fans filed into Alex Fraser Park to celebrate the return of rodeo to Quesnel, a new sign greeted them. The arena, officially named the Gus Cameron Rodeo Arena in November, was broken in by a special guest.

Cameron’s final horse, Target, with an empty saddle and led by his son, Steve, took the first trip around the grounds named after his late owner as ‘A cowboy’s last ride’ played over the loudspeakers.

READ MORE: Arena at Alex Fraser Park to be named in honour of ‘the face of rodeo in Quesnel’

“Look around you,” current Quesnel Rodeo Club president Ray Jasper said. “Everything you see, and I mean everything, was because Gus made it happen. He made it all happen. He was honest, he was hard working, he was humble, and he always had time to stop and say hi to the countless folks that came through these grounds.”

Gus and his wife Nita have been involved since the very beginning of rodeo in Quesnel, back when it was a small event in Bouchie Lake. Cameron was a driving force in moving the rodeo from Bouchie Lake to Alex Fraser Park.

“His grace has touched every cowboy and cowgirl who has stepped foot in this arena,” Jasper said.

READ MORE: ‘It’s been our life’: Quesnel couple celebrated for rodeo contributions

Don Cameron spoke to the crowd as well, quipping that his dad would have been annoyed at a ceremony like this delaying the start of the rodeo.

“From day one, the Quesnel rodeo club was more than one person. Volunteers, sponsors, contestants, livestock, and of course the amazing fans and spectators,” he said. “Dad was always happy working alongside the members and their families. Each one brought something unique to the table.”

Don passed on the family’s thanks to the rodeo club and city for honouing his dad.

“If you want to honour dad, volunteers keep volunteering, sponsors keep sponsoring, contestants keep competing, and fans keep cheering,” he said.

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Quesnel Cariboo Observer