Labour Day has been a weekend circled in many Merritonians’ calendars. It has been a long standing tradition by the community to visit the Rodeo Grounds during this long weekend in September for the fun filled Pro Rodeo the organization hosts. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, this tradition was put on hold. Luckily, with restrictions being lifted earlier this year, patrons are invited to saddle back up as the event and festivities are back on.

The Nicola Valley Rodeo Association will be hosting its 62nd annual Pro Rodeo on September 3 and 4 at the NVRA grounds.

“We’re excited! It’s going to be a big show this year.,” said Nicola Valley Rodeo Association President Peter Spencer.

“Mary MacGregor, who has taken on the chair of the Pro Rodeo Committee, has gone out and secured some of the very best people in the business. We expect, we’re going to get some of the top competitors in the country.”

The rodeo will be jam-packed with activities and entertainment. There will be the main rodeo, which includes both timed and rough stock events.

“The contestants themselves are amazing,” said MacGregor. “We have several World Champions entered, and a number of Canadian Champions, including most of the Canadians vying for a 2022 Canadian Championship at the Canadian Finals Rodeo to be held in Red Deer November 2 through 6.”

MacGregor also noted that Macza Pro Rodeo will be the stock contractor for the rodeo once again.

“Ward Macza continues to bring the best of the best rodeo stock to our rodeo,” she said.

Get Smart, the 20-year-old Macza saddle bronc will also participate in the rodeo event as part of his retirement tour. He’s recognized as the best in Canada and at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and this will serve as his final regular rodeo.

“As the rodeo gods would have it, the contestant who has drawn Get Smart is Lucas Macza, saddle bronc contestant and son of Ward Macza. A matchup for the ages!”

The event will also feature a pancake breakfast, cowboy church, and recognition of heritage honourees. Two entertainment acts will be included in the event. Roman trick rider, Noemy Coeurjoly, and the Second Shot Drill Production Team from the Lower Mainland will both put on a very entertaining and family friendly show for the viewing public.

The Civic Centre will host the Ty Pozzobon rodeo dance Saturday evening, which will feature Bobby Garcia and the Six More Strings as the musical act.

“I think seeing the community back involved is what I am most excited about,” said Spencer. “If we can get the community involved again and excited for the Labour Day weekend, then we’ll have a smile on our faces.”

During the two year break, Spencer said NVRA hosted different events such as horsemanship clinics and outdoor movie nights in order to meet annual costs for the grounds.

Photo/ Izaiah Reyes

“We squeaked through those two years,” he said. “We need to host events regularly in order to meet our annual costs such as insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs. We’d bring clinicians in and sell event passes for that. We just made budget but it was touch-and-go.”

The NVRA thanks the people of Merritt who have been very supportive with the Labour Day festivities.

“The community involvement is huge for our success,” said Spencer. “If we had to do it all on our own, we probably couldn’t.”

The rodeo grounds’ gates will open on Saturday, September 3, at 11 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at Purity Feed in Merritt and online at