British Columbia

Doodle Doodle Do: Williams Lake Stampede song revived for 50th anniversary

When Beth Veenkamp started working for the City of Williams Lake in 2017, she noticed that the annual stampede song didn't seem to be in use any more. So she tried to track down a recording of it.

Musician Alan Moberg wrote the song 50 years ago — and re-recorded it this year

Spectators watch a bull rider at the Williams Lake Stampede in this undated photo. The stampede, held annually during the Canada Day long weekend, returns this year after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. (Submitted by Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin)

It's the kind of thing only a local would miss.

When Beth Veenkamp started working for the City of Williams Lake in 2017, she noticed that the annual stampede song didn't seem to be in use any more.

The economic development officer grew up in the city, located in the Central Interior, and had learned the tune as part of her childhood. 

Now, as the Williams Lake Stampede returns after a two-year hiatus caused by COVID, Veenkamp says she wanted to bring back the song to celebrate its silver anniversary.

WATCH | Alan Moberg sings the Williams Lake Stampede song in May (Video by Scott Nelson)


Long-time musician and Salt Spring Island resident Alan Moberg wrote the Williams Lake Stampede song 50 years ago.

The lyrics describe many of the activities of the rodeo and the communities that attend the event, paying tribute to cowboy culture of the area.

Moberg said when he first came up to Williams Lake to perform the tune during the stampede, there wasn't much of an audience.

But that quickly changed, with thousands of people from the province and across the world attending the event in recent years.

This historical photo shows a bull rider at the Williams Lake Stampede in 1974. (Submitted by Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin)

It's not clear how the song recording was lost or why the community stopped playing it.

Veenkamp said she started digging around to find a copy of the song, including visiting the radio station — only to discover that there didn't seem to be a recording in existence any more.

"I thought, 'Oh, this needs to be fixed,'" she said.

So Veenkamp teamed up with the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin this year to re-record Moberg singing the song, which has since been made available on the city's website along with the sheet music.

The City of Williams Lake created a special album cover, pictured here, to mark the anniversary and re-recording of the song. (Submitted by Beth Veenkamp)

Many people who grew up in Williams Lake in the 1970s and 1980s learned the Williams Lake Stampede song, Veenkamp said.

"It's catchy and it gets stuck in your head. It's our song," she said.

"It's Williams Lake's song and not every small town has their very own song."

Veenkamp said the lyrics do seem to hold true five decades after they were released.

"You really do feel like you're part of the last frontier. It's very untouched and beautiful."

For Moberg, the trip down memory lane has been a good one. 

"It meant a lot to hear those young people cheering and roaring about it so it's pretty special," he said.

The Williams Lake Stampede is held every year during the Canada Day long weekend. 

LISTEN | The story behind Williams Lake's song, which is getting a 50th anniversary revival

A little bit of classic Williams Lake is getting a revival. The year, the city has re-released the Stampede theme song -- fifty years after it was released.


Jenifer Norwell

Story Producer

Jenifer Norwell has been working with CBC since 2008. She's worked in Prince George, Vancouver, Sudbury and now makes her home in her hometown of Kamloops. She works with CBC Kamloops and with Daybreak Kamloops.