Rodeo Dance pays tribute to deceased professional bull rider
Labor Day weekend has been host to the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo for decades, drawing fans from near and far to experience the rich culture of the Nicola Valley and witness high-end rodeo action. high octane. After a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the full schedule of events is back, including the Saturday Night Rodeo Dance.
The dance is back for the first time since 2019 and brings back the live music, big dance floor and flashing lights of years past. This year’s event will take place at the Merritt Civic Center, with local band Bobby Garcia and Six More Strings providing live performances from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Nicola Valley Rodeo Association Vice President and Dance Director Melissa Dinsdale sat down with the Herald to discuss plans for this year’s event and the dance’s support of an important cause.
“We’re bringing Bobby Garcia and his band back for live music, so there will be live music all night long,” Dinsdale said.
“We support the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, so we will be selling some of the Ty Pozzobon merchandise there to ensure that we maintain support for this foundation. This is close to my heart personally, simply being that they are close family friends and important to the rodeo association and the community as a whole.
Ty Pozzobon, a Merritt-based professional bull rider who ranked 23rd in the world, tragically committed suicide in January 2017. The Ty Pozzobon Foundation was started by a group of close friends of Pozzobon the month after his sudden death. The foundation’s ultimate goal is to prevent Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive and fatal brain disease caused by repeated traumatic brain injury, from taking the lives of more riders. Pozzobon was the first identified case of CTE in a bull rider.
Pozzobon has contributed greatly to the global and local rodeo community, traveling the world playing the sport he loves while representing his hometown of Merritt. He hosted the Ty Pozzobon Invitational, a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) event, at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds for three years before his death. Dinsdale says the Rodeo Association has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the dance, including the sale of merchandise, to the Ty Pozzobon Foundation. The dance is sure to be a great time in honor and support of a local sports hero.
“It will be rodeo themed, with lots of decorations, lights and a big dance floor. We want people to be able to dance, have fun and have a few drinks in a safe environment. We want to keep everyone engaged and ready for Sunday rodeo performances,” Dinsdale added.
“It’s pretty exciting because I grew up with rodeo, so it’s good to make sure we continue on the weekends. It’s been around since I can remember, so it was sad to have lost it for two years. It was a lot of work with a small team of volunteers, but we hope it will be a success so that we can come back next year.
Tickets are available in advance at Purity Feed on Voght Street, online or at Pro Rodeo on the day of the dance. The event is 19 and older and tickets are $25. For more information on the dance, visit www.nicolavalleyrodeo.com.