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Local rodeo volunteer recognized with honorary street name in Cloverdale

‘Will Senger Way’ officially unveiled May 14 on Cloverdale Fairgrounds

Cloverdale has another honorary street name.

The honorary name “Will Senger Way” was officially unveiled at the corner of 62nd Avenue and 177B Street on May 14 by Mayor Brenda Locke.

The mayor, city councillors, members of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, the family of Will Senger, and other dignitaries were all on hand for the unveiling. Senger was a prominent member of the Rodeo Association for more than 50 years, having started out as a volunteer in the 1950s. He passed away in 2017.

“As a true Cloverdale cowboy, Will’s impact on the rodeo industry in Canada was just simply immeasurable,” Locke said. “In recognition of his remarkable contribution, 177B Street, between 62nd and 64th Avenue, in now commemorated as Will Senger Way.”

Senger’s children and grandchildren were on hand and his daughter Lori Biersack came to the podium to express the family’s thanks to both the city and the Rodeo Association for honouring her dad.

SEE ALSO: 2024 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair returns

“We are extremely proud and grateful for the incredible work Will did for our city,” Locke added. “And for the profound impact he had on the rodeo community, not just in Surrey, but throughout Canada.”

Councillor Rob Stutt took to the podium as well. Stutt is also the chair of the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission (SHAC). In his role as chair, he announced a new commemorative storyboard about rodeo volunteers, highlighting Senger, is going to be put up in front of the Agriplex.

In November 2023, SHAC approved a new storyboard about Senger’s life and his contributions to both Cloverdale and rodeo.

“The storyboard will share the history of the rodeo, the Fairgrounds, and will include the integral role that volunteers have played in the creation of the success of the rodeo, including Will Senger.”

Stutt didn’t give a specific date the storyboard would be installed, only noting it would be “later this year.”

Kathy Sheppard, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, said she was “over the moon” now that Senger has finally been recognized locally.

“It’s been seven years that we’ve been working with the city and with the heritage commission to get something done,” said Sheppard. “We’re thrilled—thrilled for Cloverdale, thrilled for the Association, and thrilled for the city and all our volunteers.”

Will Senger Way now intersects with another honorary street name in Cloverdale, Bill Reid Way.

“That’s a pretty strong intersection,” Sheppard remarked. “Pillars of the community. Now we have them here forever.”

Gerry Spielmacher, past president of the Cloverdale Rodeo Association, knew Senger for decades. He said seeing Senger’s name on the sign made him feel great.

“We’ve been trying to do something for a number of years, so it’s just really great to see that something’s been done,” Spielmacher said. “Really appreciate the City of Surrey and what they’ve done to get this organized.”

Spielmacher said the street sign and the forthcoming storyboard will keep Senger’s name and legacy alive for generations.

Rocky Rockwell knew Senger for many decades too, volunteering alongside him since the mid-1970s. He said he was proud to just be a part of the celebration.

“He taught me everything I knew here and made sure I knew it right,” explained Rockwell.

He said Senger knew everything there was to know about rodeo, animals, and cowboys.

“He was a strong advocate for Surrey, for Cloverdale, and for the rodeo,” Rockwell added. “For people that didn’t know him, they don’t know what they missed.”

Senger was born and raised in B.C. He was born in Kelowna on Nov. 16, 1931, and later moved to Burnaby with his family at the beginning of World War II. He got his start in rodeo in 1948 at the age of 16 with Burnaby Lake Stables. During the early days of the Cloverdale Rodeo, likely the late ’40s or early ’50s, he tried his hand at bareback riding and team roping.

He started volunteering with the Cloverdale Rodeo in the ’50s and became chairman in 1962. Over his many years with the Association, Senger wore many hats, including being director of the Association. He was awarded the Governor General’s Medal in 1992 for his dedication to promoting rodeo in Canada. And, in 2004, he became the first British Columbian to be inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Senger passed away on October 27, 2017. He was 85.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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