SIMPSON: If day at Surrey rodeo is any indication, we need to step it up as parents

Those of you who know me know this – I am a big fan of Surrey’s youth.

I believe this city has some of the most intelligent, talented, creative and classy kids on the planet.

You see proof of this at one of my favourite annual events, the SASSY Awards, which honour the city’s most inspiring youth. 

You see it every year on stage at the Bell Centre, where students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities dance their way into your heart during the Surrey school district’s dance festival.

And you can see proof of it, like I just did, at dance recitals all over Surrey. I watched in awe Sunday as my step-daughter Macayla and her Panorama School of Dance peers performed like seasoned professionals at the Bell Centre, complete with heartfelt speeches of gratitude from the school’s graduating students after the recital’s finale.

And you see it in these very pages – regular readers already know that the Now’s news team loves showcasing young people who are making a difference in our community. Just look at today’s front page for evidence of that.

It’s easy to see that we have amazing kids among us. As a community – and as their parents – we should be proud.

But on Saturday, my faith in youth – and in our community’s parenting abilities – took a big hit on the fairgrounds of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Fair.

Now, I want to be fair here and not paint all fairgoers with the same brush.

Did I see young, polite, well-behaved children thoroughly enjoying the rides and games with their parents? Absolutely I did.

Did I see teenagers who were having a great time with their friends in a responsible, mature manner? Yes, I saw that, too.

But if you were with me on Saturday, you would have seen many other, much more disturbing things.

You would have seen kids stumbling around from ride to ride blind drunk.

You would have been shaking your head in disbelief as you watched girls looking as young as 12 walk by, seemingly engaged in a competition with their peers as to who could dress the most inappropriately for their age.

And if you are a more conservative parent like me, perhaps your head would have also shaken when you saw the countless mohawk haircuts on kids – some of whom were so young they could barely walk (I know this comes down to personal taste but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why parents would want their child to project that image at such a young age).

On the fairgrounds, you also would have seen cops confiscate many a mickey from under-aged drinkers.

You would have heard a dad call his young son, who was maybe seven or eight, a crude name that rhymes with "wussy" because he wouldn’t go in the haunted house attraction.

And you would have heard this classy line from a young girl, whose voice sounded no older than 15 and who brought a boy into a port-a-potty (yes, a port-a-potty): "I hope you brought protection because I can’t afford birth control."

And finally, you would have seen a completely plastered, handcuffed young man – with his dad in tow – smack face first right into my wife’s chest, followed closely by a cop who was struggling to corral him, despite the teen’s drunken efforts to make a clumsy escape.

You also would have heard the news that alcohol is suspected after 10 young people left the rodeo the night before packed in a pickup truck – eight of them in the box – and miraculously survived after the driver lost control of the truck and it rolled, violently throwing the kids from the box.

To say the least, a day at the rodeo does not leave you with the best impression of our city’s young people, or the hard work we parents do in raising our kids properly.

In contrast, had you walked over the rodeo’s main stage on Sunday, you would have seen a much more positive representation of Surrey’s youth and their parents.

The BC Junior Talent Search always gives a glimpse of the talent we have among our youth.

At the finals on Sunday, you would have heard beautiful young voices coming through the massive speakers, accompanied by the supportive cheers and hollers from proud parents.

I wasn’t there this year but have been honoured in the past to help judge the contest and it always leaves me feeling good about Surrey’s families.

The Cloverdale Rodeo and Fair is a proud tradition in Surrey and it does a lot of great things for our community.

But for me, what it does is highlight the importance of parenting – and this scares me because Surrey is a city full of young people and young parents.

If a day at the rodeo is any indication, we seriously need to up our game as parents. Our community is depending on it.

Is Beau out of line with his views on youth and parenting? Let him know at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

Officers with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were at a White Rock home Tuesday (Oct. 20) to assist Vancouver Police Department with execution of a search warrant. (Contributed photo)
ERT response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Nine Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

The site of the former Rona store in Newton could be home to a park and civic amenities, in the 6900-block of King George Boulevard. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey buying 16 properties in Newton for parkland, civic amenities

Mayor Doug McCallum says project will be ‘fast-tracked’

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan arrives at Luxton Hall to cast their votes in advance polls for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Pandemic election prompts voter suppression claims by B.C. Liberals

‘These emergencies require in us a maturity that has been lacking in politics for so long’

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of UBC geoscientists discovered the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

A Rick Hansen Secondary School student died in hospital after suffering a medical incident in class on Monday. (File photo)
Abbotsford student dies after medical incident in class

Rick Hansen Secondary School offering additional counselling for students who require it

Most Read