Growing up in farm country of rural Langley, Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie are no strangers to the Cloverdale Rodeo or the cowboys and cowgirls this annual event attracts.
â€œIt really is a great annual, local event that weâ€™re proud to be a part of,â€ said Robyn, the big sister at 22.
â€œAnd we were so honoured to be asked to sing the Canadian and American anthems this year,â€ chimed in 19-year-old Ryleigh.
These sibling, simply known on stage as Robyn & Ryleigh, are an emerging country/pop duo that has been garnering a fair amount of attention since the release of their self-named debut album last year.
And while theyâ€™ve been travelling a fair amount of late, including a recent trip to Nashville, theyâ€™re excited to be performing in their own backyard during the May long weekend.
â€œWe have been at the rodeo a few times but this will be the first time singing the Canadian and American Anthems there,â€ Robyn told the Langley Advance, noting theyâ€™ll also be singing a couple of the songs from their album.
They call themselves authentic country girls, â€œpart mud, makeup, glamour and fun.â€
So, hanging out at the Cloverdale Rodeo, and more specifically all those muscle-bound cowboys while performing to a built in audience of country music fans rodeo didnâ€™t hurt, either, said Ryleigh.
The duo will be performing in between rodeo performances. In fact, theyâ€™re slated to perform in the Stetson Bowl, on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., then Sunday and Monday at 2:30 p.m.
While they are anxious to be part of the rodeo, they have a number of other â€œexcitingâ€ shows coming up this summer too, including a few in Alberta and one closer to home.
On May 25, theyâ€™re flying out to Calgary for the annual Lilac Festival.
â€œ…canâ€™t wait for that trip,â€ said Robyn.
Then, theyâ€™re are showcasing their talents for their hometown fans at the Denim & Diamonds Gala. thatâ€™s a fundraising event for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation on June 9, where theyâ€™ll perform alongside fellow Langleyite Karen-Lee Batten.
â€œProceeds from the gala will support the purchase of urgent, life-saving equipment for the hospital,â€ Ryleigh said. â€œVery excited to be a part of this one.â€
Theyâ€™re also slated to perform at the Hard Rock Casino â€œCountry Nightsâ€ on June 12, and Robyn encouraged fans to stay tuned to their website â€“ www.robynandryleigh.com â€“ for more upcoming tour dates and locations.
While theyâ€™re looking forward to rustler themselves up a few new fans at the Cloverdale Rodeo this weekend, theyâ€™re spending this week in the studio this week laying down some of the songs they co-wrote while down in Nashville recently.
â€œWeâ€™re very excited to say that we are recording a few songs that were born in Nashville, and will be releasing one of them as a single sometime in June,â€ Robyn said.
Asked to elaborate on their trip to Music City â€“ Nashville â€“ the up-and-comers described it as â€œbrilliant.â€
â€œThe Nashville trip was such a great experience. We met some wonderful people,â€ said Robyn.
â€œWe co-wrote with some amazing writers and came home with a few new songs. We loved it! It was our first time there but definitely not our last,â€ said Ryleigh.
Rodeo runs the long weekend
The Cloverdale Rodeo and annual country fair â€“ now in its 126th year â€“ is being held the long weekend, from May 16 to 19, in and around the Cloverdale fairgrounds.
Gate admission is $12, parking is $10, rodeo performances are $20, and all-day ride passes are $40. Children 12 years and younger get in free.
For more information people can go online to: www.cloverdalerodeo.com.