With the beautiful weather and the strong support from sponsors and the public, it is evident to Kevin Boese the return of the Gilbert Plains- Grandview Agricultural Society’s Fair and Rodeo was meant to be.
The society president said considering the event has not been held for two years, he could not be more pleased with the result.
“I think it went really, really well. The gates were busy. It was well attended, the stands were full and we had beautiful weather the entire time,” Boese said. “Everything went very smoothly.”
The two years off did present some minor challenges for organizers as some minor details went unaddressed.
“Considering that we haven’t had a fair for two years we had kind of forgotten how to run one, but in the end everything went very smoothly,” he said. “The beer gardens were full, the sun was hot and everybody had a great time.”
Participation in the rodeo was tremendous, Boese added, with more than 200 contestants registered, along with 18 chuckwagons and 13 chariots. That was a nice surprise for Boese, who worried the cost of travel might be too much for some competitors.
“With the high gas prices that we’ve been having I was a bit concerned about people driving and showing up,” he said. “But it didn’t seem too offensive. I noticed that a bunch of guys were carpooling together and they made it work.”
The results of the chuckwagon and chariot races is available on the Manitoba Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association website while rodeo results will be available soon on the Heartland Rodeo Association website, Boese said. On the fair side of the equation things went well with the trade show and craft show both proving to be popular stops. Also popular was the Show and Shine Car Show in the arena and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champion Dauphin Kings booth which saw players displaying the Turnbull Cup and posing for pictures with fans.
Other fair highlights included the light horse events and kids activities centred around the petting zoo.
Boese said plans are to grow the fair side of weekend in the coming years.
“It was a great way to start out but it’ll definitely be better and maybe arranged a little bit better, so it’s very good for next year,” Boese said, adding the time away made organizers a little rusty, but things worked out in the end. “There was just little things that we maybe kind of forgot to do and just made it a little bit more difficult on the volunteers to try and kind of step up and do things on the go that we forgot. But we powered it through and it went very well.”
Like other events which have returned following the pandemic, securing volunteers was somewhat of a concern heading in, but the people involved made it work, Boese said.
“We definitely could have used a few more volunteers, But boy oh boy the ones that showed up, did they ever work hard to get stuff done,” he said adding dedication to, and support for the event is what makes it work “Everything just went very well thanks to all the volunteers and everybody that supported us and all the great sponsorships. We have a huge team of the sponsorships that we rely on throughout the Parkland and we just couldn’t do it without them either.”
That kind of support invigorates organizers, Boese said, and they are already back at work planning for next year.
“I already sent out a group message this morning about writing down ideas to get bigger and different for next year, so it’s fresh in our minds,” he said, adding the success this year shows organizers that people want to see the event continue.
“The stands were packed full both days. We had great attendance, zero complaints about any of that. It was very well attended.”