Thursday, November 15

Canadian Western Agribition is next week in Regina

Attending the Canadian Western Agribition has pretty much become an annual pilgrimage in our family. The program has changed so much over the years that I sometimes wonder what the future holds for this quintessential tourism event for Regina.

The draft horse competition is gone but the horse pulls remain, along with the Stock Dog show. New activities have been established, yet the Rodeo event still is an effective lure for those longing for excitement in their NHL-deprived lives these days.

The Agri-Ed Showcase is always a hit with school children, who then ask their parents to take them back to Agribition on the weekend.

Once we have wandered through the barns and trade show portions, after we have looked the international buyers from places as far away as Argentina and Kazakhstan, one of our favorite activities is to enjoy the Team Penning competition. This is a treat every year. There is an eminently palpable cowboy/cowgirl culture on display during this competition that never fails to move me. The audience cheers confirms that others share this sentiment.

Some might argue that Regina weather in mid-November  is not conducive to showcasing the city's best features, but this is a time of the year when there is a sufficient inventory of hotel rooms available to house the out-of-town visitors. When in Saskatchewan, visitors become like locals in any case. Many visit CowTown to get the right gear! We could do worse than to try and instill more of this western spirit throughout the year.

Hey, I think going to Agribition for the day is one of the most meaningful activities one can undertake. It does remind us not only of a critical facet of Saskatchewan's economy, but also of the roots of our farming and ranching communities -- of the expertise agricultural producers in Western Canada have developed since the early days of Plains settlement. First Nations included.

I bet attending this year's edition of Agribition will also provide visitors a chance to take a different look at the new face of Saskatchewan. Agribition is a microcosm of the province in away. Especially when we live in cities, few events can draw as many, from as many demographic segments - man, women, children and people of all ethnic origins. There is much to be learned from taking it all in.