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Agriculture This Week: Fall fairs all about memories

Fall fairs have a way of creating moments we will not forget.
Attending fall fairs very much about friendships and memories. (File Photo)

YORKTON - The Yorkton Harvest Showdown has always held a rather important spot in my memories. 

As I have no doubt wrote about in the past one of my first assignments as a rookie reporter at Yorkton This Week was to interview the then Yorkton Exhibition Association manager Shaun Morin about the plans for the first Showdown. I found Shaun driving pegs through the asphalt at the Agriplex parking lot to facilitate tie downs for tents being put up to house cattle. 

The event has come a long way since then. 

But, some stories have threads which continue to weave through the years. 

Flash forward to this years show, now in its 33rd edition, I am taking photos of some youngsters in the show ring with calves, and Shaun is sitting in the stands. We remind each other of that interview long ago, and then I learn the six-year-old in the ring trailing a calf is his grandson. It seems I might well be interviewing a Morin relative one day related to Harvest Showdown. 

Of course connections are a huge part of events such as Harvest Showdown, or Edmonton’s Farmfair, or Regina’s Canadian Western Agribition, or the Royal in Toronto – they are places old friends gather each year often to renew acquaintances made through the same event decades earlier. 

I remember in my life before journalism showing stock at Agribition in that show’s earliest years –the first decade actually. There was a friend of my Dad’s who was a huge wrestling fan, and it so happened my Dad and I watched Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary every Saturday unless seeding and harvest got in the way. Well this friend bought piles of wrestling magazines through the year and he would pass along a huge stack to a voracious young reader and fan. It was a huge part of the Agribition experience for me. 

I also look to the Royal for one of my best memories as a youth. I was 12, in Grade 6, and Dad pulled me from class for a week to head east. We rode the train – the food was great, at least I thought so – and the view from the observation car amazing. 

And the show was incredible. We never saw rabbits, or chickens, or goats at summer fairs back then (1972), but at the Royal they were all there, and I was in awe. It was outstanding. 

I do recall my Grade 6 teacher telling Dad I’d learn more on the trip than I would in a week of class. He was correct in that. I doubt I recall a lesson from Grade 6, but I certainly recall the Royal trip. 

Fall fairs have a way of creating moments we will not forget. 

Shaun and I will always remember that interview long ago. 

He will now add a grandson in the show ring to his list of memories, and I was there to see him smiling proudly. 

That is the magic of such shows.