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Tradition and dedication highlights U of S Agros' 42nd Telemiracle bed push

Would you push a bed for 250 kilometres to raise money for Telemiracle? The U of S Agros continue this tradition, now in its 42nd year.

SASKATOON — The University of Saskatchewan Agros are helping make miracles happen. Students at the College of Agriculture, fondly referred to as the Agros, will undertake their 42nd year of pushing a bed to Telemiracle as part of their fundraising and fun raising, efforts.:

Over the last 40 years, the U of S Agros have raised just over $400,000 for Kinsmen TeleMiracle

“We collected information from the early years from our alumni and have learned that the Agros have pushed a bed every single year, but at some point, although not confirmed exactly when, the tradition switched to every two years when TeleMiracle was taking place in Regina,” Ellie Stauffer, president and Senior Stick, Agriculture and Bioresources Students’ Association tells

Stauffer said she and her team reached out to an extensive alumni system and are providing some insights on the history of their historic bed push for Telemiracle fundraising.

“The executive / student board of the Agriculture Students’ Association typically plan the event, although all students within the College of Agriculture have the opportunity to participate and plan. The public relations officer generally spearheads the tradition of our bed push in recent years with Cailey Church being this year’s PRO.”

Bed push tradition began in 1982

Through research, this year’s team learned Bill Sherk, Class of ‘82C, was one of the key organizers of the first bed push in 1982. “That first year we underestimated how much effort it would take to ‘push’ as I remember starting strong in the city with everyone running beside the bed and some even riding on it.”

This inaugural group of Agros bed pushers say by the time they hit the valley at Blackstrap, they were down to shifts of two pushers at a time and no one was riding. By the time they got on stage with Allan Thicke to present their cheque, they had each run more than four full marathons that weekend, as there were only a dozen of them.

Mayson Maerz, from the U of S Agros Class of 1983, adds, “There was considerable discussion as to what to do to generate awareness and donations and some of the ag mechanics options students suggested pushing a bed.”

Maerz affirmed that when the idea came back to the executive, it was unanimously decided to pursue this. An old bed frame was purchased from Rose’s Furniture on Avenue C for $25 and it was brought back to the tractor lab to add wheels and painted in Agro colours.

Bill Aulie, Class of ’83 and former executive member says, “I don’t remember who dreamt up this idea but I am guessing it was in the basement of  Wiggins Avenue." 

Aulie also noted that while he thought it was a crazy idea it has certainly provided great memories.

An ambitious crew thought they could raise more money with a longer push so in the second year, 1983, the bed started in Moose Jaw, pushed to Regina then headed north to Saskatoon.

Agro alumni recall their experience in the annual bed push tradition

Thanks to encouragement from the current Agro executive, former Ag graduates and bed push participants enthusiastically added their recollections of the history of this event.

Henry de Gooijer, Class of ’82, was a bed pusher both in 1982 and 1983 and recalls many of the challenges and highlights along their route, including both CJWW and CHAB helping out with their vans. He also fondly recalled a police escort through Saskatoon, down 8th Street and over Idylwyld Bridge (before Circle Drive existed) to safety at Centennial Auditorium to present their fundraising live on the show.

Al VanCaeseel, Class of 1989, said starting in 2018, Agro alumni became part of the participatory efforts in this annual fundraising activity and VanCaeseel plans on running this year again, making his ninth Agro bed push.

“I loved this evolution of the push. The connection of students to alumni has been fantastic and has rekindled my love for the college and has offered so many new connections with students over the past number of years, “adds VanCaeseel.

Agros set $100,000 fundraising goal for 2024

The 2024 organizers for this time-honoured tradition say they are hoping to have as many students, faculty, alumni, sponsors and supporters as possible.

“Our fundraising events leading up to the big push include bingo nights, a Calcutta, bowling night, a university-wide bake sale, a raffle and many other initiatives to help us achieve our goal of $100,000 raised”

The Agros organization team also says they will be at the Usask Huskies hockey game on Feb.9 as well as other events. There are also donation boxes in each office of the Agriculture Building as well as in the student lounge.

The fundraising link is

The 2024 route will go along Highway 11 from Saskatoon to Regina, to get to Bladworth the first day. Day two the bed pushers aim to get to Chamberlain and the third day they plan to arrive in Regina to make their presentation live on Telemiracle 48.

“We raised over $88,000 with the 2022 bed push which led us to set our goal this year of $100,000,” Stauffer says.

The Agros always appreciate the generosity of Meridian Manufacturing who provide pilot vehicles. This year, they are seeking assistance from the RCMP for safety awareness and slowing down nearing the bed-pushing road team.

“We have snacks and water on the bus for participants as they finish running, as well as businesses along the way allow us to stop in and provide snacks and a warm place to rest.”

Stauffer also affirms that there are second- and third-generation bed pushers and there have also been times that three generations are pushing the bed at the same time, a testament to the commitment and loyalty to this 40-year Agro tradition.

Each year, the bed is inspected to ensure it is ready for the trek but otherwise it has had the same metal bed frame with a plywood sheet painted with the U of S Agro crest, keeping with tradition.

The fundraising for this project was kicked off Jan. 16 in the atrium of the agriculture building while the push itself kicks off Feb. 22 from the outskirts of Saskatoon.

The only exceptions to the bed being pushed is up and down Lumsden Hill as well as if bad weather occurs that would compromise the safety of the runners, or a stretch that is particularly unsafe. In these instances, the bed is loaded up to find better conditions. The team remains committed to pushing as much as they are safely able to do.

“We happily take donations along the route. Sometimes people will stop us on the route and donate or use the signs.”

The College of Agriculture organizers and students say they are always happy to help out community, and proud to band together to fundraise.

“This is one of the most fun fundraising events we plan and is a longstanding tradition that we are happy to keep going. Everyone is excited to see how much higher we can go this year. We have so much support from our student community, faculty and staff at U of S. Telemiracle is always wonderful to work with and support us every step of the way.”

Stauffer says the Agros are proud of their legacy and Saskatchewan’s farming community, noting that last year’s Telemiracle chair, Scott Lamb, was a farmer and rancher from Swift Current and Telemiracle 48 chair, Tyler Hall is a farmer from Mortlach as well as this year’s corporate co-chair, Lyndsay L’Heureux was an Agro.