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Ag pavilion to be added to three days of action and fun at the Energy City Ex

The three days promise to be packed with action, excitement and entertainment for all ages.
estevan-rodeo-2023-19
This year's fair and rodeo weekend is to bring all of last year's excitement and add some more during the June 14-16 event. File photo

ESTEVAN — The Energy City Ex, one of the brightest and most exciting summer weekends in Estevan, is just around the corner. The last touches are being applied, as the Estevan Exhibition Association (EEA) board is preparing for the June 14-16 weekend.

The three days promise to be packed with action, excitement and entertainment for all ages.

West Coast Amusement will bring the midway to Estevan for three days, and there will also be rodeo action by the KCRA at the exhibition grounds.

"Things are really good. We have a phenomenal team again this year, so things are coming together and shaping up for the three days just packed full of action and excitement," said EEA board president Crystal Ross.

The weekend will kick off with the SMILE Services parade through town, ending at the exhibition grounds. The parade will be joined by the 2024 Estevan Comprehensive School graduates, whose official graduation ceremony takes place the next day.

Outside the main attractions of the midway and rodeo, the King of the Prairies Open Steer and Heifer Jackpot cattle show will make a return this year on June 15, as will the quilt exhibition at the Estevan Exhibition building throughout the weekend. New this year will be a live demonstration by local quilters, who will also answer questions about the art.

In addition, there will be a big addition that has been in the works for five years, Ross said, and which will occur throughout the weekend.

"Our biggest, newest and most exciting addition … is the ag pavilion. We got the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association on board bringing the cow dome. We've got SAASE [Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions] bringing multiple displays. Ag in the Classroom is going to be there with their green displays and many interactive hands-on activities for young and old to enjoy.

"We've got lots of small critters coming, we're hoping for bunnies and sheep and maybe goats, many different small livestock to be part of the ag pavilion. The Ministry of Agriculture is bringing a display. And we're working on quite a few other associations that can, hopefully, partake, give us a really cool learning experience, and let the kids see where their food really comes from and get their hands dirty. So that's a super huge, awesome, exciting addition that we really anticipate being a huge success," Ross said.

The pavilion will be in the Wylie-Mitchell building.

Another attraction is the cabaret, slated for Saturday night, with Tyler Lewis headlining.

The beer gardens will operate at the exhibition grounds throughout the weekend. There also will be a lot of food trucks, and the southeast's Truco Trick Riders are the hired entertainment for Friday and Saturday.

"That's a huge and really exciting addition too," Ross said.

She added there are some Father's Day surprises coming, which will be announced closer to the event.

The Rodeo Queen contest, which is now Miss Rodeo Estevan, is making a return this year as well. Two young women – Hannah Ferrier, 19, and Desirae Cleveland, 18, are to compete for the title.

"The role of Miss Rodeo Estevan is much like holding a job in the sense that it requires dedication and sacrifice and, of course, some rewards. The goal is for Miss Rodeo Estevan to be a role model to all young ladies, regardless of whether they're part of the western lifestyle or not. We're looking for someone who upholds themselves with grit and grace and is also an ambassador for the board of the rodeo, the Estevan Exhibition Association, and the City of Estevan," said Annetta McDavid, who is organizing the contest this year.

"We're very lucky; this year both of our contestants are real cowgirls, but also ladies. Their goal is to make rodeo appearances, and also be involved in the community through public speaking, the sport of rodeo and representing the City of Estevan at local events and when they're wearing their crown, their buckles, their order sashes as well."

McDavid noted that Miss Rodeo Estevan contestants will do public service in the year following the coronation, participating in many community events, and representing the EEA and the city. When the queen is not available, the princess should represent her instead.

The contestants are to be judged on four components: horsemanship, personality and appearance, public speaking, and 50/50 raffle ticket sales. McDavid noted that both participation and victory come with many benefits.

"It's a whole year-long commitment if you're crowned queen or first princess. But the big attraction for the Miss Rodeo Estevan competition is we have a $1,000 scholarship as one of the main prizes for continuing education, and that continuing education can be at any accredited educational institution," McDavid said.

"And it's really super learning. … We have coaches to help them with public speaking, community members who donate their time, and typically want to remain anonymous, they spend individual time coaching the girls with their public speaking and with their horsemanship, running the patterns, and with the attire. We have the whole community behind us, helping them look their best appearance-wise. It's really a community that gives and comes together and supports this," she added.

The public speaking and horsemanship competitions are on June 10 starting at 6 p.m. at the Estevan Exhibition grounds, and all are welcome to attend.

McDavid said they expect last year's rodeo queen and princesses to be in attendance this year. She noted the new contestants will not be competing and will be solely focused on their role as Miss Rodeo Estevan contenders, and she encouraged the public to support the young women.  

"We want to invite the public to come and watch and cheer and support at the fair and the rodeo through the purchase of our 50/50 tickets and our vendors, and we just love to see everyone come out," McDavid said.

The public can also vote for the people's choice award during the fair and rodeo until 8 p.m. on June 14.

The queen and the princess are going to be announced on June 15 before the evening rodeo performance at about 4 p.m.

To ensure the entire event is a success, the EEA is calling for more volunteers. Anyone willing to volunteer can reach out to the EEA by emailing them at eea@sasktel.net.

They are also looking for non-profit organizations which would like to join them and take over some duties. One would be midway patrol, which is a paid position, but there are also other opportunities to help with the event while also promoting the organization.

"We're looking for other non-profit groups that are willing to maybe team up and help their association as much as you're going to help our association. We're always looking for those relationships to build because the non-profit groups in this community are what makes this whole world go round," Ross said.

She thanked their major midway sponsor SteamEst Industries, major rodeo sponsor GenCo Asphalt and other local businesses that make the event possible.

"Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors. It wouldn't happen without them," Ross said.

She also thanked the board for endless hours of their work.

"The Exhibition Association board is just a phenomenal group of people. They all work countless hours throughout the whole year, and they're excited to bring the Energy City Ex back to Estevan, in a bigger and better capacity," Ross said.