ESTEVAN - Activity in Estevan seemingly died down early Saturday night, as its heart was beating at the Exhibition Grounds.
The Estevan Exhibition Association (EEA) KCRA Rodeo gathered much of the community for a great family-oriented rodeo weekend.
Local rodeo fans couldn't recall when they saw the stands being so packed as they were on Saturday, and EEA president Tamera Huber said that they couldn't wish for a better turnout.
"I was blown away by the number of people on Friday night even. It just felt good seeing that many people there," Huber said.
After two years of a break, it was the first big event and the first fundraiser for the EEA, and it worked out great.
"I was almost in tears when I saw some of the numbers because it was bigger than anything we've had in a long, long time," Huber said.
The kids rodeo attracted a lot of interest Friday night, and the following horses versus dirt bikes race also kept people entertained.
"We made more of a big deal of kids rodeo this time. KCRA is more family-oriented … And I feel like this is the type of rodeos that we need to stick with … And I love the feeling that you get from that. That family part of the rodeo circuit," Huber said. "That's how these people start out in rodeo. They start out small like that, and I appreciate it having the beginners. Those kids are the reason why societies like ours exist to this day."
She added that they are continuing with KCRA next year, and if all goes according to plan, the Energy City Ex will bring the rodeo and midway back together, as it was planned two years ago.
Many tributes were paid and many great words were said at the rodeo opening Saturday afternoon.
The biggest announcement recognized all the hard work and dedication of Graham Collie. To thank Collie, the association named the riding arena after him.
"Graham Collie puts in hours and hours and hours prepping that arena for every event. There's a lot of prep work to that sand before anything starts. He works all day from early in the morning until late at night. He works at Genco Asphalt and then he comes to the rodeo arena and will work till 11-12 o'clock at night. He's done it for years. He knows what he's doing and he gets it done, never asked for any help from anybody," Huber said adding that the announcement put many board members in tears.
The rodeo was filled with action with many juniors partaking in various competitions. The cabaret Saturday night was also packed.
"You didn't have to come to the rodeo to come to the cabaret, and people were coming just for the cabaret. It shows how much people needed to be doing something," Huber said.
Overall, Huber said all event participants were very excited about the turnout.
"We don't normally have vendors selling anything there. And we had vendors contacting us even days before the rodeo, and they were quite happy with how things turned out. Even food trucks, they were overwhelmed by how well they were doing even on Friday night," Huber said.
She also thanked everyone involved with the past weekend.
"Thank you to all of the volunteers and to the city and the surrounding communities. And a thank you to SMILE Services," Huber said.
"The whole weekend was phenomenal."