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Weyburn Ag Society has solid year thanks to the Fair

The Ag Society's finances are solid in large part due to the Fair's success

WEYBURN – The Weyburn Agricultural Society is in a very good financial position thanks in large part to the Weyburn Fair held in July, after missing an entire year of activities in 2020 due to COVID restrictions.

Members and directors gathered for their annual meeting on Dec. 14, and heard reports on the past year, including the financial statement for the year, and filled board positions for the coming year.

The organization had first thought 2021 would be another year without a fair, but around the third week of June a call came from Canuck Amusements asking if Weyburn wanted to stage a fair this year.

The Ag Society members rushed to organize the Fair in about three weeks, and it was held from July 15-18, which was right after COVID restrictions were lifted by the provincial government.

The Fair had a midway, the Deep South barrel-racing jackpot, a ball game with the Iron Pigs ball team, a trade show in the Curling Rink, a kids rodeo was held and the Fair ended with the Soo Line Cruisers hosting a car show along with the demolition derby. A total of around 8,900 people attended over the four days.

The “Fall Brawl” demo derby was held on Sept. 12, but the weather was cool and attendance was not nearly as good as the summer event, the AGM heard.

The 4-H show on July 5-6 was a modified version of their normal event, with 104 4-H members attending the two-day event.

As organizer Bev Gordon noted in her report, this was a highly restricted event with 28 pages of rules from Sask 4-H and public health. The public was not allowed to attend, and a log of who was present had to be kept throughout the event. The event did not include any stall displays, team grooming or judging classes.

The steer show and sale had 83 steers in the show, and 71 were sold, with an average price of $4.28 a pound. Some members chose not to sell their animal after the show.

Building repairs came up in the past year, as a big windstorm in January blew the doors off the north end of the big barn, and they flew across the yard and one hit the big door on the west end of the curling rink. The south side doors were also damaged, and some eavestroughs and downspouts were ripped off.

The Ag Society put up safety panels around the grandstand and the beer gardens building due to graffiti and vandalism.

On the curling rink, the lobby roof leaked along with part of the roof over the ice surface, so roof repairs had to be carried out. The Weyburn Oil Show board donated $25,000 towards this project.

In the financial report, Erika Manko of MNP noted the Ag Society ended at $77,000 in the black, compared to a year ago when they had a deficit of $38,000, and it was mostly attributed to the success of the Fair.

Part of the good finances from the Fair was due to the fact that no entertainment was brought in for the grandstands, and the event was kept simple and straight-forward.

Manko noted the cash flow at the end of the year totaled $293,000, and commented, “It’s a healthy cash balance, which is good for a non-profit.”

The Fair dates for 2022 were approved by the directors, with the 4-H show to start on July 3, and the Fair itself will run four days again from July 7 to 10. The Weyburn Rodeo was tentatively set for July 8-9 during the Fair.

The scholarship award was not presented as they had no applications this year, and in discussion, the directors were told that it seems the information was not passed on to students at the Weyburn Comp. They decided they will have two scholarships awarded for 2022.

The Neal Keefe Volunteer Award will be presented to the Fisher family. Tyler Metheral said honourable mentions for this award (approved by the board) will go to Jeff Clay, Melissa Carson, Mike and Carla Fellner and Marla Holdstock, for the work they did in helping ensure the Fair was able to be held.

The board approved applying for an ICIP grant, which is shared grant funding to go towards repairs to concrete blocks for the curling rink. According to the funding split, 40 per cent will come from the federal government, 33 per cent from the province, and the Ag Society will provide the balance, around $7,000, of the total cost estimated at around $26,000.

The board of directors includes Kent Fisher in his second year as president; vice-presidents Tyler Metheral and Jeff Clay; Mike and Carla Fellner, cattle committee; Tyler Metheral, entertainment committee and grounds committee; Brittany Stepp, gates; Lisa Vick, household arts; Levi Paradis, commercial and concession; Marla Holdstock, farrier competition; Bev Gordon, 4-H Beef; Jodi Long, horse committee; Jeff Clay, advertising; Jaime Wawro, finance; Kelley Neiszner, hospitality; Mike Bell, smoker competition.

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