Just a few weeks after a successful and entertaining Centennial Cup, Estevan became a host to another great event.
The fair and rodeo, happening at the same time with activities spread out over four days, wrapped up on Sunday, leaving the Energy City and all surrounding communities a bit exhausted but definitely happy.
Whenever I was telling my folks and friends about my plans for the past weekend and the many things I had to cover, the first question I would get from everyone was, how big is our city? Indeed, with under 12,000 people living in Estevan, for most people I spoke to, it was hard to believe that such a big event would be something we'd take on.
I won't hide it, I was really proud to share the details about one of the biggest rodeos we've seen in the many years, a fair that was happening on site and many other highlights such as the parade, rodeo queen novelty, emergency services tug-a-war, the unbelievable kid's rodeo, junior events and much more.
These four days had something that could cheer and inspire anyone and everyone.
The fair gave a lot of joy to little kids. It attracted teenagers of all interests and styles, providing them with unforgettable moments. It saw parents and grandparents forgetting their age, leaving the daily life behind, and for some brief minutes, becoming kids again.
The parade brought in some beauty and community engagement, a vital thing to keep the city positive and united.
The rodeo queen and princess, along with many young participants, could inspire new generations of cowgirls and cowboys, and help them believe that they could achieve anything they really want. The KCRA Rodeo brought in hours of good sports adrenaline – something each one of us needs on regular basis to keep the excitement in our lives. So much skill and talent, so many local participants doing really great, too.
The emergency services' two little shows also did a lot of good. First, it reminded us of how strong of defenders we have on guard. But this jokey standoff also made people sincerely smile, laugh and cheer – something that we deeply needed after two years of stress, fear and instability.
And of course, the opportunity to eat together, have some drinks and dance at the cabaret just brought that social element we've been short on for a while.
We didn't have Kevin Costner opening our big weekend. (The Yellowstone star was announced as a marshal to lead the opening parade for Calgary Stampede this year.) Maybe just not yet. Who knows, with the way things went in Estevan, we may end up getting some big stars over to the Energy City in the future. But I'd say even without any extra attractions and stars, we had an outstanding four days.
I had nothing to do with the huge undertaking to bring the Energy City Ex Fair and Rodeo to Estevan, but I still felt involved. Probably, it was similar for many of you. I felt proud just being a part of the community that can take upon such a big event, and then actually realize it to its best.
But if you look at the reality, it was just a handful of the Estevan Exhibition Association board members, volunteers, and individuals and businesses supporting them in their enormous undertaking. They were our behind-the-scenes heroes that put in endless hours and brought this valued entertainment to fruition. They were the ones that said we are going to do it and they did.
Over 20 years of a break didn't scare them away. Potential complications and challenges didn't stop them. Not only did they fulfill a wish for a joint fair and rodeo that many people had for years, but they also brought back some other elements such as the queen contest.
These brave, committed local people hardly had any sleep over these four days and probably not much more in the weeks leading up to the event. It wasn't their job, careers or anything of personal benefit. At the end of last week, all the happiness and joy we got from it was the result of their care for the community, love for what they do and passion for traditions, lifestyle and the heritage.
They put a lot of work in, so we all, from the Manitoba border to Regina if not further, but first of all, Estevan, got to enjoy and remember the kick-off to this summer.
So, if you run into volunteers or board members, please, share your feedback, gratitude and emotions with them. If not for them, those happy memories almost every family made last week would have never happened.
Hats off to the Estevan Exhibition Association board and volunteers.