It’s been a number of years since I lasted attended Agribition which is held each year in Regina, Saskatchewan. Canadian Western Agribition is the largest livestock show in Canada now in its 47th year and just keeps getting bigger and better. Agribition is truly an international showcase for agricultural products and all types of livestock showcasing to the world the “best of our livestock and agricultural products”.
I have heard that over 120,000 people went through the gates this year taking in all the shows, sales, trade shows, and livestock marketing which is now all under one roof in the 150,000 sq. ft. facility. After being there for two days I would say that maybe they underestimated that number. In the new spacious walkways and barns I heard many different languages being spoken as thousands of international visitors check out the latest in our breeding programs and agricultural technology.
My trip started out loading up my truck camper. You have to book hotels well in advance or arrange to crash with family or friend, or you will be like me, “camping out” in November in Saskatchewan. It was minus 21, that’s celcius for our American friends, when packing up my trusty Northern Lite home on wheels. I was really hoping the forecast was true and it would warm up. Regardless I was going and would test to see if the camper would live up to the four season rating. As it turned out the camper came through with flying colours. I was never uncomfortable, thanks in part to a warming trend with temps only dipping to minus ten at the worst. Not having the ability to plug into shore power, I had to rely on my two six volt batteries and the stock 90 watt solar panel on the camper roof to keep the furnace running. Once again the set up came through, I am a big believer in the six-volt batteries, I know my 12-volt batteries would have never drawn down that slow. Also the 90 watt panel brought them back to 13.1 the next day with approx. five hours of sunshine. (This information is for my RV friends). Just like camping at Walmart in their parking lot.
Getting back to Agribition, having had a display there for several years when publishing our Pure Country Magazine, I noticed a real change with the new upgrades to the facility, having not been back for a number of years. First off, I felt a little disappointed, I kinda missed the damp old cattle show barns, feeling that frosty rush going from one building to another, and as an old friend Lee Bellows put it there will never be another “swamp”. For those who do not know or have been to the swamp, the swamp was a “watering hole” located in a dark dingy, concrete whitewash falling off the walls room tucked under the bleachers. I wandered in the first time to check it out squinting in the dim light, cigarette smoke and stale beer filling the air mixed with the aroma of livestock and a roar of conversation. My boots squishing and crunching in the beer soaked floor covered with peanut shells. The tables and chairs were not much, but many a fine story and probably quite a few deals were struck here. Yep, “the good old days”.
By the second day after checking out every corner of the 150,000 sq. ft. despite my feet screaming “enough already”, my view was changing, new “water holes” everywhere, clean nice tables and chairs, clean floors and no cigarette smoke. Many fine stories were still being told and deals struck, appears to happen wherever cattlemen are gathered, regardless of surroundings they were making the best of it. More wandering I discovered the wider walkways meant better shopping and information gathering, nice well-lit livestock barns showcased the well-groomed animals. I’m sure this was more impressive to our international visitors and city folk. I do not think anyone missed the frosty blast running from one showcase to another. I guess old timers like myself will soon get over the “character atmosphere” and embrace the fantastic changes that have been made.
Overall a big shout out to the folks responsible for bringing together international visitors utilizing the new International Trade Center on site, to the thousands of school children with many educational displays and shows, the best livestock breeders in the country, rodeo, stock dogs, equine events, a show case of western agriculture products and great shopping just before Christmas. A few tips, book your stay well in advance, good footwear…ladies high heels not recommended and make sure the credit card has enough room for that great shopping experience.
Good to see so many old friends, get a chance to spin a few new tales, and thanks to Agribition for a great sleep in the parking lot. Check them out at www.agribition.com
See you Down the Road….Gerry