Agriculture Week and the start of the 25th anniversary edition of the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown were marked with a ceremonial branding ceremony Monday.
The brief event was a joint undertaking of the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Yorkton, and the Yorkton Exhibition Association.
Juanita Polegi, manager with the Chamber said both Agriculture Week and Harvest Showdown is for people to acknowledge the importance of agriculture to Yorkton and area.
From a Chamber perspective “60 businesses are directly involved in serving the agriculture and ranching industry,” said Polegi, adding that simply illustrated that agriculture “has a significant role to play in the economy of Yorkton.”
Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney picked up on the theme of agriculture being important to the city.
“It’s (agriculture) a significant part of our provincial economy,” he said, adding farming has always been integral to the city. “… Yorkton is here because it’s a service centre for agriculture … Agriculture caused Yorkton to be here.”
As for Harvest Showdown, Maloney said the event is a major draw for the city, adding people attending also spend money at businesses in the community.
John Simpson, YEA president, and the only exhibitor to attend every Showdown, said hitting 25 years “is very gratifying.”
Simpson said when the idea for Harvest Showdown arose it was a case “of a lot of good ideas, but we weren’t sure what direction it would go.”
Some of the early years were challenging as the Showdown was a much smaller show, with a less defined focus, but Simpson said he is glad “we spent the time and initiative to make things work.”
Today, Simpson said the event has a solid foundation based on its commercial cattle and grain shows which cover two main areas of agriculture, the trade show which is more business-oriented, and the indoor rodeo which anchors the entertainment provided.
As for being an exhibitor Simpson said he was on the commercial cattle show when Harvest Showdown launched, so bringing some cattle to the show was a natural. He said he never envisioned doing it for 25 years, but added over the last few years he knew he wanted to be part of it until at least the anniversary.
“I’m still in the business (cattle) so why wouldn’t I still come?” he asked. “I have to be here so I might as well bring cattle.”
Agriculture Week in the city is Oct. 29 - Nov. 3, with Harvest Showdown starting today (Wednesday) and running through Saturday.