Recent History – 2004
March 12, 2004
By Jamie Dirom, Daily News Staff
With Dawson Creek and the Fall Fair both poised for growth, the city and the two organizations behind the city’s biggest annual event signed a historic agreement Thursday. The agreement will see the city, the Dawson Creek and District Exhibition Association and the Dawson Creek Rope and Saddle Club work together on organizational issues related to the fair.
“To me, this is sort of a monumental moment in the growth of Dawson Creek,” said Councillor Paul Gevatkoff moments after the agreement was signed. The agreement is expected to allow organizers to focus more on bringing the best possible event to the community and comes as organizers are expecting significant growth.
The agreement will allow the groups “to pool our monies together and do a much better job,” said Connie Patterson of the exhibition association. She said the agreement will help the groups eliminate some of the duplication of work that the two groups do, such as securing sponsorships.
“Now we have whole new group of people and we’re all under one umbrella,” Patterson said.
Wayne Plenert acted as a mediator during the talks between the groups. “What has happened until now is the two organizations have sort of muddled together and put on a good fair,” Plenert said, but he characterized the organization of the shows as “haphazard.”
“This definitely brings the two organizations together and brings them into the current ways that organizations run,” he added.
Al Harink of the Rope and Saddle Club said the agreement will help the Fall Fair improve – both in size and quality.
“Now we can focus on putting on a really good rodeo,” he said. “If you get a bigger group working together, you can sometimes take bigger steps.
“We want to see this thing be the biggest in the north – comparable to the Calgary Stampede,” Harink said
Already, the fair is growing. This year, it will have five days of chuckwagon races, Patterson said. For 2005, the exhibitionassociation has signed on West Coast Amusements for two extra days.
There’s more room to grow, she added, talking about possibilities that could include a high school rodeo, a little britches rodeo and other events.
Gevatkoff praised the two groups for the work they do in the community. “You get groups like these that make our quality of life improve,” he said. “The Fall Fair and rodeo is the biggest event we’ve got and it has the most growth potential.
“We’re bringing 14,000 people through the gates now. But we can handle more than that.”
While the two groups will work together on the fair through the agreement, they will remain two distinct clubs.
Said Harink: “We’re still the Rope and Saddle Club, but now we have a rodeo committee that’s attached to the Fall Fair board.”