A steady stream of stock trailers rolled into the grounds at Evraz Place over the weekend settling into the barns for Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) this week.
The largest livestock show in Canada is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors through the week.
CWA CEO Chris Lane previewed some of the new exhibits and events this year.
“First and foremost, we’ve got a couple new breeds in the barns this year. Texas longhorns make their debut at Agribition. Those are quite the animal to see, we’ve got an animal in here with 10 feet of horn span on him so it’s definitely worth a look,” Lane said. “We’ve also got alpacas.”
A therapy livestock display will promote the use of cows, donkeys, potbellied pigs, goats, ponies, rabbits and even chickens in mental health programs to treat anxiety and depression.
Alongside the stock shows, visitors can take in the Agribition High School Rodeo starting on Monday and the Agribition Pro Rodeo starting Wednesday evening.
A kids’ event called Rank Mini Ponies will also be added to the rodeo lineup this year, with young cowboys and cowgirls competing in mini bareback and saddle bronco riding.
Returning featured events include full contact jousting and running with the bulls.
Perhaps one of the oddest additions to the schedule this year is an event called The Fleece and the Furious.
“Teams of three people are going to go head to head and they’re going to try to pen as many sheep as they can,” Lane explained.
“But the trick is you have to do it wearing an inflatable soccer ball. So not only are you penning wild sheep as a team, but you’re also running interference on the other team and we encourage full contact in this sport.”
Workshops to address mental health, mentorship
Agribition will also feature two new workshops aimed at producers. A free mental health workshop is meant to address the growing issue of mental health and suicide among farmers.
“We’re encouraging people to drop in and it’s about how to keep yourself mentally healthy and also identify signs of mental health or un-wellness in people around you so you can reach out and help them,” Lane commented.
A half-day Agri-Preneurship workshop and seminar will offer young entrepreneurs and business students in the agriculture sector a chance to make contacts and get some advice from industry experts.
You can find a full schedule of events and a map on the Agribition website.