New equine events are planned for the Calnash Ag Event Centre, which promises to bring thousands to Ponoka.
The ag event centre is in for a packed schedule this summer, says Terry Jones, president of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS). He told members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce March 18 all of the 15 full and part time staff are starting to get a strong gauge of what their customers are looking for.
“Some groups want hard dirt and some want soft dirt,” said Jones.
The trick is being able to meet the needs of customers until Sunday evening, when they leave, and making necessary changes for those setting up on Tuesday. He is finding their equine shows have started to diversify from barrel racing to an Arabian horse show coming up at the end of May and even a horse sale with 100 horses up for auction in April.
The Ponoka Lions Club has also booked the RCMP Musical Ride to present some shows in the third week of July.
There have also been three 4-H events scheduled, a clipping clinic Feb. 20, the 4-H Achievement Day, set for May 4 to 6 and a Stettler 4-H horse clinic in October. A Canadian Texas longhorn sale is also scheduled for Oct. 2 to 4.
During the cold winter months PAECS opened up the barn for people looking to keep up with their walking.
“I think one day we had 47 walkers,” said Jones.
Increasing exposure to the hall of fame
The ag event centre is also home to the world renowned Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame. Jones said the board is trying to find ways to increase traffic to the room, which is upstairs.
Jones asked attendees to pass the word on of the hall of fame and the ag event centre. He suggested if businesses advertised at the different events, they would see an increase of foot traffic to their stores.
People who come to the events at the ag centre are usually there from Tuesday to Sunday, he added. “We need to get them down here and the way to do it is with advertising and promotion.”
Jones feels more people will come to the downtown core if more businesses advertised.
“They’re very loyal, these event people…They’ll support you. I know they do from experience,” said Jones.
He said directors will work closely with sponsors to meet their needs. “You’ve got to let people know where your business is.”
Other big horse shows of the year include the Alberta Barrel Racing Association finals, the World Series of Team Roping and a Festival of Trees in November.