One day it was the Ponoka Ag Event Centre, conducting its operations as usual, and then the next thing you know, cranes were on site and the name Calnash Trucking was put onto the facade just before the Ponoka Stampede began.
It was such a well-kept secret by the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS) board of directors and Calnash Trucking; visitors were not sure if they had found the right place when they attended the grand opening of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Calnash Trucking owner Frank Nashim, operations manager Murray Schur, and society president Doug Gill explained some of the motivation behind the deal to buy the naming rights to the building.
Part of the desire is for Calnash to give back to the community, said Schur. “It’s our commitment to the community and to the citizens to support the ventures and to be a company that we can be proud of.”
Organizers also waited to announce the name change to the Calnash Trucking Ag Event Centre so as to not take away from the Ponoka Stampede, Schur explained.
Nashim hopes to honour his former business partner, Keith Calvert, who had a strong love for all animals, who died from a brain tumor while relatively young.
“I’d like to have something there for my partner because he passed away as a young man at 40 years old,” he explained. “He loved animals; he used to spend hours with them.”
It was approximately two years in the making to work out the contract and involved Terry Jones and society past president Charlie Cutforth working with Calnash, explained Schur.
There was some reluctance to discuss the financial aspect of the 10-year deal as they felt disclosing the amount would take away from Calnash’s goal, which is to give back to the community.
“I think stating the cash value overrides the importance of the contribution,” explained Gill. “It’s something about what we’re doing and what they believe in overlaps.”
He also feels Nashim’s desire to pay tribute to his partner is something that would be better to separate from the financial aspect.
The purpose is to honour Calvert and family members, and the legacy they will have with the company’s name on the ag event centre, explained Schur.
“That’s what Frank is doing is paying tribute to his partner, and the employees, the workforce. They make a huge part of our company as well, is all the employees and for him and his family members,” Gill said.
Schur feels most proud of the fact that Calnash is able to work closely with the community and PAECS. “To show the community we’re 100 per cent supportive of the community.”
Part of the ability to make a deal like this come together appears to be a strong working relationship with Nashim and Schur, who have worked together for the last 10 years.
“If we had a bunch of people here it probably never would have come up. Murray is involved in the community with everybody here, and I said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” explained Nashim.
He said the relationship was the same with his old partner. “We have a beautiful partnership.”
Nashim hopes the legacy of this deal will be the company’s commitment to the community and to Calvert.