Here's how Agribition has grown over its 50-year history
Agribition 2021 will draw to a close on Saturday night after a week of celebrating the show’s 50-year history.
The annual event attracts international attention to Saskatchewan through a united passion for agriculture.
It was the 25th running of Agribition in 1995 when Chris Sutter explained the reasoning behind establishing Canadian Western Argibition in 1970, after years of having to travel to Toronto to show cattle.
“Nobody was interested,” he said to BBS news at the time. “There were city people and it was basically a horse show. And it didn’t just appeal to me and I thought we could do much better out here.”
25 years later, his eldest son Spence Sutter, spoke at the official opening of the 50th Canadian Western Agribition.
“My parents would very proud of this celebration of 50 years today,” he said. “I’m sure the show has grown beyond the expectations of all the founders that organized this.”
Even though it has grown, many things have stayed the same according to former CWA president Marilyn Sharpe.
“One of the things that hasn’t changed is the hype in the city about Agribition,” she said. “I even found when I stepped off the plane into the airport, there were Agribition greeters there and it was just so nice to feel welcome.”
The community support and interest in Agribition hasn’t floundered in its 50 years of operation. Current CWA President Chris Lee has been involved in Agribition since its start in 1971, and he still sees some of the same producers that have been coming since the start.
“Definitely there’s a few of the old guard still here,” he said. “And they’re like me, you’ve got to move with the times and move with the trends. And certainly, the trend of the livestock industry has changed over 50 years.”
A result of the growth Agribition has seen is the amount of support the community has to offer. On a Thursday night sale, a donated heifer calf from Chris Lee raised $72,000 for STARS Air Ambulance and the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan.
Lee says Agribition was the right venue to turn to in order to give something back to these organizations that have assisted him and his family.
“The people at the cancer clinic are so amazing we just knew we had to give something back,” he explained. “We didn’t know how to go about doing but we came up with this plan and it was a way for us to generate some money and definitely make an impact to those two organizations.”
As Agribition approaches the end of its 50th edition, many are looking forward to the event prospering for another 50 years.