TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Steve Wakeman of Imagine Farms in Kansas hangs the National Champion Stock Hunter Halter Mare class award alongside other awards won by Imagine Farms during the Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show at the Keystone Centre on Saturday.
After the Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show closed the barn doors on another year, Brandon has one more year to wow organizers. Brandon snagged a three-year contract to host the championships from Regina in 2012, which expires after next year’s events.
But as Canadian Nationals Show Commission Gerald McDonald says, participants always feel welcome when they come to the Wheat City.
"It went really well. We’re pleased with the whole week," he said. "Everyone enjoyed their stay in town.
"They appreciate how welcomed they are from the businesses."
Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson said he’s confident the contract will be renewed in 2014.
"Over the past few years, we’ve built a really good relationship," he told the Sun last week. "We’ve taken some of their suggestions on how to improve the site and used them in renovations this year."
While organizers didn’t keep track of how many people walked through the grounds during the Canadian nationals, which wrapped up on Saturday, McDonald said there seemed to be more people checking out the more than 760 horses in competition.
He said the show is looking to broaden its appeal to include more than just the hardcore equine crowd to increase attendance and notoriety.
"We’ve talked about doing some other types of entertainment as well. We just haven’t been able to put our program together yet, but we’re certainly looking at that in the future," McDonald said. "We’ll send invitations out for bids and we’ll see how it goes forward."
Improved ventilation and barn space in the Keystone Centre are two things McDonald pointed out as possible ways to improve Brandon’s offerings, though he said the centre is committed to addressing their needs.
Given the scope of the world-class competition — drawing riders from as far as California and Texas — it’s no doubt an attractive event for the city to host.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 19, 2013