It was last year at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair that Rob Fargo was approached by a woman from India wanting to make a deal on his stable of horses.
Speaking through a translator, the woman offered him $20,000 for his prized mare.
"She was walking around the stables and she kept coming back to us saying she wanted our horses," said Fargo, who owns Fargo Clydesdales near Langbank, Sask.
The woman was interested in buying horses that were going to be shown and used in marriage ceremonies in India, according to Fargo.
Unfortunately, Fargo said he couldn’t sell his mare because she is the direct descendant of the bloodline the family uses to breed their horses.
However, the group from India is still working on purchasing other horses from the farm, which has approximately 50 head of horses.
"We’re at these shows because that’s where people see our stock," said Fargo, who brings his stock to about six shows in a year.
"This is the No. 1 way of letting everyone see the stock and it leads to sales."
This week, Fargo’s heavy horses will compete in a series of obstacle courses that will test both horse and driver at the Keystone Centre.
Judges will score driving, quality in the horses and equipment, how the animals respond and overall appearance.
Fargo said it’s less important to win, although that’s the goal, than it is to show off his horses to buyers in the audience.
"When you’re a breeder you have to make money," Fargo said, adding that buyers from across North America and from overseas will be at the Winter Fair throughout the week.
While it’s work, it’s not like there isn’t any time for play.
Fargo has his wife, three daughters, three grandchildren and two close friends with him in Brandon. This week, they’ll see friends they only see a few times a year and share stories over the odd cold beverage.
For Fargo, the horses, the travel, the shows and the horse community are fundamental.
"It’s our life," Fargo said. "This is what we do. I don’t have a $15,000 Ski-Doo in my yard or all the toys, we’ve got the horses and our life is the horses —the whole family."
And they take care of their own too.
While driving to Brandon, Fargo said he was startled when a truck suddenly pulled up beside him just outside the city and waved him over to the side of the road.
As it turns out the seat from his hitch had blown off into the ditch. The driver of the truck waved Fargo over to tell him about the loss, but before they could turn around to pick it up, another vehicle stopped, grabbed the seat, pulled a U-turn and drove it up the hill to Fargo.
"Both of them (the drivers, were) horse people, it’s like family," he said.
» Twitter: @CharlesTweed
Royal Fair Facts and Figures:
This year is the 107th edition of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.
• There are more than 100,000 visits to the RMWF annually, with 60 per cent of visitors coming from more than 80 kilometres away.
• Sixty-two per cent of visitors attend the fair annually.
• Visitors to the fair stay in Brandon for an average of 1.6 nights.
• Gross economic impact to the city of Brandon is $9 million.
• Gross economic impact for the province is $12.2 million.
• Three hundred exhibits will be featured in the Trade Show.
• 275 volunteers make the RMWF possible.
• RMWF presents a world-class equestrian show with more than 400 horses exhibiting this year.
Discount offers include:
• 4-H clubs — 1,000 tickets;
• Seniors homes and groups that work with people with physical and intellectual disabilities — 450 tickets;
• Children’s tickets distributed through 15 school districts.