Cattle producers prepare for first Agribition in new facility

Speckle park cows are hosed off in the washing area of the International Trade Centre. File / Global News

The Canadian Western Agribition (CWA), the country’s biggest livestock show, kicks off Monday at the new International Trade Centre at Evraz Place. Four hundred producers from across the country will be bringing thousands of head of cattle to Regina to show in front of an international audience.

Before the big show begins, the barns are full of ranchers prepping their finest show cattle — showering, blow drying, and brushing their cattle so that each one looks their best.

Justin Johner, from Johner Stock Farm near Maidstone, Sask, spent Saturday morning washing his speckle park cows. His family has had a presence at all 47 Agribitions now, and he’s very impressed with the complete International Trade Centre.

“The barns were getting tougher to be in, the lighting was poor. These facilities are substantial. Everything has come together really good,” Johner said.

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“There’s beautiful lighting, lots of room inside. It doesn’t matter where you are.”

READ MORE: 2017 Canadian Western Agribition set to kick off in new facility

Cattle sales are done by sight, so lighting and appearance are key to getting the best price for an animal.

This will be aided by the new show area in at the centre of the trade centre.

CWA CEO Chirs Lane said this area is one of the key new features.

“This is really how these folks do their business on the purebred cattle side. This is a marketing opportunity for them, so the brighter we can make it, the easier we can make it for people to move between the stalls and the exhibitors, and they can show off not only what they bring to town, but how they look after their animals,” he explained.

Agribition’s new GMC/Chevrolet Show Arena. David Baxter/Global News

Last year, the International Trade Centre was partially open. However, much of the show was still held in the old barns, which drew complaints of leaky roofs among other issues.

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Now that the new facility is complete, word has spread around the cattle show circuit. It’s a big reason why Quebec-based Shadybrook Shorthorns is back at Agribition.

“We’ve certainly [heard] stories about the older facilites and how they were getting run down, and now we’ve heard about all these new facilities being built, so we certainly felt it was time to come back here and be part of the opening,” herdsman Kevin Dempsey said.

Agribition begins Monday, and includes a full slate of events including professional rodeo, jousting, running with the bulls and even goat yoga.

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