The year was 1939, and WWII had just begun when word was received that the Army had taken the Pacific National Exhibition grounds in Vancouver over to serve as a base, thus forcing the cancellation of the British Columbia Winter Fair that had been held there annually for some years. This was a major concern to those who were preparing their cattle, sheep and swine for the show.
While stockmen were left wondering what to do, a group of people saw this as an opportunity to establish Kamloops as the livestock centre of the province and steps were immediately taken to create a new show and sale in Kamloops. With the help of the BC Beef Cattle Growers Association (the forerunner of the BC Cattlemen’s Association), the BC Sheep Breeders, the Interior Swine Producers, the Department of Agriculture, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Kamloops, the idea started to take shape.
The first “Annual Provincial Christmas Fat Stock Show and Sale” came into being on December 4, 1939 located at the Kamloops Stockyards. The Boys and Girls section, (which evolved by the late seventies into one of the major 4-H competitions in Canada), started with only a modest number of calves in that section. In fact there were fourteen calves in the Boys and Girls Section. The Open cattle competition dominated the show and sale with 314 being sold of which 290 had been entered in the carload of 15 or group of 5 classes, while 24 were entered in the individual halter classes. The Swine show had an exhibition of 100 brood sows and 5 Yorkshire Boars with 176 market hogs being sold. An undisclosed number of sheep were sold with final figures indicating a total of 797 head of cattle, sheep and swine being marketed for a grand total of $37,732.
The Christmas Fat Stock Show and Sale changed its name in 1961, when it became the Provincial Winter Fair (PWF). The fair then moved locations in 1970 to the Kamloops Exhibition Association (KXA) Agriplex on Mount Paul Center, in Kamloops.
Over the past few years the PWF has faced many challenges with their facilities available at the KXA, and it was finally decided to move to another venue to host the Fair. However, as the PWF is not in the business of profit this was financially difficult at the time for the organization to budget for the cost of renting another facility.
Knowing of the group’s facility problems, the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association offered their Barriere fairgrounds to the Provincial Winter Fair at no cost for 2011 to help them get back on their feet, and the group accepted the invitation.
This year the 73rd Annual Provincial Winter Fair will be held in Barriere at the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association’s facility including the North Thompson Agriplex from Sept. 23 to 26. Everyone is invited to attend the event and see what 4H is all about as youngsters present their rabbits, cavies, horses, sheep, and beef for competitions. There are also carcass classes that will be judged, and a big awards banquet for the 4H achievers.
On Saturday, a Top Hand Ranch competition is scheduled for 12 noon in the rodeo arena, and on Monday, Sept. 26 there is a Buyer’s Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. with the big auction sale starting at 9 a.m.
Up for auction will be the market lamb and beef that the 4-H have been competing with over the weekend. PWF can assist first time buyers with information and can help buyers make the arrangements to get your animal to the packing plant of your choice. PWF also has a wide assortment of people who will do the bidding for you. Just specify a maximum price and they will try to purchase a quality animal on your behalf and within your price range.
When you buy a 4-H steer or lamb, you are buying the finest quality meat possible. The utmost care and attention has been given to these 4-H projects by the 4-H members themselves. The modern 4-H animals are grain fed and meet today’s modern demands: the animals should be long, well muscled and trimmed to maximize meat yield with a minimum of waste.
This is where the 4-H members raise the money to buy and feed their next year’s project animals and they need your support to make their sale a success. Tell a friend, share a purchase with family members, come out and support our agricultural youth of today.
For more information and schedules about the Provincial Winter Fair and the Monday Auction go to: www.provincialwinterfair.com.