July 22nd, 2024

Whoop-Up Days back in the saddle this summer

By Lethbridge Herald on June 7, 2022.

A trio of midway revellers experience the thrill of the Super Shot ride during a past Whoop-Up Days at Exhibition Park. Herald file photo by David Rossiter

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Professional rodeo is returning to Whoop-Up Days as the Lethbridge and District Exhibition celebrates its 125th year.

Other special events will also greet visitors to this year’s summer fair which runs Aug. 25-27 at Exhibition Park.

Parking, of course, will be limited and guests are being used to take transit, ride share, use ride services or even hop on a Neuron e-scooter or bicycle to visit the fairgrounds.

The eight-event CPRA and PRCA sanctioned rodeo will run Aug. 25-27 and will be broadcast across the rodeo circuit which will put Lethbridge in a bigger spotlight.

Exhibition chief executive officer Mike Warkentin announced the rodeo and other events at a special launch on Tuesday morning in Heritage Hall.

The Ex has a long standing tradition of historic roots with the ranching community and rodeo culture, he said, calling the pro rodeo a “legacy showcase” of southern Alberta sport.

“Professional rodeo is an important part of the Whoop-Up Days history with some of its finest moments dating back decades,” the CEO said.

The Whoop-Up Days parade will return this year with COVID-19 restrictions lifted and will feature the chiefs of three southern Alberta First Nations as parade marshals.

Lethbridge native Warkentin said this year’s events will have a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities to make anyone’s visit to Whoop-Up Days worth their while, including a midway.

“In a year unlike any other we’ve experience before, 2022 is shaping up to be one of the most historic and exciting,” at the Ex, Warkentin said.

The Exhibition on Oct. 5 will celebrate its 125th anniversary in the city. And as the celebration goes on, Ward Bros. are building the next 125 years with its construction of the Agri-Food Hub, Warkentin said.

“As we celebrate 125 years of community impact I’m proud of the legacy we’re creating for the next 125 of memorable events and experiences,” he said.

He said for centuries the grounds have been a meeting place for people of all walks of life.

Warkentin said this year’s events will be a “re-imagined Whoop-Up Days experience” in honour of the Ex’s 125-year history.

“This year’s Whoop-Up Days programming will transform each of the pavilions with something for everyone, he said.

The fair will include Indigenous cultural programming, he added.

The parade will include Chief Roy Fox of the Kainai Nation, Chief Stanley Greer from Piikani Nation and Chief Ouray Crowfoot from Siksika Nation. This year will feature a powwow to honour the heritage of the Blackfoot people, Warkentin said.

The fair will also include a curated arts space called La Galleria which recognizes the southern Alberta art community. In this galleria people will also be able to enjoy a wine bar and signature food items.

Whoop-Up Days will also include traditional fair food and an indoor miniature carnival to keep kids entertained.

Another part of indoor space will be transformed into YQL Beach which will utilize fair space for an indoor beach party, tiki bar “and games to bring out the inner kids in all of us,” said Warkentin. Guests can also visit the 1927 Saloon.

The grounds will feature numerous events and Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel who guests of all ages will appreciate, Warkentin added. A family show and kids pedal tractor pull show are also part of the fun.

“This year’s fair will be an experience that cannot be missed,” Warkentin said.

Whoop-Up Days will also give attendees an opportunity to support 125 years of impact. In partnership with the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association, the Exhibition is running a lottery with a growing pot.

Ticket holders have a shot at a minimum of $125,000 in guaranteed prizes to help the Ex celebrate its anniversary. The grand prize of the progressive 50/50 draw will be held on Aug. 30. Tickets are on sale now at ldelotteries.com. They cost $10 for 1, $25 for 5, $50 for 25, $75 for 50 or $125 for 125 tickets.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter

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