Crowd at the midway.Fernando Moreno-Prado, Local Journalism Initiatve Reporter

This year’s Stampede attendance was strong.

“We’re glad to be back doing what we do,” says Ron Edwards, general manager of the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede in regards to turnout now being comparable to pre-pandemic levels.

Although there are no official numbers yet, the Midway revenue was record breaking and higher than last year, which was also stated to be record breaking.

There was a lot of support and manpower provided a base of volunteers numbering close to 500.

“The staff did a great job to keep it going.” says Edwards. He is thankful for all the work that staff and volunteers put into the show every year, especially as he himself started out as a volunteer at young age.

The feedback and relations with the performers turned positive again this year.

“We get very good reviews because we look after our performers,” says Edwards in regards to Night Shows and the free entertainment performers. “We try to put them up in good hotels and see that they get good meals.

“All three days there were really good strong performers.”

Not all feedback is positive but the Stampede management will continue to do their best.

“You’re going to get the positive and negative,” says Edwards. “We’ll continue to try and improve where we can.”

There are now post-shows happening where the committee will determine what went right and what went wrong.

This year also brought with it three consistent shows. The Spruce Meadow Prairie Dogs are known to pack the house with their three daily shows every year. They have been part of the show for almost 18 years. There is also the returning hypnotist Terrance B.

“You can hardly walk past his area because it’s packed,” boast Edwards.

The third returning show was the Pioneer Village petting zoo, which is a chance for people to interact with common and unusual farm animals.

“The kids absolutely love that petting zoo,” says Edwards. “It’s a first-class petting zoo [because] it’s clean.”

In turn, there are also many things that change over the years such as the different visiting bands and performers.

“Some things I don’t want to change but some things we absolutely do need to change,” expresses Edwards. That is what the committee wants to determine.

The continuing variety of the Free Stage entertainment allows visitors to see different shows in the same day.

There is a good level of security and no significant issues with trouble makers or vandalism this year, which is a usual result.

The committee is already working on planning for next year and who they might be able to get for entertainment.

“We’re working on it as we speak,” says Edwards in reference to a meeting he had yesterday.

The rodeo shows have remained popular with the Friday show selling out again this year.

“Rodeo is definitely part of the agriculture history of Medicine Hat,” says Edwards.

The event continues to have a major economic impact to the community that results in full hotels and restaurants.

“For us you got to have something for everyone,” explains Edwards as he boasts about the family oriented activities and how kids, teenagers and adults enjoy the Midway and the types of food patron can feast on. The attractions have brought in people of all ages, cultures, demographics and occupations.

There are also unique opportunities for educational experiences. These include sheep sheering, milking, poultry along with historic buildings.

“You get out what you put in,” says Edwards. “I would have a hard time thinking there isn’t something for everyone.”

Published on Aug 03, 2023

MHPolice Service reports nothing but ‘low level’ issues at Stampede

This year’s Stampede was rather boring and tame for the Medicine Hat Police Service, and that’s just the way they like it. There were a few certain incident types that increased, but other than that reports decreased from 2022.

“It was a great result overall,” says Sgt. Adam Gregory of the Community Support Unit.

The main incidents this year involved missing persons cases, mostly of children separated from their parents, or missing property, mainly in the form of keys or cellphones. Gregory assures all such cases were resolved with reunification of families and most property recovered.

“Children are the most important thing in our community,” Gregory said of making sure lost kids are found safe and returned to their caregivers.

There was an increase in missing persons and property cases compared to previous years. Gregory believes that is likely due to increased awareness of police presence and how people can receive assistance.

“Most things that happened were very low level,” says Gregory, addressing the frequency of incidents last year.

“In comparison to past years, vehicles and traffic complaints were down,” he said.

He also cites fewer physical confrontations this year.

“We had lower instances of such things reported to us than normal.”

There are often collisions or issues with parking on the Stampede grounds, but neither were reported this year. In comparison, Gregory says there was a stolen vehicle, vehicle break-ins and multiple collisions last year.

He says the Medicine Hat Police Service wants to show the community throughout the year that it can be counted and will always assist to the best of its ability.

“The Medicine Hat Police Service is really proud of getting to be involved with the Stampede and getting to interact with the citizens,” he said.

“It was an excellent opportunity to engage with families, adults and the youth in our city. We’re excited every year to do our policing duties while also engaging with the community.”

By FERNANDO MORENO-PRADO, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 03, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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