Fergus – “Thanks for your support.”
That was the message that came through loud and clear at a recent appreciation luncheon held by the Fergus Branch 275 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The intent was to thank the numerous individuals and businesses that helped make the RCMP ride in Fergus last June.
Prior to the event Deb Dalziel commented that it was “all the little things” that made a difference – from the homemade brownies to the quality of the makeshift stables served “to make (the participants) feel at home.”
The RCMP ride was organized as part of Fergus’ 175th anniversary. Legion president Brian Bielby said he was pleased to report the event was both a public relations and financial success.
The ride generated in excess of $31,000, “and that is the reason we are here today, to thank those who made it happen.”
Bielby started with thanks to Larry Wainwright who made the suggestion last September.
“He was so enthusiastic and so sure it would work.”
Bielby also pointed to the leadership and cooperation which made the event a success. He particularly cited the help of the township and the county. “Without their help this never would have happened.”
Essentially the group had to take over the Fergus community Sportsplex and turn it into a giant barn. Everyone worked to make it happen, Bielby said.
He cited the energy of the parks and recreation department. “They bought into the spirit.”
Bielby also commented on the assistance from the RCMP itself in making the project work – from providing specifications and schematics for the stalls to the type of feed required for the horses.
“It made it easier … not easy … but easier.”
Bielby also said the OPP did a fantastic job at crowd and traffic control “at no cost to the Legion.”
He made a special point of recognizing all those who helped provide initial donations when the project was just getting off the ground. As well, there were a number of business that volunteered to be venues for ticket sales.
“In the beginning, those funds were vital,” he said.
Also recognized was the help of the Fergus Lions, which provided afternoon security to the event.
Bielby offered recognition to the contributions of Fergus Printing which printed the roughly 6,000 tickets at no cost.
He then cited the contribution of the Wellington Advertiser, and in particular sales representative Sherry Clarke. Bielby said the project originally was through former Legion president and Advertiser staff member, the late Mac Mason.
With his passing, Bielby said Clark took up the torch and continued the work in publicity and the creation of the souvenir program.
He added that the program was produced and printed by the Advertiser at no charge.
Bielby also recognized the efforts of Dalziel, who was a tremendous help in the publicity of the event and in countless other areas.
“She’s too good. How she does it all, I don’t know,” he said.
Bielby also recognized the work of others in the community who provided expertise needed in the various aspects of making the event work … from the supply of an on-call horse veterinarian to disposal of the manure.
“The weather may not have been beautiful, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Bielby commented that the RCMP were impressed with the facilities provided for the Fergus show and put them on par with those offered by more commercial venues such as the CNE.
“This was the best operation they’d seen in the past three years.” As a result, organizers were informed that should they wish to host another ride in four years, chances are good.
“And that is because of the tremendous work done by all of you,” Bielby said.