Cathy and John Wierstra are so involved with truck and tractor pulls that when their daughter Charmain announced her engagement, the couple’s only scheduling request was “not on a pulling weekend.”
The Wierstras, who live just northeast of Fergus, have competed in pulls for about 25 years, with the Fergus Fall Fair a perennial highlight.
“It’s like a reunion with people we never see otherwise,” Cathy said of the local fair. And while her family has been involved with the fair for decades, this year marks Cathy’s first as a member of the fair’s board of directors.
“It’s just a hoot,” she said, adding the decision to join the board was an easy one, partly because she knew most of the directors anyway.
In fact, it was friend Debbie Veldhuizen, herself in just her second year on the board, who convinced Wierstra to join.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun work,” said Veldhuizen, who lives in Fergus. She added other members have been very helpful and make newcomers feel welcome.
Veldhuizen first became involved with the Fergus Fall Fair as a youth, when she entered items such as plants and drawings. She started to get involved again about 15 years ago when her son started to submit entries into the fair. She annually helps set up the exhibit hall.
“I really believe the fair’s important for Fergus,” said Veldhuizen of her motivation for joining.
John Broadfoot, who has been involved with the fair for over 50 years, including a stint as fair president in 1999 and 2000, said it is important for some older board members to step aside so younger ones can bring in new ideas. Wierstra and Veldhuizen are perfect examples of that transition he said/.
While the Wierstras are particularly interested in the truck and tractor pulls, taking place this year on Sept. 18 and 19, Veldhuizen noted there is something for everyone at the fair, regardless of age. And because of that, it is not uncommon to see several generations of the same family at the weekend event.
“It’s a family thing,” Wierstra said, noting in addition to herself, John and Charmain also take part in in pulling events, competing against others in their extended family.
Broadfoot’s wife, Helen, has been involved with the fair for years, and he said his kids and grandkids are now involved as well.
The fair opened with the ambassador competition on Sept. 13 and continues with exhibits and the midway on Sept. 17 at 7pm, tractor pulls on Sept 18 at 6:30pm and a full slate of events on Sept. 19 and 20.