The Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition, Manitoba’s only professional rodeo, has its roots in the town of Morris, Man.
“Morris has had an agricultural fair since 1895. The rodeo was an event that was pursued in 1963 to help keep the fair alive, as attendance was dwindling,” Norm Gauthier, president of the Valley Agricultural Society (VAS), which puts on the fair, says.
“The following year saw the very first professional rodeo in Manitoba come to Morris, and we have been the only professional rodeo in the province since then.”
The rodeo features lots of action, from chuckwagon races to barrel racing, bareback riding to a rodeo clown and beyond. The exhibition includes dog demonstrations, a kids’ area, musical entertainment, a midway and much more.
The rodeo and exhibition also honours Indigenous people with its annual Gathering of Nations.
It’s “an area that focuses on the customs and ways of ... Indigenous people with teepees (and) teaching areas, as well as an artisan tent where cultural products may be purchased,” Gauthier says.
“We also feature live Indigenous entertainment on our Sweetgrass Stage throughout the four days of our event.”
The town of Morris has a population of about 1,700 that swells to nearly 13 times its size during the events
“Attendance has been steadily increasing ... Last year, we saw over 26,000 people attend our grounds,” Gauthier says.
Along with other events the VAS puts on, the rodeo is a boon to the success of Morris.
“We are very proud to be able to help contribute to the success of our town,” Gauthier says.
Published in Volume 73, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 30, 2019)