Rodeo Provides The Royal with a Youthful Kick
Ninety-three years. It’s a long time to be a success in show business. This November, the Royal Agricultural Fair – now referred to simply as “The Royal” – will once again draw crowds to Toronto’s Exhibition Place and Ricoh Coliseum for 10-day showcase of horsepower, husbandry and agricultural prowess.
If anything, The Royal is getting younger, providing a wide variety of events, performances and competitions that appeal to all ages.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 in downtown Toronto.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the product of the vision and determination of a handful of industrious farmers just after the First World War. Lead by W.A. Dryden, a Shorthorn cattle breeder from Brooklin, Ontario whose idea it was to create a National agricultural exhibition that would be the showcase of the best of the best in Canadian agriculture. Dryden saw this as a way to help improve all domestic animal breeds and establish national judging standards. So in 1918 he gathered all the prominent livestock associations together and outlined his vision for the exhibition. This group agreed with Dryden’s vision and set up a committee with Dryden as its chairman. The original name of the committee was The Agricultural Winter Fair Association of Canada, but was later changes to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Association of Canada after His Majesty King George V granted permission to use the word “Royal”.
It took Dryden and his committee another 4 years to see their vision become a reality when the first Royal Agricultural Winter Fair opened November 22, 1922. 91 Years later The Royal remains the main event in the agricultural calendar for farmers, horse lovers, livestock breeders, buyers, sellers, food lovers and attendees young and old. No other fair or agricultural exhibition can compare to The Royal, where each year, champions are crowned from the best of the best in Canadian agriculture.
Over the past decade, Royal organizers have attempted to widen the appeal of the event by introducing new entertainment components. One such addition is the Ontario Toyota Dealers Rodeo. The Rodeo brings together some of the best bull, saddle bronc and bareback riders as well as barrel racers from across the country.
Saddle bronc riding is rodeo’s classic event. It requires equal measures of strength style, grace and precise timing. Every move the bronc rider makes must be synchronized with the movement of the horse. The cowboy’s objective? As fluid a ride as possible, while judges examine the horse’s bucking action, the cowboy’s control of the horse and the cowboy’s spurring action. If saddle bronc is a classic, barrel racing is one of rodeo’s most thrilling. The ultimate goal of a successful barrel racing run is to negotiate a cloverleaf barrel pattern in the fastest time – without knocking over any barrels. The faster the rider completes the pattern, the higher up on the leader board the rider lands. Like barrel racing, pole bending is a race-timed event. For best winning performances, the rider trains the horse to obey rein and leg cues.
To add a bit of Hollywood to the Rodeo, the Ontario Toyota Dealers welcome back Amber Marshall, the young star of CBC’s popular series “Heartland”. The recently crowned “Canada’s Favorite Screen Star” will be on hand to MC and sign autographs.
The event takes place Sunday, November 8, from 1:00 PM at Ricoh Coliseum
Your purchase of an Ontario Toyota Dealer’s Rodeo ticket includes General Admission to the 2015 Fair.
Many would agree that the crown jewel of the entire event is The Royal Horse Show. After all, it was voted one of the Top Ten Horse Shows in North America in 2014. The event also claims the #1 spot in ratings as top Indoor Horse Show in the entire continent.
The Royal boasts a huge variety of equestrian-based competitions open to all ages and many different breeds of horses. Hot on the heels of the immensely popular equestrian events for the Pan Am Games hosted in Caledon, competitions for International Show Jumpers take place November 10 th – 14th. This is a great opportunity to see the very best riders from around the world competing with their equine partners. Horses and riders perform over a course of very high, colourful jumps and are assessed penalties for knocking a jump down, refusing to leap a jump, jumping in the incorrect order or surpassing the time allowed by the course designer. The top competition taking place during the Royal Horse Show – the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup – is the most intense competition as it determines who will represent their home countries at the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden next spring. Riders from North America, South America and Europe will join their North Amercian counterparts in what should be one of the most competitive displays of equine skills this year.
For a 93-year-old entertainer, The Royal shows no sign of slowing down. So why not consider bringing your family down to the Ricoh Coliseum this coming November. Catch the intensity of the 2015 Royal Horse Show competitions and the speed of the Toyota Dealers Rodeo. You’ll enjoy all the thrills and spills of bull riding, bronc busting and pole bending in an unforgettable a showcase of horsepower and performance that you won’t soon forget.
Written by John Huckle Photos supplied by The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair