of The Crossroads
Several community groups from across west central and southwestern Saskatchewan are benefiting this summer from the second annual Small Town Showdown contest.
The showdown comes from a partnership between Nutrien Ag Solutions and Gowan Canada. Golden West Radio helps to facilitate a voting requirement for the contest. Nutrien and Gowan have put up $10,000 in prize money for two consecutive years.
Elrose won the top prize in the 2017 Small Town Showdown, but the contest was put on by Crop Production Services (CPS) and Gowan. Nutrien Ag Solutions, a new company, has acquired CPS through a merger. Each of the 10 communities taking part in the contest have a charity barbecue to raise money for a local cause.
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Every dollar raised during the charity barbecues counts as a vote in the contest and each barbecue is followed by a 72-hour voting period. The online votes are added to votes from the charity barbecue, and the top three communities win one of three cash prizes.
The cash prizes and money raised at the barbecues all go to support the cause chosen by staff at the Nutrien facilities in each of the 10 participating communities. The final barbecue will take place in Lucky Lake on Aug. 28, so the results are expected to be released sometime in September.
The 10 communities participating in the 2018 edition include Mankota, Ponteix, Gravelbourg, Morse, Elrose, Eatonia, Dinsmore, Central Butte, Strongfield and Lucky Lake. The prizes for the three winners are $5,000 for first, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third.
Rob Hopkins, assistant manager at the Nutrien facility in Elrose, said a total of about 150 people attended the barbecue on Aug. 1. The event was held at the Nutrien facility in 2017, but it was held at the local museum in Elrose in 2018.
“We had it at the museum because they’ve got seating inside,” he said, noting that people could get out of the sun if it was really hot and people could check out the displays at the museum while in attendance. “It worked out well being at the museum.”
The staff in Elrose chose the Elrose District Heritage Society, the caretakers of the museum, as the beneficiary for the proceeds of the barbecue and prize money if the community wins again. The proceeds will be used to help pay for an accessibility ramp that was installed at the museum earlier this year.
In 2017, the contest supported the Elrose Memorial Hall expansion project and people had raised a whopping $19,432 at the barbecue through sales and donations. Elrose also mustered up 5,243 online votes for a total of 24,675 votes.
Hopkins said the museum volunteers were a great help at the event. The assistant manager said he hopes to add another $2,000 to $5,000 to the total by ending up in the top three after all the votes are tallied, and the community came through for another cause.
“We’re thankful for all of the support from the community,” Hopkins said, adding that local managers are also thankful to the museum board and local Nutrien staff for helping. “It was another great day. Anytime you can make a little bit of money for an organization in town that needs it, it’s a good day.”
Tim Roszell, manager at the Nutrien facility in Dinsmore, said there was a great turnout of supporters at the charity barbecue on Aug. 9. He noted that all of the proceeds are going to support projects at the Dinsmore Community Hall.
Similar to other places, people enjoyed hamburgers and hotdogs at the barbecue. There was also a draw for a lawn mower, as was the case at other Small Town Showdown barbecues, he said. According to Roszell, the money raised for the community hall will help to support general maintenance and “any future projects.”
The Nutrien facility in Eatonia held its charity barbecue on Aug. 7. According to a staff member, the money raised through the barbecue and any potential prize money will go to support the local fitness club in the community.
Carolyn Andreas, president of the Elrose District Heritage Society, said the society appreciates everyone who helped out with the barbecue, and museum officials are grateful to Nutrien for choosing the wheelchair accessibility walkway project as the local cause.
“We were very fortunate that we were chosen,” she said of the company’s support, recognizing that the museum was a good venue for the barbecue and it was an excellent time for everyone who attended the event. “Everyone seemed to have a good time.”