Delaying or cancelling event synonymous with spring simply not an option, organizers say
© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Blair Campbell of North Wiltshire was one of several exhibitors at the P.E.I. Easter Beef Show and Sale who bunked at the Eastlink Centre for two nights so weather wouldn't keep him from showing his cattle.
We tend to associate the expression “the show must go on’’ with the theatre but this week in Charlottetown it also applies to the P. E. I. Easter Beef Show and Sale.
Despite weather advisories that correctly projected the worst storm of the season, cattle breeders from across the province made the trip to Charlottetown’s Eastlink Centre for this annual event which is as synonymous with spring as robin sightings and crocuses.
Amanda Doiron, director of public relations for the show and sale, said Thursday not going ahead with the show just wasn’t an option.
“Some thought we might delay it, put it off until next week. But this show has never been cancelled, never been delayed,” said Doiron.
Some exhibitors were so concerned about the weather they actually bunked down at the Eastlink Centre Tuesday and Wednesday nights, dragging in air mattresses and bedding to sleep on.
Blair Campbell of North Wiltshire was one of them.
“We came in Tuesday night because we were scared of when the storm might start,” Campbell said. “We dragged everything in with us.”
Campbell, a seasoned exhibitor with more than 25 years under his belt, said there were four other breeders who did the same thing Tuesday night to beat the storm. Five more stayed Wednesday night. They spent the time talking and working on their animals.
“It was cozy in here Tuesday night, nice and warm. Last night ( Wednesday night) it was great in here because it really wasn’t that nice outside. But you knew you were going to be here and that you would be able to get your cattle prepared.”
There are actually more exhibitors at this year’s show than there were last year in both the 4- H class and the open class.
Doiron said there were 63 cattle in nine different breeds competing for champion and reserve champion honours this week. The exhibitors are a mixture of seasoned veterans and newcomers.
“We’ve got about eight veteran exhibitors who’ve done the show since they were kids and are getting up there now. Their kids are now showing and their grandchildren are showing and their nieces and nephews. The torch is being passed on and it’s great.”
Between 60 and 70 buyers are expected to be on hand today for the sale. Those buyers include farmers, farm businesses, tire companies, car companies and other businesses that are linked to the farming community on the Island.
Doiron expects to see the cattle on the block go higher than last year’s cattle did and last year was a good year.
“This year the price of beef went up close to 65 cents so right now the price of beef is going at $ 2.39 a pound. These are beautiful cows so it would be nice if the champion was close to the $ 7 mark and the reserve was in the sixes.”
Last year, the champion went for $ 6.25 a pound and the reserve went for $ 4.50 a pound and those prices represented an increase over the year before.
The price of beef at that time was in the area of $ 1.80 a pound.
And certainly the quality is there to get bidders going.
John Nostadt, of Windsor, Ont., who judged this year’s show and was also on hand last year, was pleased with what he saw.
“The quality of the cattle is as good or better than last year,” Nostadt said Thursday between classes. “I’m only halfway through the show at this point but if they keep coming like this it’s going to be a tough day to judge.”
Nostadt said the young people showing this year are good and the hospitality he’s been shown is great.
“Snowstorm or not we’re getting this show done and over with. The show is going very well given the circumstances. The committee here is awesome.”