It might not seem like a lot to donate an hour of your time to minding the gate or taking tickets, but those hours add up when you consider the many events in the summer Agricultural Society season.
It’s because of the volunteers who help out not just during the summer but all year-round that the Stettler Agricultural Society is able to put on the many events it hosts throughout the year, whether its sleigh rides in February or rodeos during the summer, said Laurel Pole, president of the Agricultural Society in Stettler on Aug. 14.
She spoke to a gathering of volunteers and sponsors who had, for once, not been involved in setting up or running the Beer and Burger night. No, the night was the time where volunteers and sponsors were thanked for their annual efforts and were spoiled by the Society board, who prepared the food and brought the drinks.
“Tonight is just a way for us to thank all the volunteers who help out at the Agriplex and the Agricultural Society all year, and our sponsors,” Darla Rairdan, one of the office administrators, said.
She said roughly 300 people help out during the year, donating their time and equipment to keep the events and programs offered by the society running.
“There’s just absolutely no end to them, and you just can’t thank them enough,” she said. “We couldn’t run without them.”
Dale Chapman is one of the volunteers who came to enjoy a burger, and has been volunteering since the ‘70s. He got started with the society after being “voluntold” by an uncle, but stuck with it.
“It just kinda became a habit,” he said. “You do it so long that you just don’t stop.”
In his time volunteering, Chapman has been on the board, and has seen the Agriplex grow from one singular building shared with the town to the multiple structures, including an indoor riding ring/arena.
“There’s been a lot of changes,” he said. “We started with a partnership with the town. They had it in the winter (as an arena) and we had it in the summer. From there, it just kept going.”
The indoor arena is one of the achievements in which Chapman finds the most pride, he said, since it means that events can often go on regardless of the weather.
Samantha Templeton, the branch manager of the Stettler Scotiabank, was also present at the Beer and Burger night. The bank is one of the Society’s sponsors in the year.
“Agriculture is such an important part of Stettler and any way we can support a local non-profit and generate business in our community is a smart investment, and important to the people who live here,” she said.