Support REACH this Wednesday, April 6th
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 06:23

Help Save the REACH CentreAt the 2011 North-East Regional Invitational High School Rodeo at The Regional Equine & Agricultural Centre of Huron Inc., there were a few conversations floating around.

For many, it was our first time inside the Facility, a state-of-the-art heated arena, complete with stalls, dorm rooms, concession areas, instruction areas and more. In its still "near-new", pristine condition, and impeccable up-keep, we really appreciated how special of a facility it has become. There have been several Roping Association of Ontario Ropings there to-date, plus Team Sortings, Barrel Races, an up-coming Team Roping Clinic and many more Western Events. Plus it has become a local riding and instruction facility, and even an indoor soccer field for the college students.

However, the other conversation that was circling was how the "Town" is rallying to shut the building down and convert it into other purposes. My brief understanding is that they feel that too much of their money went into the facility, and they're not getting their use of it, or a return on their dollar. Their claim is that no one locally is benefiting, just "all these out of towners" coming in. Floating around is a figure of $1,100,000 annually to run, with a gross income of $25,000 last year.

The counter to this by REACH supporters has been: Most of the funding for this building has been by the Provincial and Federal Governments, and though the Building has been open a year, it just "started" becoming fully viable for different groups this winter, and it has to "grow". By their own website, www.ReachHuron.ca, they announce the finalization of the Arena Footing in May of 2010...who needs an indoor arena in June for an event?

The boat the "town" is missing, off the top of my head, is the revenue that the facility brought to the town and surrounding area. There are major impact studies to do, or to at least reflect on, however, Me, Bobbi and Marshall went to the REACH Friday afternoon, the Black Dog in Bayfield on Friday Night, stayed at the Bayfield Village Inn in Bayfield Friday and Saturday Nights, had brunch at the Dinner Bell Restaurant in Clinton on Saturday Morning, got a coffee at Tim Horton's before the performance at REACH in Clinton, had dinner at Rumorz in Clinton Saturday Evening, after a round trip to drop the Family off, I went to Charlie's Variety in Clinton to get a 5-hour Energy Drink and Halls, went to the REACH for the pizza party, needed cash for the rest of the weekend, stopped at Charlie's Variety on the way back to the hotel for an ATM, grabbed another java at Tim Horton's. Sunday Morning, woke up late, had breakfast at Tim Horton's in Clinton, went to REACH, and before leaving town, grabbed one final coffee at Tim Horton's (yes, went to both ends of town,) fuelled up my Super Duty at Edward Fuels Shell. My rough calculation on this: $598.50 that Bobbi, Marshall and I contributed to the local communities of Clinton and Bayfield. Though quaint towns, this was the first time in my 32 years as a Canadian that I have ever stepped out of a vehicle in either of these cities.

High School Rodeo at REACH in April 2011

Now for the crazy math: I was one family at $600, there were 48 contestants at the High School Rodeo (some with more family members than others), so where there were more kids in a Family, or supporters, a trailer over a hotel.... go with $300 / contestant = $14,400. If the events were on this scale, 52-weeks a year, just the community boost is $748,800. (plus building revenues, taxes, etc.) Three-day Barrel Shows, Quarter Horse Shows, etc. would fall into that category.

A regular rodeo attracts over 150 Contestants and in similar markets, 1,500 Spectators / performance x 2 ... using the $300 rule on the Contestants and even garnering back to $150 on the Spectators, that could exceed $270,000 of town impact for one event.

My quick farmer math is simple. Proper impact studies have shown a single town impact at over a million for a single Rodeo in Ontario: accommodations, meals, entertainment, fuel, advertising and promotions, grounds leasing, maintenance, loyalty to a town, industry boosted, more out-of-town money in the town, then spent in the town by the town... (the Black Dog in Bayfield is my new favourite pub on the Planet)

Missing ingredient? Regardless of the rodeo, or event type, the Town must embrace these events and facilities. Sponsor. Promote. Attend. If it wasn't for my tweaked iPhone, we wouldn't have found the Dinner Bell Restaurant. If it wasn't for the High School Rodeo at the REACH, $600 less would have been spread around Bayfield and Clinton.

So?

The REACH supporters are organizing a rally/get-together this Wednesday, April 6th at 7:00pm at REACH to discuss what can be done to give this facility a chance. The Donaldson Ranchhands (Ty, Bailey and Logan) have been asked to give a short blue grass concert at the meeting, so there's entertainment on the program as well.

But if you're available to attend to show your support, it would be great. The venue may not be in your backyard, but for our industry, it is close to perfect, and they're planning on making more changes and additions. Let's do what we can. This is kinda like "...they paved paradise and put up a parking lot...", except it's a soccer field.

If you know anyone that would be willing and able to attend, please forward to them as well. If you can't attend but feel compelled to help out, you can email me a note and I'll deliver it for you ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Hope to see you on Wednesday.

 

UPDATE:

Thanks to all of you who have take the time to like/share/forward/comment, etc.

This started as a text message for me, and has developed into a full campaign on multiple platforms, and I'm glad to be a part.

First, this meeting is actually a Municipality of Clinton (Town Meeting) described as a working budgetary meeting. Decisions won't be made at this meeting, but this is the meeting where the Council will look for comments from those in attendance.

It is perceived that the "nay-sayers" are organized and funded by a "Say No to Wind Turbines" group, and that they may show and wish to speak in large volumes. This lobby group is trying to pressure Council to adjust their 5-year commitment, and to repurpose the REACH Centre.

For Wednesday's meeting the following three things are sought after:

  • a) In person attendance or letter from Organizations that have or plan to use the facility
  • b) in person attendance or letter/email/post stating one's support from within the Horse Industry
  • c) in person attendance

Short letters and comments are definitely of use during this stage of the process.

These letters may be forwarded directly to Richard Harding of REACH Huron at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can forward through me This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by posting in the comments below.

If you are able to attend, we are asking that you meet with us as a group between 6:30 and 6:45 in the REACH Huron Arena Lobby before moving to the building where the meeting is taking place, which is on the property.

Please let Richard Harding know if you are able to speak on behalf of an organization or an individual by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling (519) 606-1490

Ideally, your contribution would state along the lines of:

  • - need for a facility as REACH
  • - value of the facility
  • - use that your organization sees for the facilty
  • - # of Event Attendees, Duration, # of Events potentially could be booked there

Finally, thanks for your help! We need bodies, speakers and letters...keep circulating and inspiring...the Equine Industry is pretty powerful!

Hope to see you on Wednesday.

UPDATE #2 - POST MEETING RECAP

 

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