By Lanny Stewart
It’s clear the first annual Oil Caps Ag Summit was a resounding success.
“We were very happy with the overall day,” said Jamie Hodson, Oil Caps director of business and hockey operations, regarding the event, which took place Nov. 15 at Tundra Oil and Gas Place.
An agricultural tradeshow that involved a plethora of exhibitors, a list of entertaining and informative keynote speakers, followed by a dinner that had more than 200 people highlighted the inaugural Summit. The event also included a product and technology auction later in the evening followed by an Oil Caps game to wrap up festivities that day.
“I think for the most part we generated good buzz for our partners and got them to where they were able to showcase their companies throughout the day,” Hodson said. “Our speakers were excellent, and we were able to generate revenue for the hockey club which is also a win-win.”
This is just the beginning, Hodson says, as the Oil Caps Crop Club group have already started thinking about next year’s Summit.
“With a year under our belt now, we hope to improve on the event and make it that much better next year,” he added.
Oil Caps board member Craig Davidson, managing partner of Taurus and president of Black Sand Management, says the organization has evolved with its Crop Club and its agricultural partners since the organization’s inception – and that the club’s goal was to create more exposure and value back to its businesses.
“By moving to a Summit event in November, it allowed more agricultural partners to become involved at a time of year where it is really the kick-off to the winter season and a new crop year,” Davidson said. “For our first ever Oil Caps Ag Summit, we couldn’t be more pleased with the involvement from the industry and the way the day turned out. Great speakers, great networking, great meal, great auction items and a win by the team to cap the day off. Next year’s event will be bigger and better from what we learned in 2018.”
Oil Caps captain Ben Dalke was also happy with the turnout of the Summit – and of course, his club’s efforts on the ice that night, as Virden defeated the Steinbach Pistons by a score of 5-3 in a rematch of last year’s MJHL championship final.
“It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd and I’m very glad we got to acknowledge our ag partners who do so much for the Virden Oil Capitals.”
‘One of the most unique events’
Leah Hextall, a sports broadcaster, formerly of Sportsnet, was one of the keynote speakers at the Summit. She says it was one of the most unique events she’s ever had the pleasure to attend.
“It is clear how much the agriculture community supports the Oil Capitals, and in turn, how much the organization appreciates them as a partner,” she said. “The Ag Summit was a creative way to bring the two together and it was a privilege to speak at the event, which I suspect will be the first of many.”
Hextall joined a group of keynote speakers that included ag experts Lane Stockbrugger, Kristjan Hebert as well as long-time hockey coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk.
Partners enjoyed the experience
The Oil Caps could not have put on the event without the support of all its partners.
“The Ag Summit was a great event to be part of,” said Lane Wanless, Redfern Farm Services Virden branch manager. “Great line up of speakers. The Redferns team was proud to be a gold sponsor for this event and look forward to next year.”
“Great event to come together with growers and numerous ag partners to celebrate the ag industry in a rural setting,” said Steve Dryden of Decisive Farming. “We look forward to future summits and our continued partnership with the Virden Oil Capitals.”
Thoughts from a producer’s perspective…
“I thought it was a well organized and attended event,” said Leigh Smith, who was one of the many producers in attendance. “The speakers where great with a positive motiving massage. I think it’s important to support an organization that puts forward the time and energy to put on such an event. It will be bigger and better next year.”
“It was a great event with very good speakers,” said Dallas Ritchie, another local producer who took in the Summit. “Nice to see such support from the ag community. With this being the first time this event was held, I think it went over very well.”
On behalf of the Oil Capitals Crop Club members, staff, players, board and the ownership group: “We really want to thank everyone for attending and supporting our Ag Summit. Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our partners involved. Our Platinum partners right through our Bronze: Nutrien Ag was our Trade Show Host and brought in several producers and had 1stclass products in the auction. Decisive Farming was our game night ticket partner. Again, 1stclass auction products and did their best to bring in some of their customers as well. Rocky Mountain had excellent auction items and was our partner with the Product & Technology Auction on the night and had some of their customers there as well. Pioneer Hi-Bred was our Dinner Partner and as well included their top RR Canola seed in the auction. FCC was very generous in bringing in Lane Stockbrugger as a speaker, and took care of the coffee and refreshments on the day.”