Kim Randall was introduced as Evergreen Park’s Associate General Manager at the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural & Exhibition Society Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.
She will take over as General Manager on January 1, 2023. Until then she will be working closely with current General Manager Dan Gorman, who is stepping down at the end of 2022.
Randall has spent over 30 years in the hotel business and is the current General Manager of the Best Western Premier Freeport Inn & Suites in Calgary.
“I think the Park has so much opportunity and so much to offer to the people of Grande Prairie,” she says. “I look forward to coming in and being a part of that.”
She has a sister and son who both live in Grande Prairie and says “I’m coming to join my family, not just come up north.”
During his 10 years at the Park Gorman has helped cut the Park debt by millions of dollars, renovated Clarkson Hall and the Lewis Hawkes Arena and signed long-term agreements with many users, among other accomplishments.
“It sounds like he has done an amazing job here,” she says.
Randall will assume her new position at Evergreen Park in May.
Organizers at the 36th Foster’s Peace Country Classic Agri-Show are glad to be back after being shut down for two years.
The 2020 edition was cancelled after Day 1, and there was no show at all last year, because of the pandemic.
President Jason Anderson explains why the show expanded to four days this year from three in previous years.
“I guess the biggest thing was to get our exhibitors (in on) Wednesday to Friday. That was typically the response on the surveys that were done. (Since) most of them were employees of a business, Saturdays were typically days off.”
Anderson says the main show will run through Friday with the youth program on Saturday. The horse program starts Thursday and will continue through Saturday.
Anderson thinks having the Lewis Hawkes and Drysdale Centre newly renovated has been great for the show.
“Fantastic. It’s going to make that horse program just pop over there. The building, you would never recognize it if you walk into it right now. It’s just a night and day difference.”
“It’s going to be a great asset for the park to have as a useable building going forward but for this show, it’s just a perfect fit.”
The Northern Classic Bull Sale will be held Friday in the Drysdale Centre starting at 1 p.m.
Even after a tough year last year, Agri-Show president Jason Anderson says the people who came out on Day 1 seemed to be in a good mood.
“Anybody you see wandering around, the faces are smiling. Of course, everyone is nervous about going forward with the cost of inputs being so dramatically higher this year. Of course, there is always that concern, but farmers are a resilient bunch and they’re prepared to just keep going and keep feeding the world.”
Anderson says anyone coming to the show is welcome to bring a donation for the food bank. They are being taken at the main entrance to the trade show. The proceeds from the kid’s auction, which is not being held this year because of COVID restrictions that were in place at the plans were being made, usually went towards the food bank.
Hours for the trade show and horse program Thursday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full schedule can be found here.
What is being called a major renovation is planned for the Lewis Hawkes Pavilion at Evergreen Park.
General Manager Dan Gorman says they are renovating it to make it “a more useable events centre”.
“It’ll have seating up to 1,000 people. We’re re-doing the lights, the tin, the building and announcer’s booth, new washrooms,” said Gorman. “There’ll be a kitchen with a concession and bar-area and a complete area for competitor stalls.”
He adds the total cost of the renovations is $900,000.
“That building is a wonderful, solid building that is much like the Clarkson Hall. It’s got a great base to it but it’s really tired and really needs some serious upgrades. We’re just thrilled to be able to do them.”
Gorman says they were able to get a Community Facility Enhancement Grant from the province. They have raised most of the matching funds needed but are still looking for donations.
He adds the renovations will mean more space to hold more events.
“This particular area I think will be just like Clarkson Hall. We had so few events for years just because it was a very, very tired, worn exterior and interior. Once we renovated that, it’s just booked solid most of the time now.”
Gorman says new lighting in the parking lot is already up.
He adds the hope is to be finished sometime between the Agri-Show and Stompede next year.
The search has begun for a new General Manager at Evergreen Park after Dan Gorman announced late last week that he is retiring from the position at the end of 2022.
Gorman has spent 10 years at Evergreen Park, but says it is time to realign and do some different activities.
“My family is growing and we have younger kids and grandkids, and it is just time to realign a little bit. I am going to be staying on at their request as a consultant, working on some special projects for a few years afterward,” he explained.
“I will always be connected to Evergreen Park and still love what I do there.”
Gorman has many fond memories of his time at Evergreen Park.
“The relationships with our team on-site, and working with a great board, and so many different user groups and events. I guess the fact that we have grown the park so much,” he said.
“It is like a little town out there and the activities there have grown so much. We have upgraded all of the buildings and got the finances back into good shape.”
A new General Manager will be hired in the coming months, in order to have them learn first-hand from Gorman before he officially steps aside.
But Gorman says he still has a few projects that he would like to see through to completion.
“(I would like to see us) finish the renovations at Lewis-Hawkes pavilion, which is about 65 percent done, to continue to work to help grow the horse racing industry, and just to help get the park through the rest of the pandemic, hopefully, by the end of 2022.”
Gorman will stay on as a consultant for a few years after he steps down from the General Manager post, to work with the park on some special projects.
If you put a win/place/show bet on trainer Wade Eno’s horses this year at The Horses At Evergreen Park you probably made some money.
Eno, the Top Trainer at the summer meet at J.D.A. Raceway, had has horses in the top three 66% of the time over the 18-day racing season.
Jamaica’s Larris Allen was the Top Jockey after 18 days of racing during July and August.
Eno finished with 12 wins, seven seconds and four thirds after 35 races involving horses he trains. The former Manitoba Derby winner (with a horse named Mongolian Wind in 2020) collected $36,017 in purse money.
Eno, from Rimbey, finished three wins ahead of three other trainers – local Nellie Pigeau, Garry Marks and Jim Depew.
Over his training career, which started in 1991, Eno has had 780 starts with 94 of those being wins and has collected $395,462 in purse money for various owners.
Pigeau, who won the award in 2021, was by far the busiest of the trainers with 90 horses entered over the two months of racing. Eno’s 35 was second-most while Marks and Lyle Magnusson each had 33 starts.
William Leech, who has local Chuck Stojan among his customers, finished with the most money earned among trainers with $74,507.
Allen raced 84 times with 23 wins, 15 seconds and 18 thirds and earned his owners $107,487 over the summer. His winning percentage was 27% and win/place/show at 67%.
Trevor Simpson finished second with 16 wins in 67 starts and Jose Rocha was third with 13 wins after leaving the gates 68 times.
Allen started racing in Lethbridge in 2010 and since then has been on 3,112 mounts with 744 wins and $2,671,088 in purses.
Three horses ended up with three wins in Grande Prairie – Causin Mischief, Benny’s Girlfriend and Serappy G. Causin Mischief was the top money earner among those horses with $11,679.
Many of the same trainers and horses now head south to Lethbridge for the fall meet, which starts this weekend.
All of the Lethbridge races can be seen on the screens in the Wild Horses Casino & Lounge at Evergreen Park.
The Horses At Evergreen Park continue every Saturday and Sunday during the month of August with 1:15 p.m. first posts.
Every weekend there are featured races highlighted by the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association Stakes on Sunday, August 22 and Mr. Mike’s Paint The Park Purple – Race For the Cure on Sunday, August 29 to wrap up the racing season.
August 22 is also Dino Derby Day. Dinosaurs will be trying to outrace extinction on the J.D.A. Track looking to be Fast, Faster or Fastest.Paint The Park Purple is a fundraiser for the fight against pancreatic cancer. Mascot Mania will be part of the day as local mascots compete against each other and for the public’s attention.
Grande Sunset Theatre outdoor movies continue Saturdays during August. On the 14th there is a special movie night. The movie Jurassic Park will be shown and proceeds will go toward PARDS, STARS, Cystic Fibrosis Canada and The Salvation Army. You can purchase tickets for that fundraiser here.
The Co-op Community Disc Golf Course is one of three being used for the Alberta Disc Golf Championship on August 14-15. Visit the local association page here for details.
A Livestock Music Festival was scheduled for the 20-21 but was cancelled because of COVID concerns.
The award-winning Alberta Food & Beverage Expo is back!
It goes Saturday, August 28 from 4-10 p.m. in Evaskevich Hall in the TARA Centre. Tickets are available at Moxie’s Bar & Grill, Royal Spirts Liquor Store (Southgate) and at the Evergreen Park admin offices in the TARA Centre.
Anyone attending, or organizing, an event at Evergreen Park is eligible for the special Evergreen Park discount at the Evergreen Park Preferred Accommodations - Holloway Lodging. Grande Prairie hotels included are the Best Western, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn and Super 8.
You can order online here or advise when calling to book you are taking part in an event at Evergreen Park.
The Horses At Evergreen Park go Saturdays and Sundays with a 1:15 p.m. post time. There were to be races Friday, July 23 and 30, but those have been cancelled.
Feature events in August include Bacon Fest on Sunday the 8th; the GPRTA Stakes and Dino Derby on Sunday, August 22 and Mr. Mike's Paint The Park Purple - Race For The Cure on Sunday, August 29 to wrap up the season.
There is no admission fee to watch the races. There is a beverage tent available on lots of room for social distancing and two smoking areas. The MNP Pony Express Mobile Concession is located at the north end of the grandstand.
Wild Horse Casino & Lounge (10 a.m. - a.m.) and the Pines Family Restaurant (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.) are part of the racing complex, which also includes the MNP Concourse where betting stations are located.
Fans have the option of betting in person at the betting stations or doing so online through HPIBet or ExpressBet.
Holloway Lodging Corporation is now the preferred hospitality provider for Evergreen Park.
Holloway and Evergreen Park signed an agreement recently that will begin, what both feel, will be a great partnership moving forward.
“Evergreen Park is excited to announce its partnership with Holloway Lodging Corp, as its preferred hotel (hospitality) provider,” said Evergreen Park General Manager Dan Gorman. “Holloway Lodging Corp has four very well-known and respected Grande Prairie hotel properties that will serve well the many visitors who attend Evergreen Park’s year-round events and activities.”
Evergreen Park visitors are being encouraged to stay at one of the four Holloway Lodging Corporation facilities in Grande Prairie – Holiday Inn & Suites, Best Western Hotel & Suites, Quality Inn & Suites and Super 8.
“Holloway Lodging Corp is extremely pleased with our long-term relationship with Evergreen Park,” said Holloway Chief Operating Officer Felix Seiler. “Our partnership with this great all-year round facility fits us perfectly and we look forward to be the preferred hospitality provider.
“Our four Grande Prairie hotels are well known for their service and great staff and we welcome all visitors to the many events and functions at Evergreen Park.”
Guests that stay at one of the four hotels will receive a discount at the Wild Horse Casino & Lounge and Pines Family Restaurant when they visit the Park.
Evergreen Park will also serve as the meeting and events venue for the Holloway hotels if their facilities are booked or not able to handle larger events that could be facilitated in the TARA Centre or other Evergreen Park buildings.
Holloway and the Park will be creating various Stay & Play promotions with the idea that visitors stay at Holloway hotels and come out to the Park to play – whether it be to watch horse racing; take a spin on the slots in the casino; hike on the Evergreen Ridge trails; take part in a baseball or archery tournament; compete in horse events through gymkhana and the local horse club; try out the community disc golf course; or take in an outdoor movie at Grande Sunset Theatre.
Anyone taking part in an event at the Park will be offered a discount at all four hotels.
Holloway Lodging Corporation is a Canadian-owned hotel company specializing in operating select and limited service hotels in secondary, tertiary and suburban markets across Canada.
Evergreen Park, under the umbrella of the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural & Exhibition Society, is a registered charitable non-profit. The Ag Society has been a part of the Grande Prairie landscape since 1911.
The Horses At Evergreen Park Stakes Schedule and the Stall Application form for 2021 have been released by Racing Manager Pat Hill.
Racing kicks off on July 10 and some of the feature races over the summer are the Grande Prairie Sprint, ACTRA Alberta Bred Stakes, GP Distance, John Deere Juvenile Challenge, Adequan Distaff, GP Distaff, Marathon Series, Spring Series, Sales Stakes Futurity, Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association Stakes and the Mr. Mike's Steakhouse Paint The Park Purple Stakes.
JDA Raceway at Gordon Badger Stadium will be hosting 18 race days in 2021- three more than in 2020. Racing will be held on two Fridays (July 23 and 30), eight Saturdays and eight Sundays. Post time Fridays is 5:15 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 1:15 p.m.
Racing fans are asked to check the news in regards to attendance restrictions for outdoor events as those numbers could change as the summer racing season approaches. For the complete summer racing schedule click here.
There will not be a Foster's Peace Country Classic Agri-Show in 2021.
The 36th edition that was set for March 11 to 13 has been cancelled.
Evergreen Park general manager Dan Gorman says this is because of COVID-19.
“There’s just too much going on, still too many cases and too many restrictions, understandably so, that would really preclude us from having a significant crowd come in and also make it difficult for a lot of our vendors to come up from down south and other areas.”
He adds at this time, there is nothing planned to take its place.
“We’ll play that by ear. If any real, real small things come in, then we’ll look at that. There is still a possibility that the bull sale might go ahead in the Lewis Hawkes (Pavilion), but we’ll know about that as we get closer.”
Gorman adds planning is already underway for the 2022 edition.
The 2020 edition was cancelled after Day 1 because of the unfolding pandemic.
- by Curtis Galbraith, Everything GP
Grande Prairie’s Nellie Pigeau was the busiest trainer at The Horses At Evergreen Park at JDA Raceway this summer.
She was also the winningest.
Fifty-one times Pigeau watched horses she trains leave the gates and 13 times they won; 12 times they finished second; and 10 times they ended up third. That means 69% of the time they were a win, place or show and 25% of her starts were victories. CLICK HER FOR COMPLETE STORY
There were lots of happy people at JDA Raceway at Evergreen Park on the weekend, but likely none more delighted than Don Danard, Don Knight and Chuck Stojan.
Those three were the winners of the biggest races on Days 11 and 12 of the 14-day season of The Horses At Evergreen Park. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
The Horses At Evergreen Park returned to JDA Raceway at Evergreen Park on the weekend
It opened with six races on Saturday and continued Sunday with seven races.
All of the races are live-streamed and betting is available online through Expressbet and HPI Bet. Click on the logo to choose the link to the betting service you prefer.
The race meet continues until Sunday, August 23.
A limited number of spectators are allowed as the race meet opens. Click on the banner above to order your free tickets online for the weekend races.
Race days are Saturdays and Sundays between July 11 with one Friday on the schedule – July 31. All of the Saturday-Sunday races will have a 1:15 p.m. first post time while the July 31 post will be 5:15 p.m.
Also, with AHS Phase 2 protocols now in place Evergreen Park will be able to offer its facilities for weddings - both outdoor and inside. The Park has a variety of buildings able to support with ease the maximum attendance allowed by AHS.
Meeting rooms, again with a large-capacity availability, are also available for companies and others.
The Evergreen Park TARA Centre Kitchen, as restaurants around the city have opened, is now back to its normal outside and inside catering program. Anyone interested in having their event catered, whether it is at their building or the TARA Centre, can phone 780-532-3279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order or go online here to place an order.
Other parts of the Park are also open including the archery range and horse club venues – all following AHS guidelines.
The Grande Sunset Theatre is offering weekend outdoor movies from the TARA Centre Parking Lot A all summer long. A permanent 40-foot screen was erected in the lot and up to 700 vehicles can be accommodated.
The slot machines, VLTs and off track betting kiosks are all open at the Evergreen Park Casino.
And the Casino Restaurant as well as the Pines Family Restaurant are welcoming customers as well at JDA Raceway.
There are eight screens showing races from across North America, two betting kiosks and race track programs for those who like to play the ponies
Temperature checks are in effect and face masks will be mandatory for all Casino slot/VLT customers. Hand sanitizers are available at the entrance/exit. All Alberta Health Services safety protocols are in place in both the Casino and restaurants. Social distancing is in effect in the Casino and restaurants (masks not mandatory) so all guests can feel safe when they play the slots or sit in the restaurants and enjoy a meal.
Check out the new Casino restaurant menu here.