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Our History

During Virtual Frontier Days in 2020, we shared a number of posts on our social media chronicling the history of the Swift Current Ag & Ex, particularly Frontier Days. Those posts are archived HERE.

The Fair has had it’s place in Swift Current since the early days of the settlement. Swift Current’s first fair grounds were located on what is now the Chinook Golf Course, north of the present filtration plant. The annual fair was held at that location from 1910 to 1922, and drew spectators from all over. The harness racing track at the old fair grounds was considered one of the best in Western Canada.

The old fair grounds had a covered, 500-person grandstand, and the grounds housed numerous permanent buildings, including stables, kitchens, and covered eating areas. At one point, the CPR ran special coaches out to surrounding communities to transport people to the fair. The fair hosted numerous events and competitions, including rodeos, track and field, cow milking, baking, rides, and sing-alongs. Attendees camped on the grounds and cooked communally. By 1922, WWI and the Spanish Flu had caused attendance numbers to drop significantly, and the Swift Current fair was not held for many years.

The 1930’s brought the driest, poorest years that the prairies had ever seen, and the Great Depression, or “Dirty Thirties”, caused the population of Saskatchewan to drop by 25% and morale to sink even lower. After the driest year on record (8 inches in the entire year), a group of young Swift Current citizens were looking to lift the community spirits of their hometown. They met in the Metropolitan Church basement to think up something that they could do, and together they pledged “Don’t give up the ship”, and formed the Kinetic Club. H.J. Powley writes in the History of Swift Current that “the name ‘Kinetic’ suggested energy, and those first younger members of the club certainly had loads of that commodity…”

The Kinetic Club decided that they wanted to celebrate Dominion Day (now called Canada Day) with a fair and rodeo, to be held in 1938. A group of the younger Kinetic Club members, including Irving Hansen, pushed hard to get the first Frontier Days going. The Club’s activities went beyond Dominion Day and fair celebrations.  They also included debates, education, literary arts, benevolent work, fund raising for community resources such as a swimming pool, festivals and more. At the very first Frontier Days fair, residents dressed in “Frontier-style”, decorated the downtown, and held competitions in livestock, produce, beard growing, and baking. The excitement attracted over 25,000 visitors that first year, and put Frontier Days on track to be an annual event.

Over the years, the Kinetic Club became known as a caring, tough, hardworking and sentimental group. When “Cream Puff”, the greatest bucking bronc of them all, died, they buried her under the chutes where every contestant in the bronco-busting, wild cow milking or calf-roping events must ride over her grave. “That’s for luck,” they would say, “and what town deserves it more?”

By 1950, having founded a successful local fair, the Kinetic Club made the decision to hand over the work of the fair to the local Chamber of Commerce after 12 years of success. The Chamber took control of its first Frontier Days with the understanding that a separate association would soon take over. A new organization was formed called the Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association. Two of its first members, J.E Campbell (President) and Irvin Hanson (Manager) lead the team to take control of the 1954 Frontier Days.

Since its founding, the Swift Current Agricultural & Exhibition Association has hosted numerous successful events at Kinetic Park and around Swift Current. The "Ag & Ex" is a non-profit organization with a mandate to provide service to, and enhance the life of residents of the community and the region in the areas of agriculture, entertainment, sport and culture. We serve this mandate through the development and delivery of programs such as Frontier Days Regional Fair and CCA Rodeo, Doc’s Town Heritage Village, Step Into Spring Home & Leisure Show, Ranchman’s Ridin’ & Recitin’, Discover the Farm, and Equestrian Camp. Through the delivery of these programs we contribute greatly to the community of Swift Current and area. On an annual basis we purchase over one million dollars worth of goods and services, utilize more than 20,000 volunteer hours and attract over 200,000 people annually to our park to participate in the various functions and events.

The chute is always open!