News

September 30 ,2013 News Release: Hawker Pavilion

Hawker Pavilion on GPRC Fairview Campus Gets New Life

GPRC is pleased to announce a partnership with Swartzy Performance Horses to operate GPRC's Hawker Pavilion (Horse Boarding Facilities and Indoor Riding Arena) located at the GPRC Campus in Fairview, Alberta. The agreement, effective October 1, 2013, allows the College to continue providing the facility for community use without using resources intended for academic purposes.

Swartzy Performance Horses (SPH), operated by Dallas and Garry Schwerdt of Fairview, Alberta, has partnered with GPRC with a shared dream of the Hawker Pavilion becoming a renowned equine facility in Northern Alberta. The partners are committed to growing access to equine activities and boarding options available to our community.

We, at SPH, are very excited about the opportunity to bring new life to the Hawker Pavilion. Not only will the public have increased access to the arena, they will also have opportunities to enhance their equine related skills. Along with regular lessons being offered, SPH is planning various clinics in multiple disciplines and anticipate a number of events coming to the Hawker Pavilion. We look forward to offering a facility to the public that is both welcoming and professionally ran.

The Hawker Pavilion was constructed in 1986 and over the years has served the College and the surrounding Community as a superb educational facility and as an indoor riding facility. Over the past several years due to changes in program mix and funding, the facility has been used on a more limited basis. In May of 2013, GPRC asked for "Expressions of Interest" from community groups or individuals with equine industry expertise who were interested in partnering with GPRC to operate the Hawker Pavilion. GPRC evaluated the proposals against criteria established to ensure that both GPRC and Community needs would be met in the operation of the Riding Pavilion.

"GPRC is very pleased to have achieved this solution for the Hawker Pavilion and the community of Fairview," says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO. "We are excited by the plans that have been put forward by SPH, and exceptionally confident in their business expertise. This is a partnership which will greatly expand opportunities for the future."

The goal is to better maximize facility use and even increase the ability to offer equine programming and events in the Community. The Schwerdts bring over 20 years of equine industry experience to the task; they currently operate an equine facility outside of Fairview and are the founders of the Black Gold Barrel Racing and Reining events. The Schwerdts, who also own and operate Swartzy Welding Services Ltd., bring a great deal of management and business related experience to the partnership.

Planned services to the community include: indoor and outdoor horse boarding; indoor public riding 8am-10pm daily; and indoor group riding. SPH is also planning on offering a host of clinics, lessons, and events.

The Schwerdts are looking forward to working with groups to host community events such as cattle and equine events of any discipline. Portable stalls and tents will be available for events, as well as a variety of equipment such as jump blocks, poles and barrels. SPH will also be working with GPRC to develop an outdoor arena to accommodate larger events and summer riding. And if you don't have your own horse, that is still no problem! Community members who have not previously been able to ride as they haven't owned horses will be able to take lessons on SPH-owned lesson horses.

Some renovations to the facility will be undertaken in early October, and SPH is looking forward to hosting visitors at an open house in the near future. For bookings or more information, please contact Dallas Schwerdt at 780-814-1729 or check out the SPH website at www. swartzyhorses.com.

August 30 ,2013 News Release: Black Gold Reining 2013

The 2nd year exceeded expectations yet again, with an increase of horses by 50%. Competitors came from across Alberta and BC to vie for over $20,000 in added money. Our judges, from Purcell, Oklahoma and Weatherford, Texas were extremely impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the show and one actually made a comment "If this show was closer to home I would enter it in a heartbeat." They particularly enjoyed judging the Friday and Saturday evening Derby and Maturity classes as the grandstands were full of spectators that were very vocal in their appreciation of the tremendous athletic ability many horses showed. Its the shout, clapping and whistling appreciation that always makes the excitement and the enthusiasm palpable. What every competitor loves to hear when they are out their running to win it! Saturday evening also saw great success in raising money for the Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society - a worthwhile cause the appreciated the $1800 that was raised through the Calcutta.

After 483 class entries ran over 3 1/2 days, paying out over $35,000 to contestants, giving away $15,000 plus in prizes and having a positive impact on the local economy we heard some of the following comments:

"Best show in Western Canada"
"Can't believe how efficient it ran"
"What a fantastic facility"
"We had fun and loved the atmosphere"
"Can't believe how enthused the spectators were Saturday night"
"We will see you next year and we are bringing more people"

August 30 ,2013 News Release: Black Gold Barrel Racing 2013

It was a weekend jam packed full of horses, barrel racing and very wet weather! Our goal was to produce the largest barrel racing event in the Peace Country and we did it with over $70,000 in payouts, $25,000 plus in prizes, 280 horses, 830 runs, and over 200 competitors.

People came from as far west as Langley, BC as far east as Lloydminster, SK and as far south as Medicine Hat, AB as well as points in between. There was a steady stream of horse trailers pulling in with over 120 units parked for the weekend. Spectator vehicles were seen coming and going each day in a steady flow. We saw a number of pro girls set the pace but they definitely did not dominate the competition. The structure allowed everyone to have a chance at winning money each day and it was spread out, with over 74 cheques written over the course of the weekend.

Everyone would agree that the highlight of the weekend was the Men's Barrel Race on Sunday evening. This comprised of 28 men broke into 14 teams which were then in a Calcutta to raise money for Wild Pink Yonder, a group that rides to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. After a great deal of enthusiasm, a little bit of heckling and lots of laughs over $3300 was raised! It is without a doubt that this will become an annual event, one which many will look forward to next year!

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