Editorial – Small towns can be champions

Richard Froese

Who says small rural northern towns can’t host Canadian sports championships.
Just ask people in the High Prairie region and those who competed in the Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Championships from Aug. 17-20.
Horseshoe Canada and the Alberta Horseshoe Pitching Association gave the High Prairie Horseshoe Club, president Ray Prevost and the community top marks as hospitable hosts.
Organizers were overwhelmed by the warm welcome to the community and local businesses.
Many people said it was the best Canadian horseshoe championships they attended.
It proves that small rural communities can host major sporting events as long as they have adequate facilities and ample accommodations.
First of all, it takes great leadership and vision to attract and host a major championship.
A big bouquet goes out to Prevost, who had the passion and perseverance to rally a club and community to host such a large event.
His patience was tested but he persevered.
The tournament was initially scheduled for August 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions hit in March 2020.
Through it all, the wait was well worth it.
Not only did High Prairie host the championship tournament, but also the Western Classic tournament the weekend before, Aug. 13-14.
It was definitely a double bonus and a double win for everyone involved.
One association representative says small rural communities very rarely host national championship events.
But small towns seem to have more support, even from municipalities, than staging the tournament in larger communities or cities.
In larger regions, a national championship tournament such as horseshoes doesn’t get near the support and recognition when major sports are the big game in town.
When a major tournament is in a small rural community, that becomes the big event.
After the pandemic and restrictions the past two years, the tournaments were a big boost to tourism in the region.
It sparked a significant boost, more than if the tournaments were held in a larger centre.
Many of the visitors will spread the word of their wonderful experience in the High Prairie and Peace region, which will attract more and other people to the great north.
Organizers and competitors were impressed so much with the tournament and community, Horseshoe Canada may even consider High Prairie again for the national championships.
Since he started the horseshoe club in 2017, Prevost has organized several annual tournaments, except during the pandemic.
Over that time, High Prairie has gained a strong reputation around Alberta for its horseshoe tournaments. It could be called the horseshoe capital of northern Alberta.
Peace River has also benefited from major sporting events such as the Alberta Games.
Other nearby towns can benefit with community support and team work.

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