“The rodeo event is an event that I truly enjoy,” says Steve Dryden, Chairperson of the Virden Indoor Rodeo and the 2011 recipient of the Gerry Holmes Memorial Award.
Presented each year to a Virden Indoor Rodeo & Wild West Daze Committee member who has made an outstanding contribution to the event, the award honours the memory of Gerry Holmes, a women whose involvement was exceptional and long-standing.
Dryden, who has served as a volunteer for the event since 1996, had the pleasure of working closely with Homes, and remembers her fondly. “I had the great fortune to work with her; she was an outstanding leader at the head of the table. I very much enjoyed working with her and I’m quite honored to receive the award.”
Now serving his 15th year as a member of the board, Dryden has dedicated countless hours, days, months and years to the success of the Virden Indoor Rodeo, which has been named the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo of the Year several times.
As a former team roper, Dryden admits that he misses the excitement of competing; “I did compete for a time and I loved it, but now that I no longer do that I can funnel my energy towards putting on this event and still be involved in the sport.”
Taking on the position of Chairman of the Sponsorship Committee in his first year (and has held since), the tireless volunteer and his fellow committee members have spent over a decade acquiring the sponsorship and funding that, in large part, can be thanked for the high quality rodeo that Virden delivers every year.
Dryden believes, however, that “a number of things have to come together to have an award winning rodeo.” Though he recognizers and appreciates the “amazing base of very strong, dedicated sponsors in and around Virden,” he cannot attribute the rodeo’s great success on just one element.
“It starts with the sponsors to get the funds for the added purse and various rodeo expenses, but another large portion is the volunteers who perform the work and run the different aspects of the weekend. Also, our committee is very broad in their knowledge of rodeo. We have a lot of depth with the past and present competitors on the board and a number of individuals who have seen a lot of different rodeos for a lot of years; I think that certainly gives us an edge.”
“The other two key components to having a successful rodeo year after year are the contestant, an impressively large number of high quality athletes that make the trip to Virden each year, and the rodeo fans that continue to come to the arena night after night to watch the show. I’ve been asked on different occasions how long it will run – I hope we’re still putting it on as long as there is someone to watch.”
Continually endeavouring to succeed in all four faction, the Virden Indoor Rodeo has been chosen by the cowboys and cowgirls of the MRCA as Rodeo of the Year nine times in the last two decades. “As a chairperson, I take great pride in receiving this award. It is a great honour and something that we certainly strive to achieve year after year.” And strive they do. Just as they celebrate another year’s successful rodeo from August 18-21, they will begin the planning stages for another. “I don’t know that it ever ends; there are always little things that you critique and make slight changes to.” Holding meetings for eight to nine months of the year, Dryden, the rodeo committee and its subcommittees work year round to ensure the excellence that the Virden Indoor Rodeo is known for.
Now in it’s 23rd year, the rodeo will be held for the first time in a new venue, Virden’s new multi-recreational facility. “We are definitely excited about the move; it’s a great venue and a beautiful complex and I think the rodeo will take on a new face.” In respect to their old home however, there will be a presentation of the history of the old arena in the opening ceremonies of the equine events. “We’ve built a legacy in the old rink and now as we shift over we all hope that the legacy will continue to grow.”
Humbles by being named the recipient of the Gerry Homes Memorial Award, Dryden comments that there is “a long list of committee members that certainly would also deserve to receive the award, I was very honoured to be chosen this year.”
|DR. EVERETT MORE