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Summerland Review
Published: May 30, 2012


Maryan Denison lost two horses over the past several years and in their honour she has donated the proceeds from the sale of her horse trailer to the Summerland Rodeo Grounds Equine development committee for their efforts in improving the facilities.

By Jorden Dixon – Penticton Western News
Published: August 03, 2010

For 75-year-old Jack Young, the thought of the Summerland Rodeo Grounds stirs up all the memories of the countless “blisters and bruises” it has given him over the years.

Young was a member of the Summerland Trail Riders back in 1980 when the group decided to build the grounds, a project that Young said ended up lasting “10 good summers” before it was completely finished. “We just leased a piece of property from the municipality, there was nothing there,” Young said. “There was no water and no power, just rough terrain and a club with no money.”

Young added that one of the 120 members of the club at the time took out a loan against their home in order to get the money to start the project.

After the completion of the arena, the decision to try hosting a rodeo started to make the investment of time and money worth it. “It took off as a success,” Young said. “The rodeo included a western dance, and every year we sold out that dance. “We started making quite a bit of money and we gave it back to the municipality and they bought the jaws of life for the fire department.” Three decades later, the once sold-out rodeo and dance is now non-existent and the condition of the grounds is quickly deteriorating.

In hopes of bringing new life to the grounds the Summerland Rodeo Grounds Equine Development Committee has been fundraising for the last three years. “It’s one of those things where if you don’t show that you are willing to put forth your efforts why even bother whining about the facility,” said Laura Dean, SRGEDC vice-president. “Put up or shut up as they say, so that’s what we are doing.”

On the group’s “wish list” are things as simple as “maintaining and upgrading infrastructure,” Dean said. However, eventually they would like to raise enough funds to put in covered stabling and a covered arena. Gwen Shaw, SRGEDC president, said that covered stabling and an arena would only benefit the community of Summerland, coaxing people in to use the grounds for things such as horse shows and maybe even rodeos.

“I don’t think the (Summerland) corporation or even the community realizes what a little gem that is up there,” Shaw said. “I think Summerland would be very amazed, when and if we get this thing going, at the people that it’s going to draw in, which would increase the amount of money spent in the local market here. “And we could bring back the rodeo,” Shaw added.


Gwen Shaw (left) and Laura Dean (right) pose with Shaw’s horse Remedy, who participated in the Horse Survivor fundraiser in Summerland.

The SRGEDC has held three major fundraisers for the grounds so far, collecting about $24,000. Hoping to add to the bill the SRGEDC is hosting their fourth major fundraiser at the Summerland Rodeo Grounds on Aug. 14. The fundraiser named Horse Survivor will see the grounds come to life as it will be decorated to the tenth degree with tiki masks, torches, greenery and monkeys, according to Shaw. “We really want to have that ambiance there,” Shaw added. “The audience can think of it as a theatre on horseback.”

Tickets to the show are $15, with kids five and under free, and can be purchased at both the Summerland and Penticton visitors centres. Tickets to a dinner and dance on the day of the show can also be purchased for $15 and $10 respectively.

Shaw and the SRGEDC have high hopes for Horse Survivor as their past fundraising events, such as the Dancing Andalusion Stallions and the RCMP musical ride, have had warm welcomes from the community. “Our first event was $10,000 profit, which we didn’t expect,” Shaw said. “The grounds were packed. “It was a miracle the people we had.”