West Nipissing: The 2019 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM) is in the history books.
This celebration of agriculture and rural living came to a close Saturday (Sept. 21) afternoon, following five straight days of sunshine and warmth.
“Our primary strategic objective when we set out to create this was to host the greatest Plowing Match in the history of mankind. I’m proud to say … I think we’ve done it,” said IPM 2019 Chair Neil Fox, expressing gratitude for the “wonderful, magical volunteers” who were involved with the five-day event. “They put in so many hours, so much blood, sweat and tears (into this).”
More than two years of planning went into hosting IPM 2019, with more than 1,200 volunteers helping bring it all together.
Among the many event highlights are a visit from Amber Marshall, star of CBC’s Heartland; a performance from Justin Tyler, runner-up in the 2019 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase; about 150 BMO Plowing Competition participants; the Northeastern Ontario Pavilion; and the crowing of Wellington County’s Heidi Frey as the 2019/2020 Ontario Queen of the Furrow.
The IPM also featured dozens of entertainers – largely local talent – and demonstrations, such as fashion shows, spread out among three stages. Another major attraction is the full 450 vendor/exhibitor spaces offering a variety of large and small equipment, rural living items, an array of food and much more.
“What a wonderful week we’ve had here,” commented Sheila Marshall, President of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association, the parent hosts of the IPM. “They say if you build it, people will come. And as we have found this week, people have come … from all across the province of Ontario.
“This was possible because of all the hard work of the volunteers” says Marshall.
As is tradition, IPM 2019 concluded with the passing of the flags to representatives of IPM 2020, to be held in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes from Oct. 14 to 17, 2020.
“What an event you put on here in Verner. You should give yourselves a round of applause,” said Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham. “Thanks for having us up here. Thanks for the incredible job you did and I hope to see you all down in Lindsay in the City of Kawartha Lakes next year.”
In addition to the efforts of volunteers, the IPM would not be possible without support from the business community. At the top of that list are Presenting Partners BMO Bank of Montreal, Hydro One and the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association.
Platinum Partners of IPM 2019 include Bruce Power, Dodge RAM, Rogers Radio, Ed Seguin & Sons and West Nipissing Sanitation. Gold Partners are Baker Tilly, Cambrian College, College Boreal, Co-Op Regionale, CTV, Eastlink, Home Hardware, LeVoyageur/LeLoup, RONA Goulard, Savage Ford, Science North, Tremblay Chevrolet-Buick-GMC and Twiggs Coffee Roasters.
Contributions were also provided by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the Municipality of West Nipissing.
For more information about the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, as well as the Ontario Plowmen’s Association, visit www.plowingmatch.org.
To check out a variety of photos and video from IPM 2019, visit www.plowingmatch.org/ipm2019/visitors/media-gallery/