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A BIT OF BATTLE RIVER HISTORY
The history of the Battle River Ag Grounds dates back to the 1920’s, as recollected by the Pioneers of the Battle River District in the Saga of the Battle River history book. The Battle River Agricultural Society is the oldest organization in the area.
A few men who formed a Sports Committee, intending to put on a Sports Day, first organized the grounds at Robertson’s Crossing. These men included pioneers of the Battle River District; George (Slim) Jackson, Ed Sharp, and Bob Biswanger, their project was backed by local businessman Joe Bissett. These men with the help of local farmers and a government grader, worked to construct the first baseball diamonds, a racetrack and in the years to follow the first Ag. Hall was built, only needing to complete the floor before the first Ag. Hall dance was held!
In 1924 the first Battle River District Sports Days took place, a three-day event that became an annual tradition. The sports days included bucking horses, horse races, baseball, foot races and the like. The event was not a financial success, but was a huge hit in the district.
In 1930 the Battle River Society was formed and George Jackson released 95 acres of his original homestead to the society to ensure the district could have a permanent site for the sports grounds. In 1931 the land title became official, and in 1933 the official society status was granted.
In 1948 the original track running north and south on the property was staked, measured and brought to grade, the track was legalized for racing by putting up a spruce rail. Years later the track would be rebuilt where it exists now and surveyed in 1972 and rebuilt to perry mutual standards in an effort to see it become a betting track.
1950 saw the 1st Agricultural Fair under the leadership of John Nichols, and the 1st Annual Manning Rodeo was held in 1968 in the rodeo arena that exists today. The grounds saw a barn and pavilion constructed in 1972 and the existing hall in 1985. The Multi-use indoor arena was constructed in 1994 and the existing grandstands in 1995.
Thanks to countless volunteers and dedicated Ag Society members the grounds and its facilities have been well kept and will be enjoyed by the community for years to come!
Our 2022 upgrade to our hall kitchen was made possible thanks to the generous donation from the FCC grant.
Manning, Alberta, Canada
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