Terry Tinkess
Record Staff

KEMPTVILLE – The clock is ticking, and things are switching into high gear as the 2022 International Plowing Match (IPM) prepares to welcome its first guests in just under a week’s time.

With an army of nearly 1,000 volunteers ready and willing to give it their all, hopes are high. One thing that can’t be ignored is the sense of positivity given off by everyone involved. If only by sheer willpower, this event will be a success, period, full-stop. Of course, the hundreds of hours of hard work by the organizing committee, sponsors and the aforementioned volunteers are what make this possible.

Local media were recently invited for a tour of the main site on the grounds of the Kemptville College campus and had an opportunity to speak with organizers, as well as local politicians, VIPs, and corporate partners.

Nancy Peckford is the mayor of North Grenville, and she spoke of how much effort was invested in making the 2022 IPM a reality for her community.

“As many know, this International Plowing Match has been a labour of love. A lot of blood, sweat and tears and effort has gone into convening what is North Grenville’s largest ever event in its 230-year history,” said Peckford.

“We are truly honoured and what a privilege it is for us to be able to host such an extraordinary event.”

Peckford commented on what would become a theme throughout the afternoon’s event: the degree of volunteerism that has become the keystone of the event. “The energy in this community is really unbelievable, and if you had been here earlier, you would have seen 700 volunteers, standing room only, so eager to be trained and equipped to host what will be a historic and incredible event in North Grenville.”

Anna Lennox is the reigning “Queen of the Furrow.” She joked that she has been the longest ever reigning Queen of the Furrow (due to the pandemic, Lennox has held the title since 2020).

“The theme for this year really revolves around reflecting on yesterday, today and tomorrow in agriculture,” said Lennox. “I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge the traditions of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association and the IPM in its 103rd year. I could not forsake acknowledging the volunteers. They said this morning we have almost 1,000 volunteers and this event today would not happen without them, and tomorrow I know the IPM is going to continue as strong as it has today with the legacy of North Grenville to continue. The memories we will build in the next weeks are sure to last until tomorrow and far beyond that.

“I really commend everyone for their spirit, their community spirit in North Grenville and Leeds-Grenville, for their appreciation and reflection of the agricultural industry and really for the awesome community that we have here and beyond.”

An event of this scope and scale could not happen without corporate sponsorship. While representatives of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Ontario Hydro couldn’t attend the event, their contribution was recognized. Stephen Wilson, the chair of Grenville-Mutual Insurance Association, a distinguished Partner with the IPM did attend and had this to say:

“More than anything else we value the profound relationship we foster in the farming community,” said Wilson. “2022 also marks 130 years of Grenville insuring farmers, businesses, and individuals in this area, which is why having this year’s IPM in our own backyard is exceptionally meaningful, and the reason why Grenville chose the theme “Celebrating 130 years of partnerships” as our theme for this year’s plowing match.”

Shannon Thompson, the North Grenville IPM’s director of special events could hardly contain her genuine excitement in being a part of the event.

“It really is truly a passionate effort. Many of our directors know each other from times before and different events, and when we met today with 600 of our closest friends, it truly shows how much of a team effort this is.

“Together we can achieve more and boy, as much as we are showcasing within the United Counties of Leeds-Grenville and hosted by North Grenville, our volunteers have no boundaries. They are coming from afar and they are joining together for this amazing event. It’s truly inspirational, it’s about the people,” she added.

“What better way to come out of that crazy pandemic than with our closest friends and neighbours. We have so many events going on at the match, there is truly something for everyone and the responses have been truly amazing.”

Some of the key attractions during the IPM include the Skyhawks, a Canadian Armed Forces parachute team that will perform on Wed., Sept. 21 at 2:00 p.m. (weather permitting).

The Canadian Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team will also be performing over five days in the RAM Coral. The group, which performs coordinated formations and precision movements on horseback are the only Canadians to ever have been invited to The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

There will be three days of RAM rodeo (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). The rodeo will include such activities as barrel-racing, bucking broncos and even bull riding. The Saturday event will include guest M/C Amber Marshall, who stars in the CBC television series Heartland.

Dermid O’Farrell, is chair of the board of the Kemptville College as well as director of local vendors at the IPM. He assured everyone that there would be lots of choice when it comes to food. “Everybody likes to eat, so it is important that you know that there are 22 food vendors or there abouts located in tented city.”

For those who may have limited mobility and wonder what the IPM has to offer for them, rest assured they have not been forgotten. There is accessibility parking as well as accessible toilets. There will also be a limited number of scooters available for rent (please call ahead) at 613-697- 5209 and attendees are also able to bring their own onto the property.

“There will also be an accessibility wagon that will be going around,” says Cassidy Reaney, director of marketing, “It won’t be on all of our roads; I believe it will be the exterior roads and the service roads and you’ll be able to get on and off of those and it is accessibility friendly.”

For more information on the 2022 International Plowing Match, visit their website at IPM2022Info@plowingmatch.org.