The Bentley & District Agricultural Society became the umbrella under which three primary groups came together for a summer weekend of fun, food, education and celebration for the whole community. The original Certificate of Organization was granted in March 1974 by the Minister of Agriculture. The summer weekend of fun, eventually became the Bentley and District Agricultural Society Town and Country Fair and Rodeo.
On August 7, 1963, a parade, organized by the Sunset Hills Riding Club (which was started on March 22, 1962) marched down the main street of Bentley. One unique feature was Mary Morison in full skirted riding habit, riding side-saddle on her horse Blackfoot. Every parade needs a “whip-cracking Parade Marshall. Barbara Anderson coached a young teenager, Joanne Butcher,(nee Baumbach) for the duty. She has kept many great parades organized and continues to do so today. A special feature of the Bentley Parade occurred when Gordon Gillard, with microphone in hand fixed a precarious perch on the roof of Martin’s Barber Shop to comment on each entry. The Riding Club also initiated an early morning, Pancake Breakfast to start the day’s events. To make sure the word spread far and wide, a truck mounted with speakers drove through Gull Lake Campground early in the morning, announcing the breakfast. Campers followed the truck back into town like the Pied Piper.
Then came the “Rodeo” in 1966, sponsored by the Bentley Elks on the Thursday and Friday evenings. The Elks committee for the rodeo included Gordon Gillard, Ken Olson and Harvey Haarstad, while Gimlet Rodeo Stock was contracted to provide stock. Grand Entries have been performed over the years, including “Strike Force”, a ladies horseback group organized and led by Tina Wasik. Later the group’s name changed to “Sunset Riders, and Lola Jaffray took charge.
Needed was a “Town and Country Fair” to fill in the space for the afternoon. A meeting was organized by Ken Bargholz. Gerry Wynnia the Ag rep from Lacombe served as a resource person. Committees of volunteers organized the Bench Shows. Every local organization, service club and church group sponsored an event or activity.