Bishop honoured as IPM draws to close - Sept. 28, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The 100th International Plowing Match (IPM) came to an official end just before 5 p.m. on Saturday when closing ceremonies emcee Tom Melady officially declared the match as closed.
After a long, hot week that was not without its mammoth challenges, the closing ceremonies were full of emotion from a committee that had given its all for over five years to make the IPM in Walton a reality.
Chair Jacquie Bishop, who remained calm and measured in the face of massive adversity, including the tough decision to close the IPM on Sept. 20 due to the previous day’s heavy rains, received a standing ovation when she addressed the crowd.
She teared up when talking about her committee, who she insisted deserved just as much credit as she did. She brought them to the front of the stage so they could be recognized by those in attendance.
Bishop also thanked her family for all of their support over the past five years.
Kayla, Kabrina and Keshia, Jacquie and Kevin’s three daughters, also made a tear-filled presentation to their mother, handing her a bouquet of flowers and thanking her for being an inspiration to them in life with her hard work, patience and dedication. They also thanked members of various committees who had helped their mother over the course of her time as IPM chair.
Outgoing Queen of the Furrow, Anita Rastapkevicius, congratulated the committee and all of Huron County for executing a historic and memorable match in the face of adversity. She said that what she saw in Huron County and in Walton in particular transcended community and showed there was truly a family behind the 2017 IPM.
Jack Ryan, the mayor of Tented City and the patriarch of the host family, agreed, saying that the 2017 IPM was all about family and he couldn’t be more proud of the members of his family and of those who worked hard to make the match a reality.
Don Priest, president of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA), congratulated Huron County on hosting a great match and said that he felt change was on the horizon for the OPA, or at least it needed to be.
He said that while the IPM needs to be a money-maker for the OPA, the organization needs to focus less on making money and more on creating a great environment for a match and having a good time, which garnered a hearty round of applause.
The ceremonies concluded with a number of procedures that officially passed the torch to the 2018 IPM, which will be held in Chatham-Kent.
Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson passed on Canadian and Ontario flags, respectively, to Jean Laprise from the 2018 IPM committee and Jack Ryan passed on soil from the 2017 IPM site to Laprise, a tradition that began last year when Huron was given soil from the 2016 match in Wellington County.