While some sceptics doubted the wisdom of holding CanWEA's annual conference in a rural community located three hours from the closest airport, the town of 3800 poured on the western hospitality to host an event that silenced the nay sayers. Dozens of volunteers manned the registration booth, provided shuttle services, ran errands, shucked corn, flipped pancakes, arranged accommodation and even billeted delegates unable to find a hotel room in Pincher Creek or one of five surrounding towns. Faced with the daunting task of feeding nearly 500 hungry delegates three square meals a day, local caterer Barry Carney even put the high school Home Economics class to work cooking and serving. Carney's efforts, not the least of which was his prime rib banquet dinner, earned him a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd.
Pincher Creek may be at the centre of Alberta's wind industry, but it is also at the heart of ranching country. Local barrel racers, bronc busters and bull riders, supported by a volunteer team of about 40, staged a rodeo that had delegates stomping and cheering between sips of beer and bites of beef and beans. Later, the bravest among them, although not necessarily the most proficient, lined up to play cowboy on a mechanical calf roping machine.