The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba has hired Mark Humphries as the new General Manager. The announcement came at the end of July.
Humphries sees this as a wonderful opportunity to make use of his experience. He says, “It is truly an honour to be joining this prestigious and cherished organization as General Manager.”
This new job should suit Mark. He and his wife Jill have worked together owning farms in France and the United Kingdom and for 15 years, now at Westwood Ranch Garden Centre between Kola and Elkhorn.
In their British homeland Mark, a musician with a background in entertainment met and married Jill, a farmer with a pedigreed Friesian dairy.
“In early days when we first met… I was a musician,” says Mark. “From clean and tidy and wearing bow ties and dinner jackets, I suddenly got dirty very quickly.”
Humphries is upbeat as he discusses his new role. Brandon Fair, as it is often referred to, features a huge agricultural display, attracting Manitoba families where youth, in particular, gain up-close knowledge of farm animals and agricultural production.
The Provincial Exhibition, featuring cattle shows and horse competitions and a commercial display incorporates comedy, music, and much more. It’s a signature Manitoba event.
“It’s got the smattering of the entertainment industry side… and we've certainly got our foot in the door as far as the agricultural and farming side. I've had a tourist destination; it ticks the boxes there. It literally was a great fit. So, when it came along, it was one of those that you couldn't really resist.”
Jill Humphries brings both depth and breadth in the equine industry and Mark says her proficiency “is partly responsible for me being able to even think about the job.”
Jill ran one of the largest riding schools and boarding facilities in the north of England. She was also a competitor on the jumping circuit alongside the best. In Canada, she has kept her hand in. Mark says, “She's well enroute to becoming a fully fledged Equestrian Canada judge.”
Kathy Cleaver, President of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba is looking forward to Humphries’ arrival and says, “His energy, enthusiasm and regional experience is a great asset for us. Our Board of Directors and I have no doubt that Mark will do a great job as part of the Provincial Ex team.”
Humphries begins work in September, filling the position left vacant when former manager Ron Kristjansson retired in June of 2020. He will oversee day-to-day operations, working within the policies and budgets, and providing leadership to employees of the non-profit organization.
While Westwood Ranch Garden Centre is listed for sale, Humphries says they aren’t looking to leave the area. “We have all of our friends here, and we have all our contacts here, and they make you feel welcome in the area. And we like where we are.”