The first Rotary Exhibition Park Scholar was announced on Thursday, February 28, 2019.  Lauren Machacek was the first recipient of the $10,000 Rotary Exhibition Park Ag Scholarship.  The entire sold out crowd of 182 people was in awe at Lauren's accomplishments, stage presence, sincerity and passion for agriculture.  Everyone present felt that the Ag Scholarship committee had selected an amazing young person who will be an outstanding advocate for southern Alberta agriculture now and in the future.  
Rudy Friesen and Wayne Lindwall presenting a cheque for $10,000 to Ag Scholar Lauren Machacek
Trevor Panczak and Ed entertaining during the reception.
Heritage Hall, Exhibition Park was an inviting place on a cold February evening. 
Place setting featuring a card with Lynn Gregson's painting on it.
Lauren Machacek made an amazing thank you speech.
John Perlich auctioneer assisted by MC Bonnie Farries and Bev Lanz with the Lynn Gregson painting.
Steven Koeckhoven, Nutrien made a very informative and entertaining presentation.
A very attentive crowd listen and learned.
Rotary Club of Lethbridge East and the Lethbridge Exhibition Park are looking forward to next year's Ag Scholarship Dinner.  We hope to see you there!
The evening started off with a reception featuring the music of Trevor Panczak.  This was followed by a delicious prime rib buffet with endless amounts of salads and desserts.  Bonnie Farries of the Lethbridge College did a commendable job of MC for this exciting evening.  Wayne Lindwall from the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East introduced Lauren with a heartfelt speech about the background of this scholarship, the number of worthy candidates for this award and Lauren's amazing accomplishments in 4 H, in academics, in community service and all her pursuits in her busy 22 years.  Lauren's acceptance and thank you speech moistened many eyes in the crowd.  Lauren graciously accepted the $10,000 scholarship and acknowledged the responsibility that she was undertaking as the first recipient of this prestigious award.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the auction of a Lynn Gregson painting.  Lynn is a member of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East and a well know Lethbridge artist.  Lynn with help from her grandson, Courteney painted a beautiful Southern Alberta agricultural scene.  This painting was used as part of the theme for the evening and the painting even appeared on the wine bottles.  Lynn's beautiful painting was sold to Ryan Kasko, Kasko Cattle Co. Ltd., Coaldale, AB.  Thank you Ryan for your generous support.   There were many of us that wished we had the painting on our wall but we just didn't bid high enough.  
The speaker for the evening was Steven Koeckhoven who is the Market Research Manager for Nutrien, the largest fertilizer company in the world.  Steven is living proof of the value of education in agriculture careers.  Steven grew up on a dairy farm in north of Edmonton.  Steven's education includes a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from University of Alberta and an MBA from the Ivy School of Business, University of Western Ontario.  Steven started his presentation with humorous stories about growing up on the farm and going off to university.  He recapped the family history of buying a dairy farm, expanding it, selling that farm and then purchasing a grain farm in Saskatchewan.  His family now farms 5,000 acres in Southern Eastern Saskatchewan.  Steven then went on to describe some of the very big picture international facts, figures and events that are shaping agriculture world wide and on the Prairies.  Steven finished up his very informative and entertaining presentation with examples of real-life decision making using actual facts and figures from their farm in Saskatchewan.  
The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East would like to thank the Lethbridge Exhibition Park for being tremendous partners in this event.  We look forward to the second annual Rotary Exhibition Ag Scholarship Dinner.  And, none of this would be possible without the generous support of our founding sponsors:  Agility Program, University of Lethbridge, Allied Marketing Group, Perlich Brothers Auction, Rocky Mountain Equipment, Vitality Clinic-EECP, Viterra, Country 95.5 FM, Lethbridge Herald.  Thank you very much sponsors!