WCTA Conference Sets River Rock Attendance Record

By Jerry Rousseau
March 8, 2023

After a three-year hiatus, it was good to be back live and in-person at the River Rock Casino Resort for the 59th Annual Western Canada Turfgrass Association Conference and Trade Show!

With the decibel level peaking at both the President’s and Trade Show receptions, it’s probably not surprising for those who were in attendance to learn that a new River Rock record was set with 364 turf managers registered and 537 turf management industry colleagues in total gathering at this unique Richmond, British Columbia venue.

With that and on behalf of the WCTA Board of Directors and Members, I would like to thank all those who helped make our event so successful!  The dust has now (mostly) settled and we are ready to share results:

•  364 professional turf management delegates were in attendance and in total, 537 total professional turf management industry personnel participated versus previous best of 360 and 533 respectively in 2020.
•  The trade show sold out once again with 51 companies (8 new) taking 59 booths plus 5 participating sponsors.
•  Hotel pickups came in at 359 room nights, well over our 260 room block!
•  Far better than 2020’s performance of $6,177, our Silent Auction raised $8,049!  Thanks to all the contributors and bid winners for supporting and remember, this money is directed toward turf research projects that help support the turf management industry.

Much post-production work remains and it will be several weeks before we have final financials but I can report gross revenue has also set a River Rock record and was the highest overall for any conference since 2009.  That said, we’re seeing cost increases of 15-48% over 2020 but after 2 years of no conference revenue at all, it is looking like a solid financial performance as well!

Why is this important?  As part of the professional golf and sportsfield management industry, you should know a successful event helps drive the association financially, enabling education and networking opportunities, a variety of member services, providing funds for turf research that helps ensure our chances of a sustainable future, the ability to lobby government and advocate for our industry and much more.  It is especially indicative of a strong and successful industry in the overall, something we’re happy to be part of.

Looking ahead, our milestone 60th Anniversary Conference and Trade Show is in the planning stages.  Timing will be either 2nd or 3rd week of February 2024 however a location has not yet been decided and while we get a lot of great suggestions, there are only so many venues that work for our show, ie. large enough trade show space and ballrooms, all under one roof, among other things.  

Feel free to send me an email to let our Board know what you think about these possibilities for 2024:

•  River Rock Casino Resort
•  Richmond Conference Centre
•  Penticton Trade & Convention Centre
•  Penticton Lakeside Hotel & Conference Centre
•  Whistler Convention Centre
•  Vancouver Island Convention Centre (Nanaimo)
•  Victoria Conference Centre & Empress Hotel

All the best throughout the upcoming season and as always, feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.  

Jerry Rousseau
Executive Director
Western Canada Turfgrass Association