Hundreds of pieces of machinery could be found throughout the over 320 sprawling acres of the Ag in Motion farm show grounds this week, but one grain bagger stood out from the rest Thursday.
It wasn’t the 20-inch auger, the 10-foot bagger or the fresh paint job that drew attention. It was knowing that each cent of the purchase would end up in the hands of a family that has been forever changed by a tragedy.
Flaman Group of Companies has had a longstanding partnership with Colonsay’s Pro Grain Equipment (Arc Alloy). The two companies teamed up to sell a special edition B-2010 Bronco Grain Bagger at Ag in Motion as a way to help one of their own.
Shelley Matechuk works at Pro Grain Equipment, where the machine was made. Her son, Layne Matechuk, was one the Humboldt Broncos players hurt when the team’s bus crashed on April 6, killing 16 people and leaving 13 injured.
“(Pro Grain Equipment) decided we’d like to do something to help Layne’s family get through his tough time here,” Pro Grain general manager Vern Kirk said.
He said the project was a way for workers to use their skills to lend a hand.
“We thought of this idea because then everybody in the shop had a chance to pitch in and do what they can do to help Shelley.”
People were able to enter a draw to purchase the bagger, complete with Humboldt Broncos colours, logo and Layne’s number 28 above it. Beyond the paint job, the machine is also bears Matechuk’s number 28 as its serial number.
Jim Kelley, Flaman vice-president of sales, said the Matechuks were overwhelmed when they saw the bagger in person on Wednesday.
Kirk’s recollection of the reaction was a little different.
“Shelley told me to stop it. I keep making her cry,” he said with a chuckle.
The draw to buy the bagger was held Thursday and for a few moments, the Matechuk parents turned into the stars of Ag in Motion.
“The amount of people that came up to talk to them and wish them and Layne well, was awesome,” said Kelley. “It’s what Saskatchewan is all about.”
Kirk said the attention put into the special bagger revealed a level of productivity he didn’t think was possible.
“The extra care that was put into this has become the new standard,” said Kirk. “We have a little joke that Broncos colours look better than ours right now.”
Logan Sadawick from Colonsay was the lucky man picked to purchase the bagger, putting $36,500 directly in the Matechuk’s hands.
Kirk said knowing the bagger will stay near Pro Equipment’s home base made it all the more special for him and his team, and said the entire project had made this year’s Ag in Motion an unforgettable experience.
“Even when the decals fall off, that serial number will hold Layne’s number on it.”