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Club Celebrated 50 years

Red River Apiarists' Association celebrated its' 50th Anniversary in 2013

RRAA Celebrates 50 Years

Jim Campbell, RRAA Executive Member

Ron Rudiak was honoured, late last April, at a 50th Anniversary Party, with over 40 guests attending.

During the Red River Apiarists’ Association 50th Anniversary Party, on Friday 26 April 2013, among the many guests recognized for their contributions, one person ranked high for enthusiasm. Ron Rudiak, Steinbach, has been a continuous member of the bee club since joining 1974. During this time, he held various executive positions throughout the past 35 years. His creativity is widely recognized in several gadgets and tools he either invented or adopted. Recognized for his passion and enthusiasm for the industry, Ron was presented with a Honourary Life Membership. Joined by his wife, Shirley, Ron expressed gratitude to the people and the organization.

John Russell, Celebrations Chair, talked briefly about the strength of the club as he welcomed everyone to the celebrations. John noted there were lots of door prizes to award during the evening.

Jim Campbell, one of the presenters and club historians, thanked several guests at the party. He reminisced about Anna Donkin, a long-serving member and founder of the club in 1963. Jim extended a “sweet” welcome to her daughter Phyllis Rodych, and granddaughter Maryanne Johannson, who were on hand for the celebrations. He also thanked Bee-Outfitter staff, Michael (Monique) Bergmann and Josh Kolesar for their service to the members. As well, Guy (Natalie) Chartier was appreciated for Bee Maid willingness to provide many tours of their facilities over the past years, as well as equipment for the annual Honey Shows. Jim went on to note the strength of the club has been in the men and women serving on the leadership teams, as well as many members volunteering their time.

Ken Rowes, Newsletter Editor, spoke about his relationship with many members over the past, since initially joining the club in 1968. He noted the club continues to provide helpful advice to newcomers getting into the hobby. Ken welcomed people to view the memorabilia corner where his original membership certificate was displayed.

Albert Anderson, a member since 1967, told stories from the past. One notable experience focused on package bees trucked from USA. The load of about 1500 packages suffered from heat exhaustion and all perished. Despite the club doing this to save members $0.50 a package, Bee Maid came through to bring in a new shipment to save the club reputation. Albert went on to describe setting a limit on his hives, as well as having to switch from nuc boxes to regular hive boxes to catch swarms.

Dr. Rob Currie, U of M, noted his continuing a tradition started by Dr. Cam Jay, an original advisor to the club. He continues to invite the Red River group to talk to students attending the Beginning Beekeeping course at U of M. Rob went on to describe his adventures at capturing a swarm, only to become well known at the local hospital as the “bee man”.

John Russell invited longstanding members Albert Anderson and Ron Rudiak, along with their spouses (Carol & Shirley), to pose for pictures with the anniversary cake. After a little kibitzing, the knife was eventually handed over to the ladies, who safely made the first cut into the cake.

Special guests serving as former executives and advisors included Albert (Carol) Anderson, Connie (Ed) Buss, Gilles (Zofie) Lantagne, Murray (Rhona) Porter, Alex Remkes, Ron (Shirley) Rudiak, Herb (Carol) Schon, Ted Schuneman, Margaret Smith, and Don Dixon, and Rhéal Lafrenière.

In closing out the evening, John Russell invited the current executive (John Speer, Ken Rowes, Art Quanbury, Armand St Hilaire, and Jim Campbell) to come to the front of the room. In a surprise move, John presented Jim Campbell with a Certificate of Appreciation for his service to the club. With that ceremony, the 50th Anniversary came to a fitting close, even though many others still wanted to reminisce about their memories of their time with the club.