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Source: The Western Producer news release

Rob O'Connor is leaving his position as manager of Canada's Farm Progress Show in Regina to become general manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba in Brandon.

He leaves Regina at the end of January after 10 years as show manager and takes over in Brandon Feb. 17.

"I really still have that great passion for the livestock and equine industry, so that's a very large part of Manitoba's provincial exhibition, and I think what I've learned from farm show and the successes we've had over the last decade with the show, if I can duplicate that in Brandon, it will be a good thing," he said.

He will be responsible for three major shows in Brandon - the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, the Manitoba Summer Fair and the Manitoba Livestock Expo - as well as a community fundraising event and many smaller events. This will be a different situation from the one signature event he managed in Regina.

He, his wife, Dawn, and two young daughters operate a purebred Hereford business southeast of Regina at Vibank. The first of 90 expected calves arrived just as reporters were calling him for comments on his job change.

"We're going to still operate the farm here in Vibank. In the meantime, my father is flying out (from Ontario) and he's going to look after the cows."

The family is unlikely to sell the farm. O'Connor was raised in Kisbey, Sask., and then Ontario. He and Dawn bought the Vibank farm when they moved back to the province in 2001 and took what he calls an aggressive stance on their mortgage.

O'Connor said he likes change, which was a constant at Farm Progress. His stamp will still be on the 2014 show, however, as the show floor plan will be complete by the end of this month.

"I hope that I can take the relationships that I built at the farm show, especially in Manitoba, with me to Brandon and keep promoting the grains and oilseeds sector in some manner," he said.

Karen Oliver, the current manager in Brandon, is staying on with the organization in a new role overseeing the Display Building No. II project. The outside restoration of the 1913 heritage building has been done and now the inside must be completed.

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