The Rustico Cowboy is back in the saddle again.
Bruce Fuller, the founding proprietor and former co-owner of Rustico Farm &Cellars Estate Winery, best known for his wild west appearance,was recently elected to take the reigns as president of the Osoyoos-based Desert Park Exhibition Society.
Elected along with Fuller was an enthusiastic posse of nine deputies who aim to make the most of what its new president calls “a jewel in the community of Osoyoos, a green oasis in our desert community that we just don’t use enough.”
The Desert Park facilities include a full-feature racetrack and grandstand, barns and RV Park. The racetrack’s grassed interior supports community athletics — such as youth soccer and baseball — and is the perfect space for festival events as well.
“It’s pretty early for me to make a statement about what’s next, what we do,” said Fuller. “I mean we really need to develop revenue streams and there’s lots of cool things you can do on that property. “It’s a big property and it’s got a grandstand, after all it’s well located, lots of parking so as a venue it’s got lots going for it.”
Whether or not horse racing will return this year is still up in the air according to Fuller, there was only one race in 2016, but board members are pledging to do their best to have it again in 2017.
One very popular event which made its debut at the grounds last year, the medieval village complete with swordplay, jousting and feasting, will be back on the May long weekend.
Other tentative plans for the facility include an outdoor music festival and sporting events. The society is also contemplating unique shoulder and winter-season events for the Osoyoos community.
“I think that’s what they need there is marketing and promotion and I have a background in that. I think the potential is terrific and I need to sit with the board and do some brainstorming,” said Fuller. “You to have some passion for horses and some passion for the property and passion for the community and fortunately I have all those things.”
Other members of the board include vice president Paddy Head, treasurer Jeri Falk, Secretary Diana Anderson, media and marketing Andrew Stuckey and directors at large: Dr. Henry Kleinhofmeyer, Carol Youngberg, Dawn McCrae,Torsten Huebach and Sarren Wolfe.
Over 40 Desert park supporters attended the society’s annual general meeting March 8.