It’s just two months out, but the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show is still a go, despite concerns about the ongoing pandemic.
The show, typically held every second year in Weyburn, may look different, but the organizers are doing their best to find a way to make it happen June 2-3, preceded by an exhibitors’ golf tournament on June 1.
Show chair Dan Cugnet said: “We’re meeting every week. We’ve submitted things to the city and to the provincial government.”
The Southeast Saskatchewan Oilman Award was announced on March 29, with Derrick Big Eagle, who is the president and CEO of Tomahawk Energy Services, selected for the honour. Big Eagle has enjoyed a lengthy career in the patch, as he has been the owner of such companies as Eagle II Trucking, Eagle Drilling and Cheveyo Energy.
He was previously selected as the Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year in 2013.
“I didn’t think anything would ever come around like that (an award),” said Big Eagle. “A person never shoots for anything like that, and I guess they must have liked progression.”
Big Eagle is always trying new things in the oilpatch.
He believes there would be a lot of worthy choices for the award.
“With all of the people that are still doing as good as they do in these times, and trying to keep their businesses running, for somebody to see that I stick out a little bit and give me this award, I don’t know what to say about it,” said Big Eagle.
In these times, everybody has been putting so much focus on keeping their businesses running and their employees and customers safe.
Tomahawk Energy was incorporated almost four years ago. The company has enjoyed slow and steady growth to reach the level it is at today.
“We’re still actually on the right path of where we were trying to get to in the very beginning,” he said.
Digital mapping services that the company provides have taken off.
They’re working for TC Energy (formerly TransCanada). Tomahawk has some great people on their staff, making Big Eagle’s work easier.
“The group is so into everything that we’re doing, and they’re excited, and it makes it easy for me when I’m wondering ‘Are we taking the right path?’ and ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ The feedback from the people, they can see the excitement, and they know it’s tough times, but I think what we’re trying to do is maybe a little different than most.”
A great group of Indigenous women is also working for the company.
Big Eagle hopes there will be people in attendance for the awards ceremony, and he recognizes it could be a virtual presentation. He’s honoured to have his name mentioned, and it means a lot to receive the award for the local oilfield workers.
The oil and gas show organizers have also announced the Southeast Saskatchewan Legends awards will go to Vi Day, Ken Lee, Norm “Pierre” Mondor, Ray Frehlick and Ron Carson.
The Saskatchewan Oilman of the Year and Saskatchewan Oil Patch Hall of Fame inductees have not yet been announced, as those awards are chosen by a separate board.
Also announced were the speakers for the event. Entrepreneur Brett Wilson and former premier Brad Wall are coming to speak on June 2, the day of the awards. Media personality Rex Murphy will be there on June 3.
Two years ago, Murphy spoke about how the oilpatch helped save the people of Newfoundland when that province was laid low by the collapse of the cod fishery. He also discussed the absolute necessity of the energy sector in our lives and nation.
Organizers are still working on dealing with the realities of the pandemic, adapting as required.
“We’re going to have everybody that’s attending pre-registered, so it’s not going to be people showing up at the gate,” Cugnet said. “Plans are currently fluid right now.”
Much of this depends on optimism for success in Saskatchewan’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and an easing of public health restrictions.