Red River Exhibition increases security budget after 2022 shooting

Red River Exhibition organizers say security is ramping up in a big way after a 2022 shooting that injured two, stressing the long-standing summer event is still safe. Morgan Modjeski reports.

The Red River Exhibition is ramping up security after a shooting last year injured a teenage carnival worker, and another child. Organizers say people should feel safe at the long-standing summer tradition that opens this weekend.

“It’s a very expensive endeavour: security. But tightening this up significantly is a way that we can ensure the public that there is absolutely nothing that’s going to happen here and this is going to be a fun, family-friendly event,” explained the CEO of the Red River Exhibition, Garth Rogerson.

“Because we have such a large audience, we’re like a small city here and with such a large property – almost 200 acres now – so it’s very difficult to police, so we have to really think differently now, because things are different than they were, even five, three years ago.”

Garth Rogerson, CEO of the Red River Ex., says they’ve beefed up security in a big way for the 2023 event. (Photo Credit: James Rinn, CityNews)

Rogerson says random pat downs, bag searches, constantly monitored camera towers and body cameras are just some of the new safety features introduced at this year’s exhibition. The security budget almost doubled – from $150,000 prior to the shooting last year – to $250,000 ahead of the 2023 event.

“There’s no more important job than keeping people safe, so this is our highest priority and we’re spending a significant amount of time working on that.”


The shooting on June 20, 2022, involved a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old, who were shot on the exhibition grounds. Three teenagers were charged in connection to the incident, which Rogerson says left the entire community “devastated.”

He says it was the first time the Ex saw this type of attack, and that the pandemic put policies like pat downs on hold, but that won’t be the case this year.

“Sometimes I laugh that it’s almost tighter security here than at the airport, but we have to do that, right? To make sure we keep that contraband out.”

Crazy Mouse is just one of the many rides Exhibition patrons can take in this year. (Photo Credit: James Rinn, CityNews)

Rogerson says the Exhibition Grounds will also be double fenced to ensure people are unable to sneak into the event, and says security cameras at the gate will capture everyone who is entering the grounds on video.

Safety consultants have contributed to the security plan, determining best locations of security guards. Organizers have also been in communication with Winnipeg Police Service, the event representing a microcosm of the city itself.

“I would say because of the audience, I would say we’re kind of a mirror of Winnipeg, so if things are happening in Winnipeg, they could potentially happen here, and we’re not going to allow that,” said Rogerson.

For those concerned about privacy while attending the event, recordings will be reset every 24 hours if there are no incidents, with footage deleted unless otherwise required.

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