ENMAX Park development is underway

ENMAX Park development has been underway since the end of Stampede 2014. What used to be gravel parking lots and storage facilities is on its way to becoming a new green space for the public to enjoy.

To develop to space from what was called “brown space” to “green space” is a fairly large undertaking with a price tag of $15 million. Included in this transformation is a pedestrian bridge able to withstand a flood-level river, burying electrical pylons underground to enhance the aesthetics of the river park and relocating Indian Village to the new space which will provide the Treaty Seven First Nations triple the space they now have. The new Indian Village will include a 6,200sq. ft. refurbished  administrative building along with a new performance stage.

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The Park will be a beautiful place to enjoy family gatherings, festivals or bike riding or riverfront walks. More than 200 trees are being planted along with 800 shrubs to enhance the space.

As the Park is built, the main river pathway has been closed. The Calgary Stampede has created a bypass pathway that is currently being used and will continue until the Park is completed. Once the Park is completed, the bypass pathway is only scheduled to be used during Stampede time when the Park is programmed for Stampede.

ENMAX Park is scheduled to be completed for Stampede 2016.

Stampede Champions represented well at NFR

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There’s no doubt about it – Calgary Stampede 2014 Bareback Champion Kaycee Feiold is having a great year! He not only took the title and $100,000 cheque at our Stampede in July, but he finished the WNFR with his fourth consecutive world champion title. Last year’s third-in-a-row championship broke the record, but Kaycee seems nowhere near slowing down in his dominance of the sport.

The Stampede looks forward to seeing him back again in 2015 to test his winning streak.

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In the Ladies Barrel Racing, CS 2014 champ Kaley Bass rocketed to the top of the world standings post-Stampede going into the WNFR. She performed well yet dropped in the standings to third place by the end. She was under tremendous pressure from World Champion Fallon Taylor and second placed Lisa Lockhart, who finished third and fourth respectively in the Top Gun standings in their neck-and-neck battle throughout the NFR’s 10 rounds.

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Steer Wrestling Stampede 2014 Champion Trevor Knowles ended his NFR as number six in the world rankings. Trevor placed in the money in four of the 10 rounds, and posted times in nine of the ten rounds to finish in 10th place of the go-round average.

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Canadian-based Dustin Flundra, Stampede’s reigning saddle bronc champion, went into the NFR ranked 15th and had a decent run, placing in the money in four go-rounds to end his NFR and year ranked 12th in the world.

Looking forward to seeing these Stampede champions back in Calgary next July to defend their titles, and looking forward to providing a warm western welcome to some new faces that topped the standings after the NFR.

Half of Stampede Stock in the money at NFR

The dust has settled on another Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas, and the cowboys and their horses are all home-ward bound, turning their thoughts to the holiday season and coming year.

The Calgary Stampede travelled to Vegas with a pen of 14 top horse stars, and are riding home with their heads held high boasting a great performance record. Half of our horses – seven in all – had great go-round match-ups with top cowboys, bucking and boosting their riders into the nightly earnings.

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Mata Fact (seen in PRCA video recap HERE) teamed up with newly-crowned WNFR Saddle Bronc Champion Spencer Wright during the fourth round to take first place and the stock award. The ride was indicative of Spencer’s entire NFR experience – his first time qualifying. Spencer accumulated $145,000 in earnings throughout ten rides, placing him second in the overall Top Gun Award for NFR money.

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Here’s the break-down of finishes for Stampede horses throughout the 10 rounds:

#1  – SB – Mata Fact  with Spencer Wright, Round 4 – 84 points

#2 – BB – Turkish Whiskey  with  Bobby Mote,  Round 6 Reride – 83 points

#2 – SB – Lynx Mountain with Jacobs Crawley, Round 10 – 83 points

#3 – BB – Trail Dust with Justin McDaniel, Round 5 – 86 points

#4 – BB – Soap Bubbles with Tilden Hooper, Round 8 – 81.50 points

#5 -  BB – Simply Marvellous with Taos Muncy, Round 4 – 76.50 points

#6 – SB – Stampede Warrior with Jake Writer, Round 10 – 78 points

The Ultimate Cowboy Rodeo – family-friendly New Year’s Eve

It’s the eternal struggle – you’d like to make a big bang for New Years Eve, but how to do it… Fancy or comfortable? An outdoor kids’ event or adult toast at midnight? Scramble for a sitter or beg the grandparents? Dance or mingle? Whole-family house party or maintain your house and sanity? Something cool enough for teenagers or another night of pizza and video games?

Sigh. It’s enough to take the fun out of the big night.

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Well, now a new-to-Calgary event putting the YAHOO back into New Years Eve! The Ultimate Cowboy Rodeo and cabaret at Stampede Park’s new Agrium Western Event Centre is the solution for every dilemma.

Dust off your cowboy boots, get comfortable in your jeans and start a new tradition for the big night, one that makes it easy and affordable – and warm! – for everyone to enjoy the special night together. The Ultimate Cowboy Rodeo and Cabaret is an all-ages event that appeals to everyone from critter-crazy tots to adrenalin-junkie teens to heritage-loving grandparents, plus you can raise your glass at midnight with all your friends and even practice a bit of two-stepping.

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The Ultimate Cowboy Rodeo features some of the most versatile rodeo cowboys in the business. What makes it unique – and unpredictable – is that each cowboy competes in each of the five major rodeo events. Saddle bronc… bareback… bull riding… tie-down roping… steer wrestling.

Each of these events takes entirely different skills sets and talents, making for an entirely unpredictable evening full of potential bloopers and good-natured ribbing amongst the cowboys. Ever seen a burly steer-wrestler try staying on a bucking bull? Or a bareback rider trying his hand at tie-down roping?

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Even a top cowboy like Stephen Turner (above), a champion bull rider who also competes in steer wrestling, can encounter troubles when venturing into new territory. At last year’s Ultimate Cowboy Rodeo in Ponoka, Steven made great rides on bucking bulls and horses, only to get the buck-off of the night, courtesy of his buddy’s roping horse. Check out the video HERE.

The rodeo starts at 8:45 p.m., wrapping up in time for the crowd to enjoy some mingling and cabaret music before the big moment around midnight when the Ultimate Cowboy is crowned and the midnight celebrations continues. Learn more at their WEBSITE.

Prices at Ticketmaster are family-friendly as well: $19 for youth and $25 for adults if purchased before December 25. Prices rise to $35 after that and at the door, still a bargain for an indoors New Years’ Eve full of entertainment.

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Happy holidays, and wishing you a very WESTERN welcome to your New Year. Yahoo!!

Lovers of low brass celebrate Calgary’s Tuba Fest!

We’re all about that bass! In just three days, musicians in our community will gather to celebrate the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument for Calgary’s seventh annual holiday Tuba Fest. If you love music, then break out your tuba and ugly Christmas sweater – this event is for you!

Celebrated internationally throughout the year, Tuba Fest gives low brass enthusiasts of all levels the opportunity to learn and play music specially arranged for the tuba alongside professional musicians. Calgary’s Tuba Fest is organized by Nathan Gingrich, the music teacher at William Aberhart High School, and is sponsored by local music organizations and businesses including the Calgary Stampede Showband, St. John’s Music, Music Makes Us: Coalition for Music Education, Calgary Arts Development, Long & McQuade, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and The City of Calgary. The festivities of Tuba Fest will culminate in a joint performance that is open to the public with the Foothills Brass Quintet.

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Tuba, euphonium, and baritone players are invited to participate in this fun holiday event on Saturday, December 13. Registration is FREE with a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. Full details are available on the Showband’s Facebook page, but here’s the most important information:

  • Registration starts at 9:30am at Hope Lutheran Church and rehearsal begins at 10:00am. There will be a break at 12:00pm.
  • Music can be downloaded at http://musicmakesus.ca/celebrate/tubafest
  • Musicians need to bring their own instruments and music stands.
  • Dress festively!
  • You’ll get a free Tuba Fest t-shirt!

If you don’t play the tuba, but appreciate great holiday music and are looking for an affordable way to spend your Saturday afternoon, join us for the concert with Foothills Brass at 2:00pm at Hope Lutheran Church. Tickets will be available at the door (pay what you can). We hope to see you there!

“Rocket Brothers” Barebacks place 2, 3 in rounds 5, 6

Two more exciting NFR performances down, two more Calgary Stampede bucking horses holding their heads high….

Following up on the heels of Mata Fact’s round-winning first placed finish in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo paired up with saddle bronc rider Spencer Wright, round five kicked off with the bareback event Monday night.

Trail Dust

Justin McDaniel, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Oklahoma, matched up with the Stampede gelding Trail Dust (shown above during Stampede 2014). The two bucked out a strong ride for an 86-point score to place third. Justin was a great match for Trail Dust, since this seasoned cowboy has been on a roll all through the NFR, placing in the money in four of the six rounds to date.

Turkish Whiskey

Round five on Tuesday night was even a step better for Stampede stock, again in the opening bareback event. Turkish Whiskey (above during CS 2014) stepped into the chutes full of fire to be paired up with Bobby Mote, a  four-time world champion, 14-time NFR qualifier, and known as one of the most consistent cowboys in the game.

When the dust settled, Turkish Whiskey and Mote scored a 83-point ride, good for second place behind 86-point Austin Floss.

Both Turkish Whiskey and Trail Dust are eight-year-old geldings, half-brothers born from one of Stampede’s prime studs, Majestic Rocket. Turkish Whiskey takes his name from his mother, mare Sour Whiskey, while Trail Dust’s name reflects his mother, mare Dairy Dust. Both of these talented young bucks have been to the Canadian Finals Rodeo before in their rising careers, but this is their first time qualifying for the NFR.

Looking for more great things from these Rocket babies in the years to come!

It’s a fact! Mata Fact wins WNFR buckle

Even amongst the world’s elite bucking horses, Calgary Stampede Ranch’s bucking horses stand hoof to hoof with the best of the best.

NFRbuckleround4MataFact

Mata Fact proved that last night during the fourth performance at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Sunday night in Las Vegas. This 12-year-old mare was matched up with 24-year-old Spencer Wright from Utah, the youngest of a trio of three Wright brothers at the NFR in the saddle bronc competition.

This marks Spencer’s first trip to the NFR, and he’s shown incredible consistency in the opening rounds – placing in the money each night, including the 2/3 split in round three.

But there’s nothing like a cowboy’s first go-round buckle at the NFR, and Mata Fact delivered that Sunday night.

matafactrearNFR

Rearing up out of the chutes off the start (check it out on the PRCA’s Youtube Highlights Reel) Mata Fact drew cheers from the audience, and she just grew more and  more powerful from there. Her heels high up over her head, she shifted into a strong bucking pattern with a bit of a side-step, then looped around to the left without missing a beat.

When the dust settled, the judges awarded the pair of Spencer and Mata Fact a total of 84 points - the top score of the night - earning Spencer his first go-round buckle and the saddle bronc buckle for the Calgary Stampede.

Mata Fact has more in common with Spencer than just a great score. She also has a lot of star siblings at the NFR, too, since her sire is the legendary Stampede bareback 6-time world champion Grated Coconut, from a pairing with mare Rattled Mata. Most other champion buckers at the NFR from the Stampede are also offspring of “The Grate One.”

The Stampede is looking for more impressive rides tonight, when four more star horses are on the roster, including one of the top anticipated match-ups of the NFR to date:

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(Above) Stampede Warrior and Cody DeMoss shatter the arena record at Rodeo Houston. Photo courtesy Rodeo Houston.

All eyes will be on the saddle bronc pairing of Cody DeMoss with Stampede Warrior – a match-up that scored a record 94-point ride in Houston earlier this spring, (read more HERE). Spencer’s brother Jake Wright will climb aboard Stampede Warrior’s half-brother, stallion Timely Delivery, to offer up some strong competition in the saddle bronc event as well.

The world’s number three-ranked bareback horse, Stampede stallion Special Delivery  is expected to draw a lot of attention in the bareback event and give cowboy Will Lowe a good shot at the go-round buckle, while another Stampede star, Trail Dust, is paired up in a great match-up with Justin McDaniel.

Yahoo to more great Stampede rides lighting up the arena in Vegas!

Stampede Queen finds holiday spirit at Grey Cup

Hello! I am writing this after a fabulous trip to Vancouver thanks to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee. I had never visited Vancouver or been to the Grey Cup festival before, so now I can cross both off of my bucket list.

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One of my favourite memories from Grey Cup was helping out at the pancake breakfasts and seeing just how many different people had gathered together to enjoy some Chuckwagon Flapjacks and sausages.

There were people there from all walks of life; men and women in business suits, avid football fans from all over the country, local Vancouverites just on their way to work or school, visitors from the different countries, people who were down on their luck and otherwise might not have eaten that day, volunteers from other festival stations, media personal, the list really could go on and on. I had the opportunity to talk with many of them and listen to their stories. While most of the people there were very different from one another it was an awesome experience to see everyone come together and enjoy a meal together.

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How great would it be if something like this could happen more often? If people would cast aside their differences for a few hours each day and just enjoy each other’s company? My bet is that a lot of problems would be solved and that the fights that lead to wars would never start.

With the holiday season already upon us, it seems like the perfect time of year to put aside our differences and get to know one another. Now, I’m not suggesting you invite the entire neighbourhood over for a holiday meal (but by all means, if you would like to, go for it!), but maybe start small. Smile at a stranger passing by, or when you’re waiting in line at a busy store start a conversation with the person next to you. If that seems too hard to do, maybe just be extra patient with the cashier or store clerk, understanding that they are incredibly busy this time of year.

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Whatever you do, keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be a special occasion like Grey Cup, the Holidays, or Stampede for people from all walks of life to come together and have a good time. We live in such an interconnected world that it could happen every day.

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In the words of the late Bil Keane, creator of the Family Circus comic;

“ Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present”.

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season, however you choose to celebrate, and from the bottom of my heart I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Love,

Queen Mick

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Your chance to bring great art to Stampede Park

We are excited to announce an open call to artists for the first public art installation in ENMAX Park. The park will offer the community new year-round places to gather on Stampede Park. The submission deadline is 4 p.m. (MT) on Monday, January 05, 2015, and the project has a budget of $200,000 CAD. For an overview of the project, please visit the Public Art Committee website; for specific details, please read the official RFP.

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Public art serves to spark conversation, engage the community and shape the environment. Cities throughout the world rely on public art to create landmarks and present meaningful cultural environments for locals and tourists alike. Pieces can interpret or memorialize the past, like the cenotaph at Central Memorial Park, or be interpretations of a theme, like Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do, by Joe Fafard in the Calgary Court Centre park (pictured above).

At the Calgary Stampede, the Public Art committee oversees the implementation of art on Stampede Park. From historic murals to “By the Banks of the Bow,” which features 15 horses and two riders crossing the river, the committee is dedicated to telling the stories of and celebrating western heritage. We are proud to place a key role in ensuring Stampede Park is truly a year-round gathering place for the community.

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George Brookman, past president of the Stampede, introduced the public art program by saying that “public art helps us remember our past, honour our ideals, express our shared values and give voice to our future aspirations.” It is this spirit that characterizes the Public Art committee and our vision of the role of public art both on and off Stampede Park.

Below is a rendering of the Heritage Walk Corridor that shows the location of the art pieces.

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Stampede horses to rock and roll Vegas

As the continent’s rodeo community and the world’s best cowboys converge on Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo, the Calgary Stampede’s top horses are ready and waiting to give them the ride of their life. A total of 14 Stampede rough stock horses have been selected to compete at the biggest indoor rodeo in the world. They have been camped out nearby for more than a week, acclimatizing and resting up for their moment to shine under the big city lights.

Six Stampede horses have made it in the Bareback event:

  • S-83 Special Delivery
  • S-77 Soap Bubbles
  • T-25 Turkish Whisky
  • T-19 Tootsie Roll
  • T-25 Trail Dust
  • T-17 Twin Cherry

Eight Stampede horses were selected for the Saddle Bronc competition:

  • S-66 Stampede Warrior
  • T-65 Tiger Warrior
  • L-40 Lynx Mountain
  • M-64 Mata Fact
  • T-38 Timely Delivery
  • S-3 Simply Marvellous
  • U-1 Until Kamloops
  • S-91 Shoshone Mountain

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The National Finals Rodeo is where world champions are made, and where horses are also crowned world champions. Most of the Stampede horses showcased at this year’s NFR are the offspring of the world’s most successful bucking horse ever – the legendary Grated Coconut (picture above), who was a six-time world champion and six-time Canadian champion bareback horse, plus winning virtually all major rodeo titles in the course of his 10-year career.

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Special Delivery  (above) is following closely in his famous daddy’s hoofmarks, being named the number three bareback horse of the year by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) this year. This spirited stallion, mothered by many-time CFR and NFR qualifier Zippy Delivery, has already been named the champion Bareback Horse of Canada in 2012, and the runner-up as Bareback Horses of the CFR this year after a great pair of performances at CFR earlier in November. Special Delivery was also named Bareback Horse of the San Antonio Rodeo this spring, winning Steven Peebles the championship title. His full brother, gelding Timely Delivery, will also serve up some challenging rides in the saddle bronc event at the CFR.

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The “Delivery” brothers’ half-siblings Tiger Warrior (picture above) and Stampede Warrior – also sired by Grated Coconut but by famous bucking horse Fearless Warrior – are two more strong contenders to watch during the NFR. Tiger Warrior’s star is rising after two incredible round-winning performances at CFR 2014 that earned him the Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR runner-up spot.

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His full sister and fellow saddle bronc – Stampede Warrior (above) –captured the attention and fascination of the American rodeo world earlier this season, earning herself a reputation as a champion-maker. Stampede Warrior set an astound 94-point arena record in Houston early in the season with Cody DeMoss, then helped Wade Sundell earned a $100,000 pay day during the inaugural All American Rodeo in Arlington, Texas. Read more HERE on Stampede Warrior’s record-setting rides.

For more information on which NFR performances will featured Stampede horses, check out the Stock Roster.

 

2014 Rotary Dream Home presentation

Today was a day when the surreal became real for the 2014 Rotary Dream Home Winner, Carol Pentland, as she was presented with the keys to her new home! Shown here with Rick Kuzyk, Calgary Stampede Lotteries Chair (left), and Avi Amir, Chairman of Homes by Avi at the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

 

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This house truly is a centrepiece of our lotteries program, and here we are, twenty-six days away from Christmas, and we’re making Christmas come early this year!” exclaims Rick Kuzyk.

 

With the house re-assembled after being carefully taken apart and rebuilt on the foundation where the home now sits in the southeast community of Walden, Carol and her family are looking forward to moving in shortly in order to be settled for Christmas.

 

Some of the features of this year’s home are as follows:

  • an entertaining focused main floor anchored by a large kitchen / dining area, 

  • 2 outdoor sitting areas,

  • a rooftop vegetable garden,

  • a spa-like ensuite,

  • a large walk-in with in-closet laundry, and

  • a Jack-and-Jill ensuite for the secondary bedrooms

The primary exterior cladding for this year’s Dreamhome is James Hardie Fibre Cement Siding.  This home will utilize Hardie’s Select Cedarmill ColourPlus Lap Siding, as well as pre-finished Straight Edge Panel HardieShingle, pre-finished Smooth HardiPanel, and pre-finished HardieTrim and battens. 

 

Secondary exterior cladding materials include natural wood horizontal siding, finished with a Charcoal Solid Stain, and painted smartboard trim and trellises.

 

Windows in this year’s home will be provided by Plygem, utilizing their Fusion line of PVC windows with metal clad exterior frames.

 

This year’s home features 2 outdoor living areas on the upper floor, one featuring planting beds for a garden, while the other features and outdoor fireplace to take the edge off cool evenings.

 

Did you know about these extras also included?

 

  • Also included with the Dreamhome is a furniture move by AMJ Campbell to a maximum value of $15,000.00

  • Home insurance by Godfrey Morrow for 1 year, a value of $1,500

  • A playhouse supplied by Blue Grass Ltd. with a value of $7,500.00 which includes $1,500.00 for installation

 

Stampede renews Purpose and Vision

Earlier this month, the Calgary Stampede took a pen (red of course!) to our purpose and vision statements.

The changes were made after close evaluation with internal stakeholders and members of our highly-valued external audience.

We wanted to know: What does the Stampede mean to people? Do our most important words align with what we actually do and where we are headed?

Across all audiences, it was agreed the Calgary Stampede generates a powerful emotional connection with all audiences, rooted largely in the exceptional experiences we deliver. But some updates were required to align our purpose with these benefits and connections.

Our former purpose statement, “to preserve and promote western heritage and values,” now reads “to preserve and celebrate our western heritage, cultures and community spirit.”

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The purpose statement aligns with the experiences stakeholders have interacting with the brand year round and incorporates the spirit of the world-renowned, community-focused event that has captivated Calgarians for more than a century. It incorporates the sense of celebration, fun and community spirit that makes the Stampede so unique.

The new vision statement also incorporates the Stampede’s important connections to the community.

The statement, formerly “to create a world-class year-round gathering place”, now reads “to create a world-class year-round gathering place for the community.”

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Our research confirmed that the term “world-class” is important to internal and external stakeholders. It sets high expectations for the Stampede organization to continually raise the bar, deliver exceptional experiences and attract global audiences.

With the purpose and vision statement clarified, we took a closer look at the Stampede’s core values.

  • Western hospitality is personified by the Stampede family going the extra step to show spirit and warmth to all of our guests.
  • Stampede Park is a special place and development plans show our pride of place is alive and well for the next 100 years.
  • Commitment to community drives Stampede’s reinvestment of all profits into youth programs, education, culture, facilities and programming.
  • And, finally, here at the Stampede we strive to do the right thing and build trusted relationship where ‘our word is our bond’ – that is what we mean when we talk about integrity.

Our focus groups felt these statements accurately reflect what the Calgary Stampede values and recommended that we add more context to demonstrate how the organization embodies them.

We will continue to build our relationship with the community and to create space for education, western events, community and world-class entertainment and experiences. We are proud of the Stampede legacy and excited for what the future holds.

Please watch Saddlebag for more examples of our purpose, vision and values in action.

Life after winning the 2014 Stampede Talent Search is “one good thing after another” for our Champion Layten Kramer

For many young performers, becoming a Stampede Talent Search contestant is an incredible stepping-stone that propels them on to exciting careers. Our 2014 Champion, Layten Kramer, is no exception.

Since captivating audiences on our stage during the 2014 Calgary Stampede with his original piece, “Sea of Glass”, and earning top prize as determined by industry professionals, Layten has been working hard.

He funded his debut album through an Indiegogo campaign and completed a 5 track EP called, Through the Days. It is now available for download on iTunes or streaming on Bandcamp. Not bad for three weeks worth of recording between his co-hometowns of Canmore, AB and Vancouver, BC. And remember, he just became our Champion in July…

Earlier this fall, the Digital Journal named him one of 5 top young Canadian acts to watch out for in 2015.

And if that’s not enough, he’s currently touring with and opening for our 2007 Champion, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, during his #waytoobig #waytooloud tour. This is a show you do not want to miss, and an opportunity to see two incredible Stampede Talent Search Champions in one great night of music.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald.  Photo credit: Mark Maryanovich

Our 2007 Champion Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. Photo credit: Mark Maryanovich

What does Layten have to say about everything that’s happened in his career since being named the 2014 Stampede Talent Search Champion?

Well, when we catch up with him, we will be sure to ask. In the meantime, you can get updates about Layten, and many of our other Champions and finalists, on the Stampede Talent Search facebook page, by following us on Twitter @stampedetalent or on Instagram at #stampedetalentsearch.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald’s show will be coming to Calgary on Friday November 28th, at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Show time is 8pm. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and start at $33.

 

We will be giving away two tickets to see Layten and Michael in concert!

Go to our Twitter or Facebook page, like or follow, and tell us what year Michael Bernard Fitzgerald won the Stampede Talent Search using #stsTime2Shine to be entered into the draw. The draw will take place Thursday, November 27th at noon.

Introducing the 2014 Western Legacy Award Winners

For the past decade, the Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy Awards have recognized individuals and groups whose inspiring actions have preserved western heritage and promoted the western values of commitment to community, pride of place, integrity and western hospitality.

On October 27, the tenth annual Western Legacy Awards recognized Wentao Li (Youth), Janice McTighe (Innovation), Chief Rick Hanson (Sustained Contribution, Individual) and Project Warmth Society of Alberta (Sustained Contribution, Group).

Western Legacy Awards
The Youth category is open to young people under 25 years of age, and recognizes youth who have demonstrated their commitment to making a difference.

With more than 839 volunteer hours, Wentao Li has achieved a feat that no other volunteer has in Youth Central’s 20 year history. Wentao has served in numerous projects around Calgary, including volunteering in the kitchen at The Salvation Army-Centre of Hope, working with children and youth at Between Friends-Camp Bonaventure, and various activities at Heritage Park. Wentao has gone above and beyond his call of duty and has built long lasting relationships with those he has served. Wentao has a thirst for volunteering and enjoys lending a helping hand wherever he can. It is clear that Wentao is a young man filled with passion, compassion, enthusiasm and kindness.

Innovation recognizes a person or group that has created a single visionary project that speaks to western values.

In the early 1970s, Janice McTighe had a dream and a vision. A dream of building an innovative, educational facility where children with special needs could have all the support they needed to develop to their full potential and a vision of a world of possibilities for every child. This dream became a reality in Renfrew Educational Services. Janice has centered her life’s work on her conviction that “every child is reachable and no child should live without hope and dignity”. This sustained drive, energy and vision has touched thousands of lives. Her constant drive to help families is recognized by those around her on a daily basis.

Winners of the Sustained Contribution category exhibit extraordinary community support over a number of years.

Rick Hanson was born and raised in Calgary. In 1975, he joined the Calgary Police Service and has been a member for over 37 years. Chief Hanson has held true and is committed to delivering the quality of life and safety in our community, ensuring we can reside, work and provide a safe place for people to visit. His vision has been clear in looking at crime prevention and reduction for our city. This has been demonstrated during his entire career, from the beginning as a street constable to serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Calgary for the past seven years. During this time, Chief Hanson has created and supported numerous collaborative ventures focused on early intervention with youth, domestic violence and homelessness. Chief Hanson is respected and consulted on police issues nationally.

Western Legacy Awards 2

Project Warmth Society of Alberta assists the homeless and the underprivileged in Calgary by providing ‘warmth’ with blankets, parkas, gloves and items of warm clothing. These items are donated by people in our community and Project Warmth Society handles the cleaning and distribution to those in need. Our western heritage is filled with stories of families and communities helping each other and lending a hand during the early homesteading era and the depression, up to the present day with homelessness and poverty affecting so many individuals and families in Calgary.

This year, a Legacy Wall was installed on the south side of the BMO Centre, Hall B to commemorate the 141 Western Legacy Award recipients to date. The wall will serve as a reminder of the people, organizations, acts and values that have and will continue to make our community great.

For more information, visit http://corporate.calgarystampede.com/getting-involved/western-legacy-awards/.

Youth Development programs a stepping stone to longtime Stampede involvement

As ENMAX Park and Youth campus are becoming more and more of a reality, it’s thrilling to imagine the new experiences that will come to life in these spaces. As we look forward to the new development projects, the Calgary Stampede’s Capital Campaign reminds us of the many untold stories of the donors – each with a strong connection with the Stampede.

The McClary siblings are a great example of such a connection as they are eagerly anticipating Stampede Park’s expansion. Will McClary was in The Young Canadians for seven years and also competed in Stampede Debate tournaments. Having spent much time performing in the Grandstand show, a natural progression was to join the Chuckwagon committee production operations team. He’s also currently on the Next Generation committee with his sister Martha.

Martha was a member of the Calgary Stampede Showband and then became a volunteer on the Calgary Round-Up Band. Their brother Casey, inspired by Martha, was also a member of the Stampede Showband and is currently a Showband instructor, teaching marching and visual performance.

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Will performing in The Young Canadians

Will explains that because he comes from a musical family, “auditioning for the Young Canadians was an obvious choice.” He adds that since the program is provided by the Calgary Stampede Foundation to students, it attracts many young people and provides a great place to make friends while studying performing arts. This is why Will is most excited to see the new campus for Calgary Arts Academy and The Young Canadians in the Stampede’s future. “Calgary has an impressive arts community and I’m thrilled that the Stampede will continue to contribute to this community by helping to offer Calgary youth a place to learn and grow.”

Aside from the performance and travel opportunities that first attracted Martha to the Stampede Band programs, she treasures the long-lasting relationships that stemmed from her involvement. “I was fortunate enough to meet many friends as well as my husband through the Bands of Calgary. The Stampede will always remind me of home.”

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Casey as Showband instructor

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Martha volunteering with the Round-Up Band

Now in adulthood and knowing first-hand the importance of the Stampede’s youth development programs, it was easy for the McClary’s to make the decision to donate. Will has committed to an ongoing donation to the Capital Campaign and Martha took advantage of her employer’s corporate program that donates to support employees’ volunteer initiatives.

If you are interested in supporting the We’re Greatest Together capital campaign or the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s development programs, please visit http://foundation.calgarystampede.com/. The deadline to make a contribution for the 2014 tax year is December 31st, 2014.