Celebrating 35 years of the Stampede Talent Search

Since 1980, the Stampede Talent Search has been providing a platform for young, amateur performers to demonstrate their talent. Thirty-five years of Talent Search Champions have gone on to become Juno Award winning artists, International hit-makers, and Canadian and World Champions. And it’s all because of a man named Don Welden.

Welden was the Stampede Entertainment Manager, who was convinced that free entertainment would be an important way to enhance the guest experience on Stampede Park. After a trip to Memphis, TN, to watch a talent competition at the Tennessee State Fair, Welden was convinced that a competition format would be valuable to young performers and exciting for the audience to watch.

Welden set about inviting amateur singers, dancers and musicians to compete in a talent competition held during Stampede time. As the competition grew in popularity, he then established a volunteer committee. The competition grew in scope—sponsors soon aligned themselves with the event, and the size of the committee grew to administer a now marquee, Canada-wide event.

In 2014, Kaleigh-Jo Kirk was the recipient of the Don Welden Award for most Promising Performer of the competition. (Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

Kaleigh-Jo Kirk was the 2014 recipient of the Don Welden Award for Most Promising Performer. (Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

In 1988, the Stampede Talent Search committee created an award to honor Welden’s legacy. The Don Welden Most Promising Performer Award is given out annually to a contestant, selected by the committee, who demonstrates Welden’s values of integrity, commitment to their craft and congeniality.

The Stampede Talent Search is a must-see event during Stampede time. Free with park admission, talented performers ages six to 21 from across Canada entertain audiences nightly on a professional stage with a live band. This year, the top senior performer will earn $10,000 cash in addition to a valuable development package from the Calgary Stampede and a custom, one-of-a-kind Stampede Talent Search belt buckle.

If you’d like to see tomorrow’s next big star shine on our stage, preliminary performances start Friday, July 3 to Tuesday, July 7. Semi-finals are Thursday, July 9 and Friday, July 10, and the finals are held on Saturday, July 11. All performance begin at 6 p.m. and are held in the Boyce Theatre on Stampede Park.

Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre is on the move

We are very excited to announce that 2015 will see Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre on the move to a new location. We are still in the BMO Centre but we have moved to the BMO Marketplace Hall A and we have extended our hours.

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Joining us on stage will be many of our wonderful regulars in addition to 18 new presenters as we showcase local talent and products. Our presenters are bringing chocolate (you always have to have chocolate), knives, doughnuts, fish, cheese, local grains and oats, vitamins, oils and vinegars to the stage. You will be able to sample African, Caribbean, Greek, Thai and food like grandma used to make. Lamb, beef and bison dishes will all make an appearance on our stage. The chefs from Calgary Co-op will be on stage every day at 4PM creating some tasty dishes for you to try out. Continue reading

Exciting New Piece of Public Art for Stampede Park

The Stampede’s Public Art committee recently selected Calgary artist Jeff De Boer to create a new sculpture to grace the MacDonald Bridge entrance to the new ENMAX Park.

“Public art adds so much to the character and energy of a city. We’re really excited to be building on the rich collection already in Calgary with what we believe will be another iconic piece for Stampede Park,” said Tammy Yamkowy, Public Art committee chair.

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Look forward to seeing the sculpture here in 2016

Seven submissions were received from local, national and international artists in response to a request for proposal (RFP) calling for projects that would enhance the natural landscape of the park while providing a visual interpretation of the story of the Stampede within the theme of celebrating community partnerships. Continue reading

CS History Moment: Celebrating 50 years with the Calgary Kidettes

On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Calgary Kidettes, Stampede Historian Christine Leppard and raconteur Margot Gooder McDermott provide a look at the origins and history of the group and where we are today.

Canadian Classic is the name of this year’s TransAlta Grandstand Show. It promises to be a spectacle celebration of Canada from sea-to-sea-to-sea. It’s a fitting name for a show that stars the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, who are themselves a Canadian classic. The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede evolved from the Calgary Kidettes, who were featured in the second locally produced Grandstand Show in 1965.

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Early rehearsal at the Stampede Grandstand

Travelling variety shows were a common feature at State Fairs held across the United States and exhibitions held across Canada. By the early 1960s, the Calgary Stampede was just another stop on the circuit. Although the travelling variety shows provided an entertaining cap to the chuckwagon races, many people—including critics and Stampede management, alike—felt that the shows that came to the Stampede were missing two critical elements: local flavour and all-star talent. The travelling shows just couldn’t get the talent that, for example, Ed Sullivan was bringing to people’s living rooms every week.[1]

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Come on down to the Calgary Stampede 4-H on Parade

Stampede Park will soon be buzzing with enthusiastic young 4-H members from the Calgary region. 4-H on Parade presented by Cervus Equipment is the largest 4-H event in Western Canada. This event takes place from Friday, May 29 – Sunday, May 31. 4-H on Parade is a time when the youth can showcase their final projects they have been working on all year long. There are many different projects that you will see on display at Stampede Park: there are horse, canine, sheep, lifeskills, beef-female and steer projects.

If you’re wondering a bit about the different projects you can see throughout the weekend, let me tell you a bit about them:

  • Equine: There are three days for horse projects this year. There will be both English and Western riding styles exhibited in the horse shows. The members will compete in both Jeopardy Trail and the Horse Bowl throughout the weekend. Be sure to check out the first show, which starts Friday morning in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

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English riding class Continue reading

WIN LIKE A STAMPEDE CHAMPION AT LILAC FESTIVAL 2015

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Are you getting ready to enter our amazing contest for a chance to WIN LIKE A CHAMPION at this year’s Lilac Festival? We want you to start thinking ahead to what you’re most looking forward to for this year’s upcoming #calgarystampede2015!

To help you get your early planning in motion, we’ve put together an amazing prize package totalling over $900 and we’re going to be giving this pack away to one lucky winner who is following us on twitter.

We won’t reveal the prize until Lilac Festival – just to keep some element of surprise for Sunday morning. Do you have any ideas as to what it might be? Feel free to tweet us your guesses! Continue reading

Stampede update from president Bill

So lots of things have happened or are currently going on since my last blog:

  1. The Election: the outcome was a surprise to most including me. However I am very optimistic that the Stampede can have a great relationship with the new government. We have a great story to communicate as our organization touches the works of many government departments or ministries – Education, Tourism and Culture, Agriculture, Aboriginal and  Environment to name just a few – and our Youth Campus development is a project that members of every political party can get behind and support. So we will be inviting and hoping to see the new Premier and other members of the government here during Stampede this year.
  2. Calgary Flames: it was fabulous to see the City but in particular Stampede Park and 17th Avenue come alive again during this year’s exciting Flames playoff run.  Congratulations to that organization for a great year and hopefully we can now make Flames’ playoff games an annual event to look forward to for a number of years in a row.

    Calgary Flames 2015 Playoff Run

    Scotiabank Saddledome during the Calgary Flames 2015 playoff run

  3.  Stampede is Coming: time is going by fast and at time of writing this less than 50 days until Stampede. New announcements coming out almost daily it seems. Stevie Wonder now added to concert line up for final Sunday, love the concept of outdoor patio and Stoli Lounge for Nashville North along with great music line up, an expanded Bud Zone at south end of park will be very popular and though not allowed to share any details yet, there is  a great new show performing in the Corral during Stampede which will be a big hit and unbelievable that it is being provided as part of the free entertainment on Park.

    Calgary Stampede Midway

    Calgary Stampede Midway

  4. Parade Marshal: I am very excited about this year’s parade marshal – expect an announcement in early June.
  5. People: apparently April 12 to 18 was National Volunteer Week and for some reason it looks like we missed sending out any messaging to our volunteers. Sorry about that as in my view the Calgary Stampede is blessed to have the most passionate and hard-working volunteers of any organization in Canada and in my position I think about and am thankful for that every day on the job.

    Promotion committee volunteer at 2014 Door Open YYC on Stampede Park

    Promotion committee volunteer at 2014 Door Open YYC on Stampede Park

  6. People 2: don’t want to forget about and also thank our hard working employees who are now literally burning the midnight oil to ensure that Stampede 2015 will be one of the best ever. Special congrats to our newly appointed Vice-President and CFO Shelley Flint who is doing a great job on the numbers side and Sarah Hayes Vice-President, Foundation who was so very instrumental in the success of the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s Capital Campaign.

    CEO Warren Connell and COO Paul Rosenberg helping out CS employees at the recent Riverbank Clean-up event

    CEO Warren Connell and COO Paul Rosenberg helping out CS employees at the recent Riverbank Clean-up event

  7. Being President: We are a large organization with many moving parts and a few thousand brand ambassadors in the form of volunteers and employees. As President, I receive many compliments and the occasional criticism (but happy to say the compliments far outweigh the complaints) about something we have done or are doing either on Park or in the community. I certainly don’t know all the details of every CS decision and program so I’m just getting more comfortable with saying “thank you” on behalf of our entire organization of volunteers and employees. (The complaints I just send down the hall to Warren – only partially kidding about that.)

TAKE OVER THE @CALGARYSTAMPEDE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT DURING STAMPEDE 2015!

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Do you take amazing photos?  Do you love attending and experiencing the Stampede?  Do you want access to the best Stampede events?  If you answered yes to all three, you should enter our InstaStampede presented by Statoil contest!

We’re looking for the best Instagrammers in Canada to take over our account in July and showcase The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth! As part of the contest, 9 talented photographers will be chosen to run the @CalgaryStampede Instagram account for a day each during Stampede 2015.  This could be you!

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6th Annual Coca-Cola Covert Concert

There are just 42 days left until 2015 Stampede time!

We could hardly contain our excitement to announce the July Coca-Cola Stage line up. Tonight we celebrated our 2015 line up announcement with more than 1,200 music enthusiasts at Flames Central. In true rock-star fashion, we partied to live performances by July Talk and Brett Kissel, chatted up local celebrities and feasted like kings.

A great time was had by all.

Pictured: Brett Kissel performing for fans at the Covert Concert

Pictured: Brett Kissel performing for fans at the Covert Concert

Lucky members of the public (you had to win to get in) were the first to know who will be headlining the Coca-Cola Stage this July– the suspense is now over.

(Drum roll, please….) The complete 2015 Coca-Cola Stage line up includes:

Thursday, July 2 (Sneak-A-Peak): Beat Drop Fest

Friday, July 3: Kiesza

Saturday, July 4: Brett Kissel

Sunday, July 5: Vance Joy

Monday, July 6: Lights

Tuesday, July 7: Ok Go

Wednesday, July 8 (8 p.m.): Scott Helman

Wednesday, July 8 (9:30 p.m.): Francesco Yates

Thursday, July 9: Moist

Friday, July 10: July Talk

Saturday, July 11: Arkells

Sunday, July 12: Magic!

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New additions made to the 2015 premium seating menus

Experiencing the Stampede Rodeo and Evening Show with Premium Seating comes with a delicious new menu each year.

Three chefs, Michael Dekker from Rouge restaurant, Steven Lepine from SAIT Culinary Campus, and Clayton Corkan from the Calgary Stampede, collaborated and showcased their 2015 creations at an exclusive taste-test event.

A few of the new Premium Seating menu updates this year include:

  • Infield/Agrium Western Event Centre: new tapas and hot pots
  • 30X: new grill station
  • The Lazy S: a new“7” course loge menu and updated lounge share platter
  • Ranahans: two new themed action stations – Surf and Ranahans Steak – as well as plated pre-set salad and a couple of new lounge tapas

To check out what you could be dining on while enjoying the Rodeo, or the GMC Rangeland Derby and TransAlta Grandstand Show, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the taste-test event:

For more information on Premium Seating, visit http://premiumseating.calgarystampede.com/.

 

Earl Bascom: Canadian Sport Legend

Famous rodeo athlete Earl Bascom is being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony on June 17 at Canada Olympic Park.

The “Father of Modern Rodeo,” Bascom is best known for his exploits in the rodeo arena. He was an all-around champion, competing in bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding and steer wrestling. Bascom’s first appearance at the Calgary Stampede was in 1932 in the saddlebronc and steer decorating competitions. Notably, Bascom designed the first modern rodeo chute in 1916.

Earl Bascom steer decorating at the Calgary Stampede, 1935. Image Courtesy of the Glenbow Archives, NA-3164-9.

Earl Bascom steer decorating at the Calgary Stampede, 1935. Image Courtesy of the Glenbow Archives, NA-3164-9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responding to Buckle Up ad comments

We wanted to share some thoughts on behalf of the Calgary Stampede and our many employees and volunteers about a recent Stampede TV ad and the surrounding commentary.

This ad has been the topic of a couple of news stories and some lively online discussion. We appreciate that our community is so willing to provide their thoughts on our activities!

We’ve been a part of this community for a long time and our aim to be inclusive and relevant to all Calgarians. So we are reading and listening to your comments – we’ve seen a few negative comments by email, online and social media. We’ve seen many more comments in support of the ad.

We are appreciative of the comments that support the ad, but want to make it clear that we certainly don’t support any personal attacks on people who hold a different viewpoint. Let’s all respect each other’s right to have a differing opinion.

Back to the ad…Here’s the Champions Buckle Up ad.

It’s a variation on the Champions theme we introduced last year.

This year’s TV spot is one part of an overall campaign that includes, print, radio and online creative and other Stampede marketing pieces including our website. One screen grab from one ad might not give you the full story on our communications.

Our communication materials are consistently built from the foundational belief that, as a community, We’re Greatest Together – Calgary Stampede strives to create a gathering place for all Calgarians. We’re proud that our midway is a true representation of our city’s makeup – with Calgarians of all backgrounds creating memories with their friends and family.

The creative idea behind the campaign is to be an example of the different ways of how some – that’s some – Calgarians might get ready for Stampede.  Specifically, the ad portrays people from different walks of life, underscoring how all Calgarians come together to put on and participate in this unique community gathering-they are all Champions.

We think this is a unique and positive characterization of how Calgarians see themselves as Stampede approaches.  It is unfortunate that the media coverage we’ve received so far focuses on only one actor in our ad and not the seven other actors reflecting the diversity of our community.

People of all kinds buckle up – or get ready to take part in the Stampede – in many different ways:

  • Kids setting up their little lawn chairs along the Parade route
  • Community organizers hosting their neighbourhood Stampede breakfast
  • Twenty-somethings getting ready to hit one of the many bars and tents around Calgary
  • The family packing up their gear to enjoy a midway afternoon
  • Tipi owners prepping for their stay at Indian Village
  • Western Showcase volunteers getting the Western oasis ready for opening day
  • The band doing a sound check before they hit the Nashville North stage
  • Tourists buying their first cowboy hat
  • 4-H kids grooming their show steer

As a not-for-profit we just don’t have the budget to do a four-hour ad that depicts how all Calgarians and visitors get ready for Stampede. And who would watch it?!

So we invite Calgarians and visitors to share their ideas all the different ways that different people and groups prep for Stampede. Share your images and stories by tagging your Tweets or Instagram shots with #stampedechampions.We hope for all kinds of images and stories that reflect all the ways people take part in the Stampede festival.

A couple of folks have suggested that the Stampede must support sexist views and lewd behaviour because we show a young woman getting ready for a night out. That’s a pretty big leap in our opinion and for the record we absolutely don’t support this kind of behaviour. 

In fact, we believe that a woman or man should be able to dress how they wish to take part in Stampede festivities. We know for some people Stampede is a time to celebrate – and that’s great! And we think putting on a cowboy hat should elevate your behaviour and class; not diminish it.

We know that our city’s reputation as a safe, warm, welcoming city is at its best during Stampede. We appreciate that our community expects the CS brand to be fun, celebratory, respectful and community-based and our communications will strive to reflect that.

Feeding the Future: Journey 2050™

Sustainability and agriculture are an important part of the Calgary Stampede; as such, we work to educate youth about their food and where it comes from.

Journey 2050™ is an educational program that challenges students to apply sustainability concepts in an interactive and innovative way to feed people by the year 2050 when the world’s population reaches nine billion people.

We are proud to work with partners, like Agrium Inc. and Alberta Canola Producers Commission, to engage children and their families in discussions about how the global demand for crops will affect consumption, engineering and industrial sectors locally. The program was developed as a sustainable agriculture education program by Agrium Inc. in collaboration with the Calgary Stampede and funding by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  It is offered to schools in many ways, including a fieldtrip at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park, an online experience for anyone in the world to participate, and you can download the Sustainability Farm Game from the iTunes App Store for free.

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Pictured: Don Bosco grade seven students learning about sustainable agriculture

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Stampede School Meets Cirque School

When the grade four students in Mrs. Olynik’s class from Acadia School arrived at Campus Calgary Stampede School to investigate the Dreams of the Stampede, they didn’t know they would spend an afternoon under the Big Top! Thanks to a teacher with a dream to explore Cirque du Soleil, the curtains were raised by the Cirque du Soleil publicist Amelie.

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Under the Grand Chapiteau Continue reading