A Drum Major: More Than Just a Conductor

It’s not a secret that the marching arts provide exceptional learning experiences for youth. As one of North America’s fastest growing athletic activities, it challenges students physically, mentally, and creatively. There are a lot of reasons for students to join a marching band or drum corps, but the leadership skills that drum majors gain are truly second-to-none. As it turns out, there is a lot more to this role than just conducting the band and wearing a black cowboy hat!

1. They’re expert communicators

Elena Samoilova, who was the Showband’s head drum major in 2011 and 2012, is now the Showband’s Leadership Coach. She describes drum majors as the link between students and instructors. Drum majors learn exceptional communication skills by interacting with people at all levels, receiving directions from staff, constantly giving instructions to large groups, and occasionally speaking on behalf of the band for media.

According to Aaron Park, Director of Bands for the Calgary Stampede, it’s the things that aren’t said out loud that are especially important. “Drum majors develop non-verbal communication skills that help them to be approachable, build relationships with others, and intuitively understand what the group needs to do next to be successful. I trust Grace (the Showband’s current head drum major) to work with the members and get things done.”


Elena Samilova entertaining crowds with her team at the Saddledome Steps in 2012.

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Learnings from Aspire to Grow

The Aspire to Grow leadership event recently held in Fort Collins, Colorado, was held to empower girls and women to pursue careers in the agriculture industry.

The Agrium Women’s Leadership Group and the Colorado Future Farmers of America  Foundation (FFA) of the Aspire to Grow conference, offered the opportunity for outstanding high school ladies, as well as college age women, interested in agriculture to participate. This year, Journey 2050 was also invited to be a part of the event!


Arriving at the CoBank Center for Agriculture Education on the Colorado State University’s farm, I was met with an excited energy as soon as I walked into the building. More than 130 young FFA women who were all very excited and passionate about agriculture attended the conference and had the opportunity to learn more about the industry.

Two very inspiring and motivating key note speakers, Kelsey Pope and Danell Kalcevic, both who volunteer for a grass roots movement called CommonGround, kicked off the amazing event. Continue reading

Introducing Jeff de Boer

I know that all you culture cravers and urban art aficionados are eagerly awaiting the opening of ENMAX Park in July 2016—since we announced that local artist, Jeff de Boer was selected to create a new sculpture to grace the MacDonald Bridge entrance earlier this year, the community has been abuzz with excitement!

Photo credit: Jeff de Boer website

Photo credit: Jeff de Boer website

I got the opportunity to tour de Boer’s studio and learn more about his work, as well as what inspires him to create.

de Boer is a multimedia artist, best-known for his whimsical metal sculptures—you may have seen his work at the Calgary International Airport (Tin Toy) or Cyclone, at the Glenbow Museum. He’s also received a Board of Governors Award of Excellence for his work instructing at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). An ACAD graduate, who majored in jewelry design, de Boer now works with various mediums to create pieces that surprise, delight and make memories. Continue reading

Celebrating CFR Success

The Calgary Stampede’s top bucking horses and bulls are back home at the Stampede Ranch, after a big five days of competition at the Canadian Finals rodeo.

Calgary Stampede horses at rest on the Stampede Ranch

Calgary Stampede horses at rest on the Stampede Ranch

Thirty horses and seven bulls from the Stampede herd were selected by the cowboys to compete at the finals because of their ability to consistently deliver big scoring rides. They didn’t disappoint, with a number of standout performances. Continue reading

Calgary Stampede hosts 10 Chinese chefs for kitchen tour

Cowboy culture and a deep appreciation for Stampede time drew 10 Chinese chefs from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing out to tour our Food & Beverage facilities late last month.

These international guests traveled to our fair province to learn more about Alberta Beef, our culinary scene and world-famous hospitality industries; they traveled with Cargill representatives to tour various locations during their week-long stay.

Pictured: (in white jackets) Chef Dale and Chef Kwong making memories with the Chinese tour group and Cargill representatives. Our guests not only got a tour of Stampede facilities, they also got a chance to check out the public art pieces on Stampede Park, like the Roundup, featured behind the group

Pictured: (in white jackets) Chef Dale and Chef Kwong making memories with the Chinese tour group and Cargill representatives. Our guests not only got a tour of Stampede facilities, they also got a chance to check out the public art pieces on Stampede Park, like the Roundup, featured behind the group

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Introducing the 2016 Calgary Stampede Royalty

Anticipation filled the air on Stampede Park throughout the months of September and October as the competitions for Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses and Calgary Stampede Indian Princess were underway. To narrow down to the final three Stampede Queen and Princesses, 21 hopeful contestants took part in a four-week long contest with numerous competitions such as public speaking, equestrian, personal interviews and more. The Indian Princess pageant took place over two weeks, with five applicants and several events, including speech training, horsemanship and attending community events.

Excitement reached its highest peak with the crowning of Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt, Stampede Princess Chelsey Jacobson, Stampede Princess Baillee Billington and Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm. These four new Calgary Stampede ambassadors have already begun the journey of a lifetime; the Royalty have already attended events representing the Stampede and will make more than 400 appearances throughout the year. So just who are these four young women and what are they looking forward to this year?

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2016 Calgary Stampede poster and the poster artwork legacy

The Calgary Stampede unveiled our 2016 poster in the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery of the Calgary Public Library’s central branch on October 5, 2015. Community members and Stampede volunteers and employees were thrilled when the curtain pulled back to reveal the priceless piece by award-winning local artist, Michelle Grant: Born to Buck, pictured below.


“When you visit the Stampede Ranch in Hanna [Alberta], you witness many scenes of horses running freely in the fields together,” said Bill Gray, president & chairman of the Calgary Stampede board of directors, “and that was the inspiration for the poster.” Continue reading

Chuckwagon Drivers get ready to race under a new Calgary Stampede invitational format in 2016

The Calgary Stampede is introducing a new qualification process that is changing the way we select chuckwagon drivers for the GMC Rangeland Derby. Under the new format, drivers are now being invited to compete in 2016 based upon rankings of safety, competitiveness and professionalism.

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Stampede recognizes community builders with Western Legacy Awards


Pictured: 2015 Western Legacy Awards recipients (L to R) Chuck Groenveld, Quinn Clark, Marilyn Dyck and Brad Fisher

On November 12 we honoured three outstanding individuals and one incredible group—as well as two inspiring Chairman’s Award recipients—at the 11th Annual Western Legacy Awards.

These awards were established in 2005 to recognize unsung heroes in Southern Alberta who exemplify the Calgary Stampede’s values of commitment to community, pride of place, integrity and western hospitality.

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Introducing Queen Maggie!

Howdy everyone! This is one of your 2016 Calgary Stampede Princesses, Bailee Billington. I am so excited to be a part of the new Royal Trio and to have the opportunity to share our journey with you. But enough about me, today I am here to tell you about a fellow Stampede sister, your 2016 Queen Maggie Shortt. Maggie is a fun, kind, sincere cowgirl from Strathmore, Alberta. She’s been riding for most of her 21 years, on her horses Shake ‘n’ Bake, Alex and now Hawk (her Stampede Prince for the year). She got her start in the horse world volunteering with her dad at Horse Haven farms, helping with chores, grooming and cleaning tack. Maggie has done a little bit of everything in the English and Western riding worlds including jumping, dressage, gymkhana and being a member of the Calgary Stampede Showriders for four years. Maggie spends most of her spare time in the saddle, but also loves to cuddle up with her cat Bubba and read.


A young Queen Maggie volunteering with miniature horses at Horse Haven Farms.

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Take time to Honour the Canadian Forces this Remembrance Day


At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians join fellow Commonwealth nations in a moment of silence to mark the end of the First World War. Although hostilities ended on November 11, 1918 the war did not formally conclude until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June, 1919. Everyone welcomed peace.  Guelph-born Lt. Col. John McCrae served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and penned “In Flanders Field” about his experience at the Second Battle of Ypres; the poem still serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that members of the armed forces make and is part of the reason we wear poppies each November.

1915 exhibition annual report_men from sarcee camp lined up opening exhibition_military

The cover for the Calgary Exhibition’s Annual Report in 1915 featured a picture of soldiers from Sarcee Camp (based on the Tsuut’ina Reserve) opening the Exhibition that year.

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2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess

Oki, my name is i’kiwayohtowa and means “Heard All Over” which comes from the sound of thunder or you can call me Vanessa Stiffarm and I am the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. I come from the Kainai Nation and was raised by my parents, Evelyn Killsback and John Stiffarm, and my grandparents, Roger and Cathy Hunt.



After looking back this past month since I’ve been crowned, it brings an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness. It’s an incredible honor to carry this title and represent not just Kainai but all of Treaty 7, the Indian Village, and the Calgary Stampede. I’ve met a few of the past princess’s and look up to them. The stories they have shared with me about their experience and how holding this title opened doors for all of them. I want to inspire others the way they have inspired me to try my best and educate others about my culture.

Even though a month has gone by, I can still remember that feeling of standing on that stage waiting for my name to be called. When the judges finally called my name to announce I was this year’s Indian Princess, I cried. And I cried more when my grandparents came on stage to sing me an honor song. I cannot thank my family enough for their support and guidance that has led me to this moment. I am truly blessed and humbled to have this opportunity and to share it with everyone I will meet. I want to thank everyone for the kind words, the positive feedback, and for continuing to support me. This is only the beginning and I can’t wait to share my journey as we get closer to the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Win a Special Date Night!

kevin hart pic

We’re thrilled to be giving away 2 tickets to the Kevin Hart “What Now Tour” show at the Saddledome coming up on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 7:00PM, as well as a $75.00 gift certificate to Melrose Café & Bar.  Everything you need for a perfect night out!

All you have to do is tweet something that really made you laugh to @cs_ngc and you’re entered to win.

The contest commences at 5:00PM (MDT) on October 27, 2015 and concludes at 11:59PM (MDT) on November 8, 2015.  You can find the official rules here:  Stampede Date Night Contest Rules.

Good luck!  We can’t wait to hear what makes you laugh!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter so that we can message you if you win, and keep an eye on our account all year round for fun contests and other Calgary Stampede information.

*Please note that due to the 10:00PM show being cancelled, the contest winner will now receive tickets to the 7:00PM show. Our apologies for any inconvenience. 

Curious about Cow Sense? Come see what it’s all about at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler

A natural partnership. Instinct in action. There are many ways to describe what you will see at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. Each horse and rider is faced with a herd of cattle and two and a half minutes on the clock. Working together they must select, or cut, a single cow from of the herd. It’s then up to the horse to use its instincts, also known as cow sense, to keep it from returning to the herd.

Pictured: Dustin Gonnet riding This Cats Max in 2014

For those unfamiliar with the sport, local horse trainer Doug Reinhardt uses hockey as an analogy. He says watching a horse develop the cow sense needed for cutting, and then move through the different classes, is like watching a rookie work his way up through the ranks to the NHL. And the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity is the Stanley Cup of cutting.

“You want to peak the horses for Calgary, you’ve got to peak them at the right time. You want to keep building and then go show them in Calgary.” Reinhardt says. It’s something the Irricana-based trainer knows well, with a string of successes at Stampede Park. But he knows a trainer and rider can only do so much, and the rest is up to the horse. “It’s the most natural of all the horse events, and once you put your hand down if the horse doesn’t want to cut he’s not going to cut. It’s a partnership.”

Pictured: Doug Reinhardt riding Light Up Pepto in 2014

Pictured: Doug Reinhardt riding Light Up Pepto in 2014










The Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler, takes place in the Agrium Western Event Centre October 14-18. More than 240 of the best cutting horses in North America will be competing in seven classes for more than $375,000 in prize money. Admission is complimentary throughout the weekend, with the public invited to come see what cutting is all about.

The highlight of the exciting, family friendly event is the Saturday night Cut of the West, featuring live music from Canadian country music artist Drew Gregory, a western marketplace, and silent auction. There will also be a new event this year, a celebrity cutting competition. Olympian Mellissa Hollingsworth, bareback rider Jake Vold, news anchor Amber Schinkel and professional rodeo clown Dennis Halstead will battle for celebrity supremacy. The Saturday Night Cut of the West kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on October 17, and will be action packed!

A lot of work is still going on behind the scenes to get ready for the start of the competition on October 14, led by Western Performance Horse Committee Chair, Angela Pipe. “We have so many volunteers working on this that are dedicated and passionate about both the Stampede and the sport of Cutting and they bring with them such a wealth of knowledge and experience in all the facets that make this event such a tremendous success” says Pipe, adding “It’s exciting to see all the things that we have been planning for months come to fruition. The cherry on top of everything is having the opportunity to showcase the best of the best in the Agrium Western Event Centre.”

Doug Reinhardt is also hoping to see all of his hard work come to fruition, in the form of success for the horses he’s been training, saying “When you’ve spent all that time with the horse, and you’ve had a really nice run, that’s an accomplishment.”