Championship Fall For Stampede Stock

Another rodeo season has come to an end for the Calgary Stampede stock. If this were hockey, we would say the team is heading into the post-season with only the major championships left to go. For the horses and bulls of the Calgary Stampede rodeo string, this past couple of months has been a road swing with multiple wins.

 

Stampede Rodeo Stock

Jake Vold Rides Xplosive Skies to the win in Hermiston

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Giving back to the community: Stampede volunteers paint the town

On Saturday, September 17, fourteen volunteers from the Community Projects & Development, Next Generation and Promotion volunteer committees participated in the City of Calgary’s Paint the Town program. Through Paint the Town, volunteers paint the exteriors of seniors’ homes, from the trim, to fences, to decks and railings.

The house we went to belongs to a senior who has lived in her home for 59 years–next year, will be her 60th anniversary in the house. She told us that she hadn’t done much to the home since her husband died five years ago.

Stampede Paint the Town

Stampede volunteers with the homeowner. She got to keep the hat!

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Take the road less travelled to the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler

On October 12-16, the Calgary Stampede will welcome hundreds of competitors from across North America to the annual Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. Some will fly in. Others will come, hauling horses from thousands of miles away. The end goal is the prestigious competition in the state-of-the-art Agrium Western Event Centre. But getting here, and enjoying the city and surrounding countryside can make the experience just that much more memorable.

We spoke with two of the top competitors from 2015 about the competition, and the importance of enjoying the scenery along the way. Russ Elrod, the 2015 Open Futurity Champion, resides in Terrebonne, Oregon.  Carl Gerwien, the 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion, lives just outside of Calgary near the town of Nanton, Alberta.

Russ Elrod, 2015 Open Futurity Champion

Russ Elrod, 2015 Open Futurity Champion

Carl Gerwien, 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion

Carl Gerwien, 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion

 

 

Calgary Stampede: You come to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity. What is your favourite thing about it? Continue reading

Meeting horses and other adventures at Stampede School

When was the first time you got to pet a horse? For many Calgary students, it’s at Stampede School. Professional horse trainer Muffy Knox visits Stampede school almost every week with two equine assistants and the goal to teach kids about horse communication and the proper way to handle and look after horses.

Muffy Knox Stampede School

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Why this year’s Stampede Doors Open will be the best ever

The Calgary Stampede is once again participating in Doors Open YYC. We are excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at little-seen places in the Stampede Grandstand, Rodeo chutes and chuckwagon barns, with some new twists this year! You will learn about the inner-workings of our biggest events: the Stampede Rodeo, GMC Rangeland Derby and the TransAlta Grandstand Show. Here are a few reasons why a (free!) visit to Stampede Park will be a great way to spend your Saturday on September 24.

Doors Open - Grandstand plans

This rendering and write up is from the 1972 Stampede annual report. The Grandstand opened two years later.

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Back to school: 10 fascinating facts about our earth, sustainability and agriculture from Journey 2050

Well, this week is back to school—and while many people will be sharing their “What I did this summer” stories, we are asking: What are you excited to learn about this year?

Here’s something to get your wheels turning: How will we sustainably feed the world in 2050?

Whoa, that is a big question! And this question is at the heart of a one-of-a-kind education program for grade 7-12 students at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park. It’s called Journey 2050.

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Journey 2050 students

Intrigued? Here are 10 things students learn in just one day about the challenges our world faces, sustainability and agriculture: Continue reading

Top rodeo competitors earn invitations to the 2017 Calgary Stampede

With the end of the 2016 Canadian Pro Rodeo Wrangler Tour, comes the beginning of great things at the 2017 Calgary Stampede. The tour wrapped up this past weekend in Armstrong, BC with five of the top competitors earning themselves an invitation to next year’s rodeo in Calgary. Each year at the end of the Wrangler tour, we invite the winners in Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling, Tie Down and Bull Riding to join us at the Stampede the following season.

Jake Vold riding L-36 Licorice Baby

Jake Vold riding L-36 Licorice Baby

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How being Indian Princess changed my life and my words of advice for anyone thinking of applying for 2017 Indian Princess

I am about  to complete my reign as the 2016 Indian Princess–I can’t believe it! If you are a Treaty 7 woman between the ages of 18 and 25, I really encourage you to apply for to be the 2017 Indian Princess. You will have the opportunity of a lifetime to share your culture locally, nationally and internationally. Read more in this interview about the incredible places I got to go and people I got to meet. The Calgary Stampede is now accepting applications and the deadline is Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Email Indianprincess@calgarystampede.com for an application or visit my Facebook page for more information.

Calgary Stampede: You are about to wrap up your year as Indian Princess– how do you feel?

Vanessa Stiffarm: It’s kind of bittersweet- I’m excited but I’m also sad. It’s been an amazing year – it’s sad knowing that it’s almost over. But I’m excited to see how many girls try out this year and how the program grows for next year.

Vanessa parade day

CS: Can you sum up the year with three words (or phrases)?
VS: Exciting, full of surprises, memorable Continue reading

Stampede committees work together to host event that proves anyone can be a rodeo star

The Calgary Stampede Queens’ Alumni committee, in partnership with the 4-H committee, and sponsored by Maxim Power Corp., hosted Giddy-Up Rodeo this past weekend, an event for special needs children to come have some fun and try their skills in mock-rodeo events.

“We love participating in the amazing events you hold for the special needs community,” Giddy-Up attendee, Katy Lowe, said. “My son has autism and cannot usually participate in community events and as a result neither can his two sisters.” Giddy-Up Rodeo, and all of the Queen’s Alumni Giddy-Up events, are specially designed so that children can participate in community events at their pace and in a comfortable setting that isn’t over-stimulating and overwhelming. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and it’s an event where everyone can feel accepted.

As soon as you walked through the doors of the beautiful Agrium Western Event Centre guests were immediately greeted by enthusiastic members of the Stampede board of directors, members of the Promotion committee (who were giving out CS branded stamps and showing off their roping skills) and an 11-year-old fiddler to set the tone.

Giddy Up Rodeo 2016 - Agrium

 

Giddy Up Rodeo - Promotion committee

Giddy Up Rodeo - welcome Continue reading

Why colour guard is the unexpected sport your child should try this year

When you’re wondering what sport or activity your child should try this year, colour guard usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind – but it should be! Colour guard is what we call the group of athletes/performers/dancers that twirl flags and toss (fake) rifles in front of marching bands. They’re extremely impressive but no one really knows how to join a colour guard, how you learn those skills, or what the colour guard does when they aren’t leading a parade. To answer these questions and more, the Escalade Winter Guard Association is hosting a colour guard Youth Development Camp this month, providing beginner instruction in dance, flag, and rifle skills – perfect for youth of all ages! Plus, if your tween/teen likes it, they can sign up to join the Calgary Round Up Band or Calgary Stetson Show Band this season. Still not convinced? We’ve got 8 reasons your kid should give colour guard a try this summer:

1. They don’t call it the “sport of the arts” for nothing! Colour guard is called the “sport of the arts” because it brings music to life through performance in a competitive format. Performers demonstrate skill, agility, strength and endurance through choreographed movement, dance and use of props set to music to tell a story. Every season, colour guards rehearse several times a week to prepare for competitions. They make it look easy, but it takes a huge amount of skill to gracefully spin and toss colour guard equipment.

The Stampede Showband is an auditioned group for youth ages 16-21. Taylor Fraser, pictured here, is preparing to toss her "rifle" into the air, so it'll spin six times, and then catch it. Photo: End Credits

The Stampede Showband is an auditioned group for youth ages 16-21. Taylor Fraser, pictured here, is preparing to toss her “rifle”. It’ll spin in the air, and she’ll catch it without missing a beat. Photo: End Credits.

The coaches and instructors are seasoned veterans who have performed and competed at the highest levels. Many of the instructors with Calgary’s colour guard ensembles performed with the Calgary Stampede Showband and Drum Corps International (DCI) ensembles, and continue to compete in local elite ensembles like Escalade. Continue reading

Calgary Stampede Novice Tour names 2016 Champions

It has been a long hard season for the veterans of rodeo, and with only a month left in regular season action the push is on for their weary bodies to get to the Canadian and hopefully the National Finals Rodeo. But for some on the Canadian Pro Rodeo Tour this is a brand new experience. Traveling thousands of miles to rodeos all across the country is an exciting prospect and a grand adventure. The young men on the Calgary Stampede Novice Pro Tour have been put through their paces all summer and their hard work and commitment is paying off in these dog days of summer.

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Tanner Young – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

This past weekend, Strathmore saw the conclusion of the Calgary Stampede sponsored Novice tour, which consists of seven rodeos across Alberta including the Calgary Stampede itself. Young competitors in the Novice Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Junior Steer Riding earn points through those rodeos towards a tour championship. The Calgary Stampede pays the entry fees for all of the young competitors at each rodeo and sponsors a bronze trophy and gold and silver championship buckle for each of the tour champions.
The goal is to promote the sport to young competitors in hopes that they will learn the ropes at a professional level and advance into the top ranks of rodeo as our future super stars. At the very least the Calgary Stampede loves to see young competitors being able to be a part of the sport and get to spend time with some of the greatest rodeo athletes on the circuit. The Stampede ranch also supplies young horses for most of the rodeos on the tour giving the young animals and young riders a chance to hone their skills.

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Kolby Wanchuck – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

This past weekend saw some great competition with a few young but familiar faces taking home the bronze trophies. Kolby Wanchuck was the top Novice Saddle Bronc rider on the Tour and is looking great for advancing on to the Canadian Finals Rodeo. In the Bareback it was Tanner Young, who is looking to make a return trip to Edmonton in the fall. In the Steer Riding it was Carter Sahli who claimed the Tour Championship and by the expression on his face during his ride at the Stampede, you can tell he is a fierce competitor.

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Carter Sahli – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede could not be happier for these young cowboys and is proud to be a part of building rodeo athletes for the next generation. The Stampede loves nothing more than to celebrate youth achievement – so to this year’s Calgary Stampede Novice Tour Champions goes a big tip of the hat!

 

A Wet and Great Stampede!

Yes, it was the wettest ten days I can remember in my 30+ years of volunteering (and in fact I now hear it was the rainiest 10 days since 1927), but definitely a lot of bright spots and great memories from the 2016 Stampede:

1. Pre-Stampede, on Wednesday, July 6 and Thursday, July 7, I was very busy with large and in some cases record crowds at the CBC Breakfast, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Parade, Tourism Calgary First Flip, the Field Law and Miles Davison LLP parties and Parade committee kick off BBQ. No question from those events that the city was very much looking forward to celebrating Stampede this year.

David Gray, host of the Eyeopener on CBC Radio (L) interviewing Codey McCurrach, chuckwagon driver (R) at the CBC Breakfast

David Gray, host of the Eyeopener on CBC Radio (L) interviewing Codey McCurrach, chuckwagon driver, (R) at the CBC Breakfast

Pancakes being flipped at the First Flip breakfast hosted by Tourism Calgary

Pancakes being flipped at the First Flip breakfast hosted by Tourism Calgary

2. Parade Day is always special and I never take for granted the thrill of being on horseback riding along the downtown parade route in front of hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators. Parade Marshals PB&J (Paul Brandt and Jann Arden) were great ambassadors for Calgary and the walking entry of about 100 representatives from the various Fort McMurray agencies involved with the emergency first response, re-location and re-settlement of that city received a huge and well deserved show of appreciation.

parade 2016)

Waving hello atop of Pa – the horse I rode this year from the Stampede Ranch

3. The Stampede Rodeo was great all week (even during the downpour on Finals Sunday, which I would argue just made it that much more challenging and exciting). Barrel Racer Mary Burger became an instant Stampede hit during the first go around and then continued to win over hearts and fans by pulling in the big prize on Sunday. Getting to award announcer Ron MacLean his own bronze for his 25 years of involvement with the Stampede Rodeo was also a very special moment for me.

Ron and Bill

Ron with his bronze and me

4. More often than not, the GMC Rangeland Derby and Evening Show faced the wettest moments of each day. The track held up magnificently and kudos to all the drivers for night after night of exciting and safe racing. The TransAlta Grandstand Show was one of the best I can recall and was designed in such a manner that “the show could go on” each night notwithstanding the weather. Great job by Dave Pierce, the Grandstand committee and all others involved in producing and putting on this show.

Exciting finish to one of the chuckwagon races

Exciting finish to one of the chuckwagon races

The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performing in the Grandstand Show incorporating water in the show

The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performing in the 2016 Grandstand Show incorporating water in the show

5. The Stampede is a great place to see, meet and host people and that includes politicians from all levels of Government. His Worship Mayor Nenshi rode in the Parade and then to his credit attended every community event in the city, or so it seemed. Premier Notley also rode in the Parade and she and many of her cabinet and MLAs attended many Stampede events on Stampede Park. We even had Justin Trudeau and his daughter Ella-Grace on Stampede Park for a few hours on Friday, July 15 (though as you can see from the attached below, even our Prime Minister was not spared the rain). PM visit 6. Beautiful Enmax Park and the new home of Indian Village was a hit with our guests and one can only imagine how popular that area of Stampede Park will become in future years with better weather. Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede 7. The main Midway attractions (Dog Bowl, Peking Acrobats and Bell Adrenaline Ranch) all received deservedly rave reviews. The Agriculture programming was also outstanding and saw big crowds for Cowboy Up, Stock Dogs, Heavy Horse Pull, Steer Classic and all the exhibits in Agrium Western Event Centre, such as the Cattle Trail and many others.

The Canine Stars at the Dog Bowl

The Canine Stars performed incredible tricks at the Dog Bowl

Heavy Horse Show in the Scotiabank Saddledome

Big crowds came out to watch the Heavy Horse Show in the Scotiabank Saddledome

8. By far the most enjoyable moments for me throughout the ten days was hand out the President’s Certificate of Appreciation to surprised long term Stampede volunteers all over Stampede Park. Such a privilege to honour so many deserving people who have given so much to Stampede and to their respective committees. Many thanks to Jennifer Jenson and Shane Ellis for taking care of all the logistics and making this work with my crazy busy Stampede schedule.

One of the recipients of the awards - Jill Cross.

One of the recipients of the awards – Jill Cross.

Thanks to all of you for what you do for Stampede. Hope all the employees and volunteers of the Calgary Stampede have a great and relaxing (and warm and dry) rest of the summer. You all deserve that. Bill

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 10

Showdown Sunday held true to the uncharacteristically wet year at the Calgary Stampede. But nothing could cloud the radiant grins from the latest crop of $100,000 Rodeo Champions.

Zeke Thurston 10

The maple leafs were flying when Zeke Thurston made it two years in a row to win the saddle bronc riding. It was familiar ground for the cowboy from Big Valley, with the only difference being this year’s rainy weather.

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Cello, Nirvana and killer vocals — Lizzy Munson is the 2016 Stampede Talent Search Champion.

After eight days of competition, 67 contestants, and 10 judges, Lizzy Munson came out on top as the 2016 Stampede Talent Search Champion. With her own mash-up of “Heart Shaped Box/Smells Like Teen Spirit” her unique vocals, combined with a moody and dramatic cello performance, stood out from the field.

2016 Champion , Lizzie Munson, on stage Saturday night. (Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

2016 Champion , Lizzy Munson, on stage Saturday night. (Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

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2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 9

Saturday turned into quite a family affair at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo. The odds are always high when it comes to being among the best two out of the twelve contenders to earn a spot to Showdown Sunday. But it proved to be all ‘relative’ this year.

In the saddle bronc riding, the Cajuns were hot. Brothers Heath and Cody DeMoss rose to the top of the heap. Cody was 87 points on Calgary’s Simply Marvellous, while younger brother Heath was only two points behind at 85 for his trip on Evening Mist. That led to a very special victory lap for the two Louisana cowboys, including what looked like a little brotherly horse race during the victory lap.

DeMoss Brothers 9

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