7 Things to Know About the Stampede Showband’s 2017 Production: Mosaic

In celebration of Canada’s 150 birthday, the Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce its 2017 production, Mosaic. Local audiences will have the opportunity to see Mosaic at Music ‘n Motion on Sunday, May 14, 2017 and at Showbands Live! on Sunday, July 9, 2017 and Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The Stampede Showband will also perform the music from the production every evening on the Saddledome Steps during the 2017 Stampede, happening July 6–16, 2017.

Here are 7 fun facts about the show:

1. Mosaic is a special collaboration with the Stampede’s Indian Events Committee. It has been designed in collaboration with local historians and Indigenous leaders and features local Indigenous youth drummers, singers, and dancers who will wear their own regalia during performances.

2. Acclaimed local poet and star of Making Treaty 7, Alanna Blackrider Onespot, is leading the collaboration and storytelling as the showband’s Indigenous artistic director.

First Nations youth

Stephanie Big Plume, Shenoa Snow, Alanna Blackrider Onespot, Anthony Crowshoe and Dakota Martial attended their first Showband rehearsal earlier this winter.

3. The production is all about the past, present, and future of Canada and its people, exploring themes of purity, conflict, reconciliation, diversity and inclusion.

4. Music will include A Movement for Rosa by Mark Camphouse, Time, Forward! by Georgy Sviridov, Godspeed! By Stephen Melillo, and Hymn to the Sun with the Beat of Mother Earth by Satoshi Yagisawa.

The Showband uses music and movement to tell a story. This year, the Showband will be joined by Indigenous dancers, drummers, and singers.

The showband uses music and movement to tell a story on the field.

5. The Stampede Showband’s design team includes some of the world’s top marching arts professionals, including: front ensemble; Ian Hale, percussion; Colin McNutt, program design; Keith Potter, drill design; Jamey Thompson, colour guard design; Jennifer Leseth  and musical arranger; Michael Klesch. This talented group have worked with elite ensembles including: the Cavaliers, Carolina Crown, The Cadets, Phantom Regiment, the Madison Scouts and Boston Crusaders (if you don’t know who these groups are, it’s worth looking them up on YouTube).

6. This summer, the Stampede Showband will travel to the Netherlands to compete in the World Music Contest (WMC), where they’ll share Canada’s story on the world stage performing Mosaic for over 20,000 people in Kerkrade.

7. Approximately 800 hours of rehearsal time will go into preparing for the competition in Kerkrade!

Sowing Community Spirit: Benevity, Seedlings and the Stampede!

April showers bring May flowers, right? Then April snow should make seedlings grow! That was the motto on Monday, April 24 when a group of 30 smiling and cheerful neighbours from Benevity came to Stampede Park to grow some great community spirit, despite the cold weather. Bringing 160 Colorado blue spruce seedlings, these benevolent friends from Benevity came to donate some time and trees to the Stampede!

Say “Trees”: Parks & Facility Services share a smile with the Benevity crew and some of the new seedlings

Say “Trees”: Parks & Facility Services share a smile with the Benevity crew and some of the new seedlings

Led by the Stampede’s green-thumbed Parks & Facility Services team, the group divided into planting crews and with tremendous care and affection, planted the seedlings in their new homes. The seedlings were welcomed onto Park and made to feel right at home in the planters located by the Park & Facility Services building.

In their new nursery, the seedlings will be tended to with love and attention by Sandy Mcafee, park maintenance supervisor, and her team for the next two to three years. These initial years are very significant in the life of a new tree and it is important to keep our new seedlings in a safe and happy place before sending them off into the big, open world.

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Sandy Mcafee from Parks & Facility and April from Benevity make a new home for a seedling

Once the seedlings have grown strong enough, the new trees will be transplanted to other locations across Park. In doing so the trees will also be used in landscaping projects as the Stampede expands buildings and greenspaces.

Four part-time horticulturalists from Benevity share a smile with a baby Colorado blue spruce

Four part-time horticulturalists from Benevity share a smile with a baby Colorado blue spruce

A tremendous thank you to the kind folks from Benevity who share our desire to further environmental initiatives and preservation in our city and beyond!

For more information about what the Calgary Stampede is doing to ensure a positive environmental impact, please visit our website http://corporate.calgarystampede.com/about/environment.html.

In celebration of Canadian ranchers on Earth Day

By: Rosie Templeton

There’s an important segment of the Calgary Stampede’s UFA Cattle Trail and the journey of Canadian beef production that comes before the auction market, the feedlot and the grocery store. It’s the Canadian ranch. More specifically, how the Canadian ranchers work to ensure a balanced ecosystem on their operations, considering water use, grasslands, wildlife and how to leave their ranch in good shape to pass on to the next generation.

In honour of the Canadian ranchers inadvertently celebrating Earth Day today and every day, I wanted to spotlight some of the incredible sustainability initiatives and lesser known facts about how our beef is raised.

UFA-Cattle trail 2

What is sustainable beef?

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef defines it as: a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes planet, people, animals and progress.

Sustainability holds an important meaning to ranchers. For many, it includes everything from passing their operation on to the next generation, to animal care, to the economic viability of their ranch.

How are Canadian ranchers Earth-friendly?

Cattle production and natural resource stewardship go hand in hand,” explains Fawn Jackson, manager, environmental affairs at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “Cattle ranching isn’t about using resources up; it’s about stewarding them so that they are able to last forever.”

For ranchers, this means employing practices like rotational grazing, or moving cattle from one field to the next to preserve the health of the grass and ensure it can be grazed for many years to come. Good grass management also leads to water filtration, carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat.

UFA Cattle trail 1

What do cattle have to do with wildlife?

“When you choose to eat beef, you are supporting grassland wildlife!” says Jackson. “Within the agriculture landscape, the beef industry accounts for 68 per cent of wildlife habitat, while using only 33 per cent of total agriculture land.”

By preserving grassland, water sources and habitat for wildlife like ducks and moose, ranchers are caregivers to far more than just cattle.

How can I learn more about sustainable beef?

Come take a walk through the Cattle Trail! Every day during the Calgary Stampede, you can take the journey from pasture to plate in the UFA Cattle Trail, located in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

This year’s Cattle Trail will be separated into five sections which are the five pillars of sustainable beef developed by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB): Natural resources, people and the community, animal health and welfare, food, efficiency and innovation.

GRSB Principles

You can also visit crsb.ca and GRSBeef.org for more great information on sustainability from pasture to plate.

Happy Earth Day, I think I’ll celebrate with a steak!

Stampede employees train for emergency flood preparedness

On June 21, 2013, southern Alberta was forever changed as the largest flood to date washed through, destroying much that stood in its path. The Calgary Stampede’s blue bridge was washed away, the Infield tunnel and Indian Village were submerged, and buildings across Stampede Park were flooded. Though the results were devastating, the Stampede witnessed that the spirit of the city couldn’t be washed away.

Immediately following the flood, the Stampede took numerous measures to protect and build resiliency for Stampede Park. From 2013 to 2014, the Stampede gathered all information possible on the flood, implemented new flood-resilient design features on Stampede Park, updated their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and created a step-by-step outline document of how to handle flood situations. From the time the SOP was updated three years ago, Stampede employees have participated in live flood exercises annually.

“After exercises like this, we really feel more prepared,” said Calgary Stampede assets manager, park & facility services, Brian Hanley, referring to the emergency preparedness day Stampede employees took part in on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Almost 50 Park & Facility services employees, including carpenters, plumbers, electricians, general labourers, administrative employees and team leads, participated in a practice live scenario for flood recovery on Stampede Park. “It took a lot of time, personnel and collaboration to bring the day together,” continued Hanley, “but the time spent preparing for the day, participating in the activities and regrouping afterwards was highly valuable.”

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Six prepared flood carts

Simultaneously, key members of the Stampede gathered for a tabletop exercise[1] of the same 1-100 level flood scenario. “This isn’t a one department or small group response.  An event of this scope and scale –which has the potential to cause significant negative impact to our operation-, requires an ‘all hand’s on-deck’ approach,” described Paul Burrows, security services manager, who oversees the Stampede’s Corporate Response & Resiliency Program (CRRP).

Stampede leaders from all departments across Stampede Park, from communications, people services, business services, sales & event management, security, parking, food & beverage, and more, discussed a play-by-play of what each department’s role would be during the 1-100 level flood scenario. These key crisis management employees discussed what to do as flood severity escalates. “Each business unit has a role. Whether it’s providing support for the initial response or assisting with the recovery and business continuity phase, everyone plays an important part,” added Burrows.

Burrows leading the tabletop exercise

Burrows leading the tabletop exercise

The same was true for the live exercise. “There are so many parts to practice, so every year we practise different tasks with different employees,” Hanley explained. “Our overarching goal is for everyone, no matter their job description, to be able to jump in and know exactly how to handle the situation.” This year, the Park & Facility Services employees practiced six of the approximately 25 measures outlined in the flood emergency preparedness procedure document.

One of the six tasks for 2017 was lowering the railings of the Stampede’s newest bridge, which replaced a bridge that was washed away in the 2013 flood. “This task was especially intriguing for our employees as this year was the first time we practised lowering the rails.” The new bridge was built specially with numerous flood resiliency features in mind. Lowering the rails will allow for water to flow smoothly over the bridge instead of being blocked and creating a dam situation. The employees also practiced removing the benches and planters along the bridge because in flood situations these items could cause damage or create blockages if the river carried them away.

Railings successfully lowered on the Stampede’s newest bridge

Railings successfully lowered on the Stampede’s newest bridge

Also in ENMAX Park and new for this year, the live exercise employees practised removing the panels from Sweetgrass Lodge. “They look like walls but are actually 4’x7’ panels,” described Hanley. Removing the panelled-walls of the stage area will allow for water to pass through smoothly and not create a blockage or dam.

The remaining of the exercises varied from staging flood carts, which are supplies transported to essential areas across Stampede Park, practising sandbagging doors to keep water out, activating sluice gates to keep water from coming up manholes, and fighting water with water. “We fill these large tubes with water and when they’re expanded they’re about three feet high and very durable. They can stop water in its path” said Hanley.

A washroom door sandbagged in ENMAX Park

A washroom door sandbagged in ENMAX Park

 

Stampede employees activating an E09 Sluice Gate

Stampede employees activating an E09 Sluice Gate

“After the live exercises are finished, we sit down and go over the day – and that’s when we really realize the small things that make the big differences,” Hanley continued. The same conclusion was found from Burrow’s tabletop exercise. “Even something as seemingly small as ‘gathering phone chargers’ is on our emergency preparedness list,” said Burrows. “And though people may chuckle at first, communication is essential in times of emergency so this small task is actually extremely essential.”

Feeling confident from the flood emergency preparedness day, Stampede employees are ready to take on the weather this year.

 

 

[1] Tabletop exercises have always been an annual tradition for the Stampede and cover a wide range of emergency situation topics. The flood tabletop is just one the larger series of emergency topics the CRRP covers.

 

Happy National Volunteer Week to our dedicated and passionate volunteers!

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At the centre of the Calgary Stampede you’ll find the heartbeat of our organization – our dedicated and passionate volunteers. And while they may come from different walks of life, backgrounds and professions, together they collectively share their love and commitment for creating a year-round gathering place for the community.

National Volunteer Week is April 23 – 29 and the theme this year is Canada 150. At the Stampede we celebrate the unique gifts of each of our volunteers and the ways they strengthen our surrounding communities.

“There are no words to express how valuable our volunteers are to Stampede. They make unique things happen every day that you can’t find anywhere else. They are the best!” says David Sibbald, president & chairman of the board.

Our volunteers donate more than their time; they also lend their talents in the areas of event management, leadership, relationship building, commitment to building our youth programs and welcoming new comers to our city.

Simply put, without the dedication and support of our 2,300 volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do. They share our vision and understand that we are about so much more than our 10-day festival.

Here are just a few of the reasons we love our volunteers:

  1. Passion – they are passionate about the committees they are a part of and the work they do.
  2. Commitment – it’s their middle name! They commit their time and hard work to all that the Stampede does, both during Stampede time and throughout the year. Many of them lead busy lives, but they still make time for us!
  3. Shared values and the belief that “We’re Greatest Together!” – Not only do they live the Stampede values of western hospitality, commitment to community and integrity of pride and place, but they believe in them whole-heartedly. They forge important relationships with community partners and work closely with employees to make sure our initiatives are supported.
  4. Talent – our volunteers are talented professionals and leaders in their communities. From lawyers to accountants, they are diverse individuals.
  5. They’ve got heart – they truly want to make our city a better place by engaging the community and being a good neighbour.

Happy National Volunteer Week to all of our wonderful volunteers. The Stampede appreciates each and every one of you for your generous contributions and support!

A look back at Aggie Days

We had the best time at this year’s Aggie Days, at Stampede Park on Saturday April 8 – Sunday, April 9, 2017. It was open to all ages and attendees received free admission alongside enjoying many activities such as sheep shearing, cow milking, livestock auctioneering, the amazing corn maze and so much more!

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Stampede Princess, Lizzie Ryman with a baby goat at Aggie Days.

We had the opportunity to interact with a variety of farm animals from tiny piglets to giant draft horses. I even got to feed Manny the llama a treat, straight from my lips!

Aggie Days teaches people of all ages about the importance of agriculture and how our community revolves so greatly around it. Queen Meagan’s fondest memory of attending Aggie Days was a little girl holding a sweet baby chick and getting to know all of the horses, of course!

Some special events are also held at Aggie Days, such as the Clock Stock and Barrel, where we got to watch athletic dogs herd a group of sheep into a pen with only voice commands. Or if you preferred to take part in the “horsey” side of things, the Extreme Cowboy Race was great, where horse and rider made their way through a complicated obstacle course! Both events were extremely fun and free to attend.

Next year, you’ll probably find us hanging around Aggie Days as part of the Queens’ Alumni Committee, where we will participate in Giddy-Up Aggie Days, an event for special needs. You might also catch us cuddling baby lambs or laughing at Princess Brittany being dragged around by a miniature donkey! (I only say this because it has happened before.)

We hope to see all of your smiling faces there next year!

Introducing Calgary Stampede’s newest board members

On March 21, 2017, the Calgary Stampede’s shareholders elected three new directors to the Stampede board: Elizabeth Burke-Gaffney, Dave Lantz and Stuart O’Connor. The board further approved the appointments of three additional directors: Lesley Conway, Greg Kwong and Cindy Provost. The biographies for all of these new directors can be found below.

The Stampede’s board is currently comprised of 20 shareholder-elected directors, four government-appointed directors and five board-approved externally-appointed directors. The externally-appointed directors from the larger Calgary community provide the board with supplementary expertise from specific business sectors that are key to supporting the strength of the Stampede’s leadership in light of the organization’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan initiatives and developments.

David Sibbald, president & chairman of the board, commented on the newly appointed board members, saying ”Lesley, Greg and Cindy will bring tremendous expertise to the board as we move forward with plans to expand the BMO Convention Centre and our youth education platform. They are leaders in Calgary and lend to the Stampede a broader perspective and representation from our community.”

Warren Connell, chief executive officer, added “These individuals understand where the Stampede is going and are passionate about helping us get there.”

The Stampede congratulates the six new directors on their elections and appointments and looks forward to the support of their leadership as the organization drives toward furthering its vision to create a world-class year-round gathering place for the community.

Continue reading

The Royalty Trio gets saddled up at Eamor’s Saddlery

Hello again Stampede Fans! Queen Meagan here!

Every Stampede Queen and Princess loves her trusty steed! And, along with our beautiful horses we need tack and all the extras, as every horse lover out there knows!

Our Stampede Royalty program is fortunate to have a very generous craftsman and sponsor to give each of us a saddle! JD Moor personally designs a saddle for each Queen and Princess, putting into 300-400 hours of work on each one! His shop is called Eamor’s Saddlery and is located in Nanton, Alberta.  It was opened in 1941 and they’ve been a Stampede sponsor since 1960. Eamor’s is one of the oldest Saddleries in North America and the oldest in Canada! In addition to Eamor’s, Associated Grocers and Davidson Enman are also generous contributors to our saddle sponsorship.

A visit to the saddlery
On Monday, April 3, the Royal Trio visited Moor and the saddlery.  The first question I had was where he learned such an amazing skill!? He shared with us that he began when he was eight years old and had made his first saddle by the time he was 17. He talked about how it began as a hobby, but quickly turned into a full-time job.

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2017 Stampede Queen Meagan Peters, JD Moor, 2017 Stampede Princesses: Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman.

Tooling the saddles
Moor said his favourite thing to do is to tool a saddle. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s the detail usually found on the fender or on the skirt of the saddle. Tooling detail can ultimately go anywhere on the saddle depending on your preference. To customize the Royalty saddles, Moor will draw up a pattern, then hand paint and do all the tooling himself. Each saddle is “blinged out” with Montana Silver that each Queen and Princess can have engraved. This was one of the reasons for Monday’s visit.

Every year the saddles are a little bit different than the year before. Keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot the changes! By this point you can probably imagine the passion this man has for creating saddles. His favorite saddle he made for a client was the Rose Saddle. This saddle took about 600 hours to create! The leather has a reddish brown tone and the entire saddle is tooled with detail. It also has gold plating and conchos on it.

As soon as we met Moor, we could sense his authenticity and genuine love for what he creates. It is people like Moor that make me love the Stampede program continuously. Moor described how the saddles he makes are his legacy.

“Those saddles will be around for a lot longer than I will! You’ll have it for the rest of your life and you’ll remember how you got it! I only do it because I love it. There is no other way,” he says.

And right you are Mr. Moor! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have been given Eamor saddles. Before we were crowned on the big night, the three of us were floored at the sight of such beautiful saddles waiting to be claimed. We hoped that those saddles would be coming home with us that night, and here we are lucky enough to meet the man behind them! We will always think of you, Mr. Moor, before we run through those gates at every Grand Entry. We will make sure they are nice and broken in! Like Moor says, “The saddles are happier that way.”

If you’d like to check out some one-of-a-kind saddles in person and see some adorable animals, come out to Aggie Days at the Western Event Centre from Saturday, April 8 to Sunday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes free admission and is fun for the whole family!

 

Can Marching Band Save the World?

Aaron Park, manager, youth education programs, thinks it’s a start, which he shared in his recent Walrus Talk.

“Are my students successful now and in their futures? Does what they learn in the Stampede Showband prepare them for their future careers, quality relationships and to make an impact in their community?” he asked rhetorically.

As five-time world champions, the Stampede Showband is about so much more than just music and performance excellence. It’s about building character in Calgary’s youth and developing important leadership skills that help shape the community leaders of tomorrow.

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Aaron Park delivers his Walrus Talk on March 9, 2017 in Calgary.

“While we’re focused on performance and music at the highest level, we know that this is not the end goal of our students,” he shares. “They go on to be more than musicians; they go on to be engineers, teachers, doctors, volunteers and community leaders.” Continue reading

Advice from an Aggie Days super-fan

I live with an Aggie Days super-fan. It’s an annual highlight for him; something he asks about throughout the year. And right now the anticipation is high in our house, with the animal-filled adventure just days away. When asked just what it is about Aggie Days that he loves so much, the answer is simple.

“It’s fun and way awesomer than school!”

While I can imagine there are quite a few things that rank as ‘awesomer than school’ when you’re six, not much can compete with Aggie Days in his books.  So who better to ask about some of the top must-see events and must-do activities?  Here are his top five picks with descriptions:

  1. Stock dogs – “Basically they just chase the sheep into the pen.”  He doesn’t make it sound very exciting, but it is! The dogs listen to whistle-commands from their handler who stays on the side the whole time - blowing the whistle in different patterns and pitches to guide the dogs – it’s amazing to watch!

Aggie Days Stampede Park

  1. Wagon rides – “It’s kind of cool because you get to ride around the Stampede rodeo arena and stuff, where they drive monster trucks.”   We may have been to Monster Jam in the Stampede Grandstand a time or two…

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Building on our past, looking to the future – Agriculture at the Calgary Stampede

For ten days in July, Stampede Park in downtown Calgary is a whirl of colour and sound, with ferris wheels and fireworks, mini donuts and midway games. But at its heart, as they always have been, are animals and agriculture.

The 10-day festival, which hosts more than one million visitors from across Canada and around the world, is a celebration of community spirit and western traditions. It encourages visitors from all over the globe to put on some boots, and make a connection to Western Canada’s rural roots.

“The Calgary Stampede is one of the few places left in the world that still celebrates agriculture. We make it a commitment to introduce the urban population to the rural population,” says Stampede president & chairman of the board, Dave Sibbald. A local rancher whose family has been part of the Stampede for many generations, Sibbald is passionate about keeping the connection to agriculture alive. “It’s never been more crucial than it is today as the urban population becomes further and further removed.”

David Sibbald (L) with his family

David Sibbald (L) with his family

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Sibbald and two of his horses

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Looking Forward Toward Summer 2017, Calgary Stampede Announces Reverse Parade Route

Taking the stage Thursday, March 28, 2017, Calgary Stampede president & chairman, David Sibbald, gathered the city’s local media in the Boyce Theatre, making a special announcement about the 2017 Stampede Parade. Before making it to the end of the speech, the five-time world champion Calgary Stampede Showband and arrived on stage doing what they do best, playing their heart out and adding to the air of mystery in the room.

Calgary Stampede president & chairman, David Sibbald on stage with the Calgary Stampede Show Band

Calgary Stampede president & chairman, David Sibbald on stage with the Calgary Stampede Showband

Always a man for detail, the Stampede’s fearless leader asked the band to turn about-face, reversing the formation, aptly matching the announcement of a new direction for the 2017 Calgary Stampede Parade route! “The Stampede is now, and always will be, a gathering place for the community to celebrate western traditions and enjoy western hospitality with friends, family and guests.” Said Sibbald, “Today is about an invitation to come watch the iconic Stampede Parade …travelling in a reversed direction on the same route…”

The new Stampede Parade route, starting at Ninth Ave. and First St. SE, and finishing at Sixth Ave. and Third St. SE.

The new Stampede Parade route, starting at Ninth Ave. and First St. SE, and finishing at Sixth Ave. and Third St. SE.

Marching in reverse, the Parade will now start where it finished in years past, beginning at Ninth Ave. and First St. SE, and finishing in Calgary’s newly developed East Village at Sixth Ave. and Third St. SE. The new route will allow for easier access for parade-goers into Stampede Park, with free admission for all until 1:30 p.m.!

With less than 100 days left until The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth kicks off, the history and tradition of the Stampede Parade marks the beginning of the western spirit that will encompass Calgary running July 7 through to July 16, 2017.

Stampede’s solid financial health

In 2016 the Stampede continued to respond to the changing environment while protecting the financial health of the organization. We took on the extra challenge in 2016 to ensure our expenses were aligned with our expected revenue. We worked hard to reduce costs in order to address the anticipated decline in revenue. The end result: a bottom line community investment of more than $2 million in both 2015 and 2016 respectively. This allows us to provide the best support for our community programs, facilities and activities.

Here are some financial and community investment facts:

  • As a not-for-profit organization, our goal is to manage our finances in a way that ensures we can deliver the great experiences our community expects.
  • Yes we had a $12 million reduction to our revenue between 2015 and 2016, but we were very proactive about reducing expenses through both our annual budgets and throughout the past two years since the start of the economic downturn.
  • We expanded our programming and community events with the opening of ENMAX Park in 2016.
  • We continue to actively work with the Calgary Stampede Foundation on the development of Youth Campus.
  • Our ongoing capital budget is higher than it has been over the last couple of years and we are undertaking additional renovations on Stampede Park to make this an even better place for our community.

As a 105-year-old organization steeped in history and tradition we have survived because of our ability to change and adapt. “We continue to be out in our community listening and reacting to what they have to say,” says Warren Connell, Calgary Stampede CEO. “We are looking at how to engage the community and set up programs that appeal to everyone. We have a number of new exciting initiatives planned for the community in 2017 and we look forward to sharing these plans starting this afternoon with an exciting announcement about the Parade.”

The Stampede is a reflection of our community and we work hard to meet and exceed expectations. If you’re interested, we invite you to read our detailed financial statements and learn more about how we give back to the community in our annual Report to the Community.

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2017 Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction: Perspectives from a Newbie

Four months before guests gather to watch the chuckwagons race at the Calgary Stampede, potential sponsors for the chuckwagon canvases gather on Stampede Park to place their bids. The 2017 Canvas Auction, presented by GMC, took place Thursday, March 23 and set the stage for the always long-awaited and much-anticipated GMC Rangeland Derby. As a born and raised Calgarian, I’ve been to the races plenty of times, but seeing the other side of it at the Canvas Auction put a whole new perspective on the build-up to, and community pride of, the drivers and support for the sport.

Left to Right: Princess Brittany Lloyd, Queen Meagan Peters, Indian Princess Savannah Sparvier, Princess Lizzie Ryman

Left to Right: 2017 Stampede Princess Brittany Lloyd, Queen Meagan Peters, Indian Princess Savanna Sparvier, Princess Lizzie Ryman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As folks gathered on Stampede Park, hearty handshakes were given between bidders and drivers, while naturally curious fans gathered in a separate viewing area to see how it would all play out. In the Boyce Theatre where the action was happening, drivers were led onto the stage one-by-one by the 2017 Stampede Royalty; Indian Princess, Savanna Sparvier, Stampede Queen, Meagan Peters, and Stampede Princess’ Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman. The drivers were put under the spotlight, with the highest bidder winning the right to sponsor the driver and have their brand advertised on the canvas of the particular sponsored wagon. Continue reading

Stampede’s Annual General Meeting has positive outlook for 2017

“I am happy to tell you that the organization is in a solid financial position—yes even after a very rainy Stampede,” Warren Connell, chief executive officer of the Calgary Stampede, shared at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Stampede Park, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Almost 1,000 shareholders were in attendance at the meeting and listened as Connell recapped highlights from 2016 and insight into 2017 and beyond.

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Connell continued by sharing, “Calgary is in the midst of a transformation. Culturally, the city has changed tremendously over the past decade, so to remain relevant the Stampede’s brand values need to continue to align with the values of Calgarians and Albertans. We need to continue to be out in our community listening and reacting to what our community has to say,” he stated as he spoke to the Stampede’s 2016-2018 Strategic Plan.

Connell pointed to how the Stampede tried something new during the 2016 Stampede by providing free admission on the final Sunday, as well as special $5 admission prices at pop-up events earlier in the week. Connell also alluded to similar surprises for Stampede 2017, to be announced to the public in the coming months. Continue reading