All Dressed Up and a Show Place to Go! UFA Steer Classic

outsider1This handsome steer (pictured to the left) may be called Outsider but he is certainly no stranger to the pomp and pageantry that comes with the “show” process.

Outsider’s owner, Lane Konrad, explains the one to two hour process of preparing a steer for the show ring:

After a proper washing at the wash racks in the ag barns, Outsider is combed and blown dry with a special blow dryer. Clipping and blow drying is strategic.

“I want to make the legs look thicker and bigger-boned,” says 19-year-old Konrad from Abbotsford, B.C.

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The steer is intentionally clipped a bit closer up front (head, chest) with thicker hair left in the back of the animal. According to Lane, this is done “…to give the illusion of ‘meat’…”  The finishing touches to Outsider include the application of Pink Oil to shine up the hooves.

And while the outside of the animal matters a great deal in the show ring, it can largely be a reflection of the steer’s inner health. So, diet is important. Lane Konrad feeds Outsider a blend of beet pulp, oats and corn in addition to his daily intake of hay.  The overall goal for preparing the show-ready steer for the UFA Steer Classic is to optimize the conformation and demonstrate the health of the animal.  And Konrad succeeded. He and Outsider placed fourth in the Simmental Class (190) at this year’s UFA Steer Classic event.

feed mix

Outsider’s feed mix of beet pulp, oats and corn

You don’t have to come from a large cattle operation to participate and be successful showing steers. It is a hobby for Lane Konrad and his family.  But it still requires the drive and interest of a young competitor. This is Lane’s 10th year in 4-H and he credits that experience for his success at the 2014 Calgary Stampede.

“I really like the high calibre of the competitors at the UFA Steer Classic, “ says Lane. “This is my first experience competing at the Calgary Stampede and it has been a great learning experience. I look forward to coming back again!”

Barn Brings Family Together

The barn brings the McLeod family of Cochrane, Alberta together. “It’s the place where we come together and work together,” says Rod McLeod.

And that work has paid off. McLeod’s daughter Megan walked away a Grand Champion with her Charolais steer Cruise at the UFA Steer Classic during the recent Calgary Stampede. And five years ago, her brother Colby was also a winner with his Charolais steer.


It was a dream for Megan, 18, to be at the Calgary Stampede competing with her 1,320-pound steer Cruise. Megan bought Cruise from a Bowden, Alberta Charolais breeder and says she likes to support local breeders. The country duo Florida-Georgia Line’s hit song, Cruise, was the inspiration behind her steer’s name.


Megan participated in the Summer Synergy youth livestock program leading up to Stampede. Summer Synergy provides a collaborative venue to showcase youth in agriculture by combining traditional elements with innovative approaches for personal achievement and development. In the program, participants are judged on various elements including showmanship, conformation, marketing, show team judging and multi species judging. Each participant is scored and the top achievers receive scholarships.

“Synergy is an amazing competition,” says Megan. “You meet amazing people and learn valuable leadership skills.” And being at the Stampede exposes rural youth to an urban population and teaches them how to talk about livestock with the urban public, she adds. All these skills will benefit you later down the road, she says.

Megan is a member of the Jumping Pound 4-H Club, president of the Alberta Charolais Youth Association and a director on the Canadian Charolais Youth Association. She will be headed east in the fall to study at the University of Saskatchewan.

To learn more about Summer Synergy visit

The Best Caesar in Town winner, Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey won The Best Caesar in Town contest on Sunday, July 13 at Nashville North with his Back Yard BBQ Caesar. Brandon was a bartender and DJ while in school at Mount Royal University where he graduated with two degrees in business. He has worked for the past three years as a financial advisor for Investors Group in Calgary.

Calgary Stampede: What was your plan/strategy going into the Best Caesar in Town contest?

Brandon Bailey: Just to have fun.

CS: How long have you been working on your recipe?

BB: In a way, for more than a year. But really the couple weeks leading up to the contest, I was pretty dedicated to it. I had some friends and people around the office try it –everyone said it was the best Caesar they’d had.

Best Caesar in Town_1

CS: Do you infuse your own vodka? Can you tell us a little bit about the process?

BB: The process can take up to two weeks. I take quality of vodka , drop the ingredients—like lime—in, let it sit for two weeks, then I filter it, so the vodka is clear.

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CS: What was your approach for this recipe?

BB: My philosophy: Sometimes people over-complicate things. I try to stick to the basics—the recipe is for the drink itself is quite simple for a cocktail and it uses quality ingredients, but takes a lot of time and prep work. It’s also unique—not many Caesars require fresh and muddled ingredients. Also, rather than putting the Sriracha right into the Caesar and compromising the texture, or needing to mix it – I infused the vodka so it would maintain the original Mott’s™ texture, while still being able to flavor the entire drink.

All of the ingredients work together. Some people overlook the rim. I made sure the rim complemented the rest of the ingredients in the Caesar.

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CS: How was your experience at the contest?

BB: It was a little overwhelming. I was confident I had a chance at winning, but was surprised when I did. Sort of felt what it was like to be a celebrity for a night. A bunch of friends came out to support me and the bartender was a good friend of mine, so we had a great time. I was the wild card as the only competitor not from a restaurant or bar, so I felt like the odd man out, but there was good camaraderie among the other competitors.

CS: What’s next?

BB: I’m headed all over Europe for six weeks. Winning the competition was the perfect send off!

Following is Brandon’s winning recipe. Don’t forget the Mott’s™ Clamato™!

Best Caesar in Town Winner

88-year-old Rhona Fraser checks Calgary Stampede off her bucket list

Sipping a 7-up, Rhona Fraser and her friend Brenda Rolinson flashback to four years ago, while sitting in the International Agriculture Room; at 88 years old, Rhona, currently residing in Featherston New Zealand, has never been to Canada, let alone the Calgary Stampede although it has always been on her bucket list of things to complete before she passed away. Suddenly, her bucket list became quite a priority when she had a near death heart attack four years ago. Ending up in the hospital, doctors told her and her family that IF she were to survive, she would never live independently again. A tough pill to swallow for such a strong women, and that’s why she wouldn’t let that get to her!

Rhona Fraser

While in the hospital, Brenda, her friend of about 20 years  visited her. Seeing her friend in such poor health didn’t sit well with her and she knew exactly what she needed to say to get Rhona to pull through. Those magical words, you ask? “Rhona, you can’t die…We haven’t been to the Calgary Stampede yet!” Apparently, that was all that needed to be said for her to gain the strength to become healthy once again. Not so surprising for Brenda though, as she describes Rhona as the “bravest person I’ve ever met”.  Rhona went on to say “most people have pain somewhere in their body after having a heart attack…. I have none” , which gave her the ability to make this long trek to Canada.

Prior to her heart attack, Rhona had lived an incredibly interesting and influential life. In the 1960’s she was the only woman welder in an auto factory in New Zealand, she is also a founding member of the New Zealand Women’s Aviation Society, has raised Arabian horses and Angus cattle and ran a riding school for children. Where she found the time for all of this, is beyond us!

Arriving via airplane by herself from Auckland to Vancouver, she then met up with Brenda, where they flew together from Vancouver to Calgary. A trip not most 88 year olds would dare to make, but for Rhona, it was nothing! A highlight for her was upon landing here in Calgary, the pilot invited her into the cockpit. With her aviation background, she was ecstatic to get that opportunity on a commercial flight. She then went on to say that through her time here in Canada, she has never been “so well received”, and that the western hospitality here at the Stampede has been next to none. According to her, the Stampede has lived up to their motto, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

Back at home in New Zealand, Rhona owns 50 acres of land, takes care of 28 acres herself  raising Angus beef and leases out the other 22 acres. A pretty large feat for someone who was told they wouldn’t live independently ever again!

Next on the list? Hopping a flight with the International Ninety-Nines, a group that was founded in 1929 by 99 licensed women pilots for the mutual support and advancement of aviation.

Good-luck, Rhona!

New public art installation: 100 Years of Champions

Today, the Calgary Stampede officially unveiled the spectacular art installment 100 Years of Champions, honouring the champions of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and chuckwagon races. Champions_1

The oversized aluminum horseshoes represent the strength of the iron that protects the animals from harm; six to honour the six disciplines of rodeo and chuckwagon racing: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping and chuckwagon racing.


If you look closely, you will notice some gaps in the years between 1912 to 2012. Some history: The first rodeo took place in 1912. Following a hiatus, the Stampede returned in 1919 to honour soldiers returning from World War I. The festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, now known simply as the Calgary Stampede.


100 Years of Champions was funded in partnership by the Calgary Stampede and the Government of Canada through a contribution by Canadian Heritage through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage, Legacy Fund.

And the Dueling Chef Winner Is

Chef  Xavier Lacaze, Concept Chef Briggs Kitchen and Bar!

Xavier winner 2014

It was a very close competition with Ian Smith, Executive Chef Swine & Sow Wine & Ale House within a point of Xavier when the judges completed their tally.

Dueling chef 2014 Ian Xavier

Consider this:  you have invited 5 guests for dinner, you don’t know what ingredients you are going to have on hand to make 5 courses and you have 75 minutes to prepare and serve.

Also your food plating has to be artistic, you’re not working in your own kitchen and if you are given Orange Crush and Nutella to use in your black box of ingredients you have to make them taste delicious. Without the benefits of recipes you will have to create dishes using pomegranates, cod filet, lobster, whole duck liver, prime rib, dandelion greens, butternut squash, Canadian maple cheddar, Kefir lime yogurt, dried ancho chilies, Wonder bread, espresso sea salt and Barbados rum.

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And of course you have 200 strangers in your kitchen watching you make everything and your 5 guests are going to fill out a scorecard judging your meal.

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Pictured:  Garth Brown, Chef Xavier Lacaze, Chef Ian Smith, Dave Rutherford

If you have not had an opportunity to see one of the Dueling Chef competitions put it in your Stampede planner for next year.  This is the 5th Annual Dueling Chef competition and the Kitchen Theatre team, which does a fantastic job, is already planning for 2015.

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Thank you to all our competitors (Ian Smith, Nicole Gomes, Robin Bowen) and congratulations Xavier Lacaze!

Introducing 2014 Stampede Talent Search Champion — Layten Kramer

Last night was the night for Layten Kramer to shine at the 2014 Stampede Talent Search finals. Kramer was awarded the title of 2014 Stampede Talent Search Champion, $5000 cash, a customized performer development pckage as well as the President’s Trophy and a commemorative one-of-a-kind custom silver belt buckle.

Photo credit to our sponsor Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo.

Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photography. A generous sponsor of the Stampede Talent Search.

Kramer stood out from a field of over 300 contestants from across Canada who auditions for the show in May of 2014, and by a panel of judges was selected to be this year’s winner.

“I am so shocked,” says Kramer. “It was such an amazing experience to play an original song on this stage, and tonight, everything came together perfectly”

“The Stampede Talent Search is often the first to shine the spotlight on rising Canadian Talent,” says Stampede Talent Search Committee Chair, Scott Henderson. “This year’s audience will no doubt brag about some of the artists they’ve seen on our stage in 2014″.

The first runner-up was Emma Rose from Calgary, AB.

Lizzy Munson from Calgary, AB was the second runner-up.

The third runner-up was Kaleigh Jo Kirk from Cochrane, AB who also received the Don Welden award for Most Promising Performer.

Kyra Brynne Lake, also from Calgary, received the “Fan Favourite” award, which is chosen through texts and tweets.

The 2014 Stampede Talent Search was made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. The Calgary Stampede, The Calgary Herald, PSAV, CTV, Lammles, Up! 97.7 FM. And, Benjamin Laird Arts & Photography.

The 2015 Stampede Talent Search Canada-wide auditions will open in March, 2015. So if you know of a young talented performer between the ages of 6 and 21 please send them out next year!

Dueling Chef Finalists Have Been Determined

Let the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre final cooking duel begin!

Friday night Ian Smith, Executive Chef Swine & Sow Wine & Ale House  edged out Executive Chef Robin Bowen of Rodney’s Oyster House in a very close competition.

Dueling chef 2014 Robin Ian


Tonight, Saturday July 12th Chef Ian will meet Chef  Xavier Lacaze, Concept Chef Briggs Kitchen and Bar to determine who is the Calgary Stampede Top Dueling Chef for 2014.
Dueling chef 2014 Ian Xavier

The competition starts at 5:30 on the Kitchen Theatre stage in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E. Dave Rutherford is our fabulous MC

Dueling chef 2014 Rutherford

Secret ingredients in the Friday night black box:

Dueling chef 2014 menu.

Sunday will be our final shows and there will be some great Presenters to watch and food to try.  See you there!

Celebrating the Year of the Horse on Stampede Park

In addition to The Peking Acrobats, you can find a few touches of the east in our wild west to celebrate the Year of the Horse.

Martial arts and dance groups from the local Chinese community are here performing the Lion Dance.

Lion Dancers Stampede 2014 (phot taken by Baruch Laskin)5

The groups include World Pak Mei Hup Ging Do Martial Arts Association, Kugekai Lion Dance Team, Jing Wo Martial Arts & Athletics Association of Canada and Bak Mei Chin-na San-da Academy.

The Kugekai Lion Dance Team is a local performance art group based in Calgary. Over the last two decades, they have treated Calgarians with the traditional art of Chinese Lion Dancing. While retaining most of the traditional elements, they infuse modern moves and stunts to keep things fresh!

Here are a few fun facts about Lion Dancing:
- it ushers in good luck and fortune
- the loud music drives away bad spirits
- we only take slight offense when it’s referred to as “Dragon Dancing”
- people sometimes mistakenly hear it as “Line Dancing” – which makes for some interesting conversations!

Look for them around the Midway!

Ticket Give Away Frenzy Day 5 – Final Day!

Want to enter to win Rodeo tickets? Or perhaps you’d rather see the Grandstand? Have we got the contests for you! That’s right I said contests, plural, not singular!

Today is the last day that the Next Generation Committee (NGC) will be running online contests through our Twitter account (@CS_NGC). We have some great Grandstand Tickets to give away! Follow us on twitter and see what you need to do to be entered to win the prize.

Today’s (July 12, 2014) contest details & rules!

Prize Pack: 2 Tickets to the Grandstand on Sunday, July 13, 2014
How to enter to win the Grandstand tickets: We will be tweeting questions about Agriculture and the Western Legacy Awards – all you need to do is follow us (@CS_NGC) and answer the question correctly with #GrandstandTix2014 and you will be entered into the draw.

Good luck!

You must be over the age of 18 to enter, please read contest rules for eligibility requirements. Please remember that we will contact winners via Twitter and will need to hear from you within 12 hours to ensure that we can get the prize to you in time for the event!


Win a trip for 2 to Toronto

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This Stampede has been HOT! With the weather hitting 32C on July 9, a great way to cool off is with an ice cold Caesar. While you’re enjoying a Caesar you can enter our new contest that we’ve partnered with Motts Clamato on. We want to send you and a friend to Toronto to see the National Best Caesar in Town Competition at the the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Take a selfie of you enjoying a Mott’s Clamato Caesar.
  2. Share it on Twitter and Instagram using #CaesarSelfie between July 11-14 to be entered into the contest.

What could you win?

  • Round trip airfare for 2 to Toronto courtesy of WestJet to see the National Best Caesar In Town competition
  • Hotel accommodations for 2 nights
  • 2 passes to the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo

Don’t miss The Best Caesar in Town competition presented by Mott’s Clamato and the Calgary Stampede on July 13 at Nashville North starting at 7 p.m.

Entrants must be 19 years or older. For full contest details and rules and regulations click here.


World Champion Six Horse Hitch

The World Champion Six Horse Hitch features magnificent heavy horses performing to the music of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s something truly special. And while I can appreciate the animals, the music and the performance, there’s so much I don’t know about the event. I asked Heavy Horse committee Courtney Stephenson to tell me more.

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What are the judges looking for in the arena at the various parts of the performance?

The judges are looking for a hitch that works together in unison.  He also is looking for horses that are athletic and moving well, which means lifting their knees up high and straight  and hocks that are moving straight like a pair of scissors. The horses should be clean and well presented with clean harness and decorated with a rolled mane (4 strand braid) with mane flowers arranged straight thru the mane and tails tied in a clean bun.  The teamster should be engaged with the horses and in control of his hitch.

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What exactly are the various things they need to do?

The horses move at a trot and are marked down if they break, which is just a term for loping.  They are asked to walk, drive across the diagonal of the ring,  line up and back up their hitch.  All needs to be done with ease and together as one unit.

What are the roles of the two people in the carriage? 

The teamster is the one who is in control of the hitch and makes the commands to the horses. You can see a good hitch horse has horses who are constantly moving their ears back and forth so they can listen to the teamster. The person who accompanies the teamster is there for safety in case something gets out of hand, the horses even though gentle in nature are large animals and we need to keep their safety in mind. They are also there to stand at the horses head when the hitch is stopped.

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How much horse power do the heavy horses each have?

A 1 tonne draft horse can produce 3.5 live horse power.

What kinds of horses exactly are in the show?

Belgians, Percheron’s, Clydesdales and Shires.

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What is the temperament of these horses? Any other special insider knowledge/facts about the horses?

Heavy horses are very gentle and sensible in nature.  The Heavy Horses have been shown on the Stampede grounds for 128 year when it was nothing more than a small agricultural society. Two of the Big Four, Patrick Burns and George Lane were heavy horse breeders.

Six Horse Hitch_2

Any other interesting facts?

The heavy horses wear scotch bottom horse shoes, which is style of shoe. They weigh 3.5 lbs each.

Aussie Liberty Horsemanship Expert Dan James awes with incredible talent

Hailing from down under, Australian Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship is a lifelong horseman with a passion for understanding and connecting with horses, showcasing their skill and dropping jaws with the possibilities of a horse’s talent.

James is a master of ‘liberty training’, connecting with horses while using the least amount of ‘equipment’ as possible. While working his horses without halters, bridles and even saddles, James showcases the strength of his bond with horses and their incredible capacity and intelligence in this style of horsemanship.

Double Dan James

James has many notable accomplishments in his equine career, having worked and competed all over the world. In 2008 he won “Way of the Horse” at Equitana Asia Pacific, and most recently won the prestigious “Road to the Horse” world championship of colt starting as a member of Team Australia in 2012.

Dan James performs daily in the Agrium Western Event Centre with professional trick rider and liberty horsewoman Niki Flundra.

Performance times:

  • Friday, July 11- 11:50 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. performance
  • Saturday, July 12 – 6:45 p.m. performance
  • Sunday, July 13- 5:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. performance

Come on down or watch live at

For more about Dan:

Check out Dan’s experience with the winners of a Calgary Stampede Twitter contest.