Stampede Family, Thank You

The Calgary Stampede has always been an important part of my life. From Parade Day until Showdown Sunday I was enthralled by everything Stampede.

One of the Stampede's most recognized Volunteers: Harry T. Horse

One of the Stampede’s most recognized Volunteers: Harry T. Horse

Whether it was participation in the Breed Demonstration at the old Ag tent, or being a spectator down by the rail at the Rangeland Derby, I spent the majority of Ten-Day down on the grounds. This passion for the Stampede was a major motivator in trying out for the Royal Trio. However, before this year, I had no idea of the magnitude of the corporation: there are over 3500 volunteers and employees who invest countless hours both over Ten-Day, and year round into this unbelievable organization. They all share a common passion: The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. While we had the privilege of meeting countless volunteers involved with numerous committees, there are a few that stood out in our amazing year, and really showed us what it means to be part of the Stampede Family.

 

To the Promotion Committee, thank you for the line dancing and singing lessons (both of which were desperately needed), and for the genuine western spirit you shared with us, and that you share around the entire city year round.  It was a privilege to work with such enthusiastic volunteers that demonstrate the core values of the Calgary Stampede at each event you participate in.

 

Happy Trails with the Promotion Committee!

Happy Trails with the Promotion Committee!

 

The Courtesy Car Committee was there for us during the highlight of our year: Stampede 2014.  This is an amazing group of gentlemen who, among other more important duties, take care of us and make sure we get where we need to be during an incredibly hectic ten days.  We were lucky enough to have 22 fantastic drivers with us for Stampede.  From car paint (sorry not sorry, Harry!), to milkshakes, Starbucks runs, Sillabub, and laughing / rapping to our “special song”, this committee made an already incredible Stampede even more special.

 

With Dave, one of our trusty Courtesy Car Drivers on the Eve of Stampede 2014!

With Dave, one of our trusty Courtesy Car Drivers on the Eve of Stampede 2014!

 

Finally, to the Royalty Committee, there are no words to describe how grateful all three of us are for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This year not only did we get to experience a vast number of special and unique events but we grew as individuals, and as a team.  The life skills we’ve learned this year are invaluable, and most certainly be taken with us wherever we go in life. Thank you for all you have done behind the scenes to make this year so special. You run a phenomenal program, and we are so honoured to be able to say we were part of it.   Thank you for introducing us to what is sure to be a lifetime as part of the Stampede Family.

 

With Jenna Wood, extremely hard working Chair of the Royalty Committee and 5 Year Stampede Volunteer.

With Jenna Wood, extremely hard working Chair of the Royalty Committee and 5 Year Stampede Volunteer.

 

As bittersweet as passing our crowns on will be, I speak for Shannon, Stephanie, and myself when I say the Stampede will not be getting rid of us that easily. Once you’re accepted as part of this remarkable family, you’re here for a lifetime. Thank you to this incredible organization that has given us so much.

Queen Danica

 

Sustainable Stampede – little changes, big deal

With a “population” of nearly 1.3 million people over the course of 10 days, the waste produced on Stampede Park during the Calgary Stampede is… well… Super-sized.

Thanks to ramped-up sustainability initiatives, the Stampede is down-sizing the waste that ends up in landfill by boosting the volume it diverts for recycling, composting and repurposing. Small but steady changes make a huge impact.

organics

This year, the Stampede tripled the volume of paper and cardboard waste sent for recycling from the annual event. What made the big difference? Simply placing paper recycling collection bins alongside vendors so their boxes and paper ingredients bags make it to recycling instead of trash. Stampede staff noticed the vendor trash bins were filling up with these items, so they sprang into action to place paper recycling containers in spots convenient to the vendors, then directed their attention to the bins. The vendors jumped at the chance to do the right thing. Results: paper recycling tripled. Small change, big difference.

An increased focus on availability of grease and oil recycling bins accounted for an 80% jump in the volume of cooking oils sent for recycling into bio-fuels compared to last year’s Stampede.

The Calgary Stampede also made a small start towards a big change by contracting DIG (Doing it Green) to create three waste separation stations that were manned by volunteers. These folks helped guests with their trash, physically showing them how to separate out items like pizza boxes and napkins from food leftovers, and plastic lids from paper cups. These three stations alone diverted more than 10,000 lbs of waste from landfill, most of which were organic leftovers for composting.

waste separations

This kind of impact from only three locations… Imagine the impact when waste separation stations can be located throughout our entire Park!

Stampede officials say the waste stations also accounted for an almost doubling of bottles collected during 2014 Stampede. They believe this personal reminder for guests to find a bottle bin instead of a trash bin helped boost recycling rates dramatically, not only diverting landfill, but also boosting the revenues for the charitable organizations that cash in the bottles as a fundraiser.

plastics

Stampede also doubled the recycling from its two major morning breakfasts hosted on Park during the Stampede. In 2013, Suncor Energy led the way with an initiative to make its Suncor Family Day breakfast green by ensuring all materials, including utensils and plates – were recyclable. So from a breakfast that served 20,000 people, the only waste for the landfill fit in about two kitchen bags. This recyclable materials focus continued again for 2014’s Suncor Family Day, expanding to include the BMO Kids Day breakfast as well. Result – double the waste reduction achieved by duplicating a great green idea.

Beyond the intensity of our 10-day event, Sustainable Stampede forges forward all year-round. Our kitchens now compost about 80% of the waste produced through year-round catering and meals produced, diverting between 4,000 kg and 7,000 kg of food waste each month from landfill with the help of P.E.L. Recycling company. Many more initiatives reduce water use, carbon and energy footprints, and provide eco-system management on our property. Learn more at http://corporate.calgarystampede.com/about/environment.html

 

Cows and the Heat: What We Do To Help

Today we have another guest post from farmer Jill Burkhardt of Crooked Lake Farms near Edmonton, where she and her husband are 5th generation farmers raising Angus-cross cattle on grass land with their two children. You can follow Jill on Twitter and their farm on Facebook. Jill previously wrote on how to help cows in the cold weather.

This past summer temperatures spiked close to 30ºC here at the farm. While many don’t consider that hot compared to other areas of Alberta, across Canada, or the world; cattle thrive quite well in hot conditions.

Different breeds of cattle are better suited for hotter environments over others. The cattle we raise on our farm are better suited for cold climates since we do not have hot temperatures over long periods of time. Our cattle lose their “winter coat,” long thick hair that keeps them warm in the winter, and have a nice sleek coat of short, thin hair in the summer.

Cow Summer Coat

Our cattle are out on lush green pasture all summer long. While they are grazing, we provide them with an unlimited supply of cool, fresh water available in troughs for them to drink. The average 1200 lb cow will drink approximately 50L a day and can drink double that on a hot day! Imagine consuming 100L of water in 1 day!

Water TroughWhile the cattle are grazing on pasture, they also need shelter to help them keep cool. All our pastures have treed areas in them where the cattle gather on hot days. Cattle will also gather in coulees, on hilltops to catch breezes on hot days, and will even go wading in dugouts or waterways.

Cows in ShadeKeeping cattle stress-free on hot days also helps keep them cool. When it is very hot out, we try not to work or move them to another pasture. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, and then we move them in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler out. Transporting cattle when it’s extremely hot out can also cause a lot of stress, so again if we have to transport them it is in the early morning or evening.

While we do not deal with extreme heat in Alberta, like they do in other parts of the world, keeping the cattle cool during heat waves is another way farmers and ranchers help and care for their animals.

Horse magic with Jonathan Field and Friends

Jonathan Field – Tapping into an ancient approach to the human-horse relationship, Jonathan works to spread his message of observance, patience and understanding…

So begins this beautiful excerpt from his half hour documentary “Harmony with Horses”.

This weekend, you can experience Jonathan’s extraordinary horsemanship at the Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Conference in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Jonathan Fields_1Today, Jonathan gave a special presentation to 28 Grade 5 Stampede School students. “I want to show the kids that if we can learn to communicate with horses, we can do incredible things,” he said.

Jonathan and the children went through the differences between humans and horses: the position of our eyes and ears. Humans communicate verbally, horses through body language. The fact that horses are a prey species and therefore care deeply about being safe. All of these things, he explained, are important to fully understanding a horse.

Jonathan Fields_2

Jonathan Fields_

He explained horse herd mentality and how every herd has a natural hierarchy. “This will be a herd of six–five horses and me.” Jonathan, in his demonstration, would get the herd to work together, with himself as the leader. So that free wheeling horses, Jonathan Fields_3would become one. Jonathan Fields_4Watching Jonathan with the horses is nothing short of enchanting and the conference this weekend is the first of its kind. You can still get tickets here.

Blake Shelton is coming to the 2015 Stampede!

Are you as excited as we are that Blake Shelton is coming to the 2015 Stampede for the Virgin Mobile Stampede Concert Series? This announcement comes fresh off his amazing performance on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Blake Shelton will be performing July 10- and tickets go on sale next Friday, September 26 at 10 a.m. You can purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster or by calling 1.855.5000.

 

Stampede Stories with Oliver Perry

Born in 1919, Oliver Lewis Perry spent much of his youth exploring Guy Weadick’s ranch near High River. He remembers Guy Weadick and Flores La Due fondly, saying that when he was over, “Mr. Weadick did the cooking…he’d have pancakes.”

In September, the Calgary Stampede Historical committee had the opportunity to interview Perry about his life and his memories of Weadick and La Due.

Perry was born in Kamloops, BC, on July 12, 1919. Before Perry started school, his family relocated to central Alberta, and later Banff. Then, around 1928, his father took a job in High River.

Perry remembers his first encounter with Weadick and La Due: his father’s manager asked Perry if he “wanted to go fishing”; naturally, the 10-year-old agreed. He thus joined the crew hauling supplies up the Highwood River and, in his words, became the “official gate opener.” He ended up staying overnight at Weadick and La Due’s ranch while the crew continued up the river. That visit started a 30-year relationship with the founder of the Calgary Stampede, Guy Weadick, and world-renowned trick rider Flores La Due.

Guy Weadick

 

Introducing the Calgary Stampede’s new bridge

The Calgary Stampede is known for having the best in all things western and ever since last year has become known for the flood of 2013; the new bridge on Stampede Park brings both of these together! The Stampede began installing a new bridge to replace the blue bridge that was washed away in last year’s flood. This new bridge will be more durable and flood resistant. It also takes into consideration our western heritage by adding in western features, for example, the “bracing members” on the bridge were designed high enough above the bridge deck to allow a person on horseback to comfortably pass below the bridge structure!

Weadick Bridge - view from river

The Stampede has worked with many partners to ensure the new bridge is environmentally friendly and flood mitigated. In fact, there are approximately 20 local and Canadian firms working on this project! Robert Clarke, senior project coordinator at Graham, Rick Speigelberg, project manager at Lawson Projects, and Jim Bellingham, capital projects and construction manager at the Calgary Stampede, shared their insights on this project.

There are many types of bridges built for different purposes. The Stampede’s new bridge is a single span steel arch bridge spanning 46.5 meters from abutment to abutment. Since the bridge is supported on each bank, with no pier in the water, floating materials will not get caught on the structure, it is less invasive to river bottom and there is no obstruction for rafters using the river. This design respects the Elbow Rivers spawning grounds of brown trout. The Stampede always strives to ensure that all projects in and around the river are compatible to this important fish and wildlife habitat.

Weadick Bridge - close up of workers

Considering the Stampede’s old bridge was washed away in last year’s floor, the new bridge has many features to protect it against future flooding. The bridge has a concrete-filled steel tube below flood level to combat impact damage on the steel arch section and large rip-rap (small boulders) placed on the bank to protect the soil on the bank from erosion. As mentioned above, the single span design of the bridge not only minimizes environmental intrusion, but avoids placing a portion of the bridge in the floodway.

The bridge deck is also significantly higher than the old bridge deck. Previously, the elevation of the 2013 flood was approximately 1.0 meter above the bridge deck. With the new design, the 2013 flood would have only touched the face of the deck edge beams. Another great feature of the bridge is that during high water flows, the bridge is designed for water to flow over the deck and the hand rails were designed to fold down. This allows floating debris to pass over the bridge and reduces the chance of materials in the river getting caught on the structure.

Weadick Bridge - employee in basket

The bridge’s installation began on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 and required the help of a 500 ton crane, which is one of the largest mobile cranes available; the crane was used to hoist the assembled arch over the river. Pending weather and other factors, the Stampede anticipates that the bridge will open in May of 2015.

Weadick Bridge - employees working

This bridge is a great glimpse into the Stampede’s near future as it will act as a gateway from Stampede Park to ENMAX Park. ENMAX Park will lay along the Elbow River and will be a beautiful inner city public park, a new gathering placeand the future home of the Stampede’s Aboriginal peoples’ programming and Indian Village. For more information on the Stampede’s expansion projects, visit http://foundation.calgarystampede.com/.

Weadick Bridge - in landscape

 

 

Below the stage, behind the chutes, in the barns…and September Stampede pancakes! Doors Open YYC comes to the Stampede Grandstand

On the weekend of September 27 and 28, the Calgary Stampede Grandstand is participating in Doors Open YYC. For the first time ever, Calgarians will have the opportunity to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of all of the places that are filled with Young Canadians, cowboys and livestock during Stampede time.

This year, the Grandstand turned 40 years old. During Doors Open YYC, you can get to know this icon of Stampede Park, which has seen 40 Stampedes, 40 Grandstand shows, roughly 240 rodeo champions and 4,000 chuckwagon races. It has also been a vaccination clinic, emergency shelter during cold snaps and is regularly used as a training ground for Calgary Police Services – not to mention that it becomes haunted every Halloween. (@screamcalgary)

Guided tours will run every half hour and will visit the following locations:

  1. “100 Years of Champions”

This is the tour start-point, located right outside the main doors. For those of us suffering from Stampede time withdrawal symptoms, the Downtown Attractions committee will be serving up free pancake breakfasts. While you’re eating, take a look at the new public art installation called, “100 Years of Champions.” This centennial project remembers all of the cowboy and cowgirl rodeo and chuckwagon champions since Tom Three Persons rode Cyclone to victory in the very first Stampede of 1912.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede

  1. The Eye-in-the-Sky

Come and see the best seats in the house in the “eye-in-the-sky,” the Grandstand broadcast booth. It’s from here that Calgary icons Joe Carbury and now Les McIntyre call the chuckwagon races, and that judges evaluate the rodeo competitors. Volunteers from the Chuckwagon committee will tell you all of the juicy stories about watching cowboys and cowgirls from these elite seats, in elite company.

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin

  1. Under the Stage

If you’ve ever been to the Transalta Grandstand show, you’ve seen The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede spring up from a place where, just minutes before, chuckwagons were racing across the dirt. On the tour you will go underneath the stage and see the inner workings of the iconic Grandstand Show. Visit dressing rooms, see how the stage moves and get a feel for what it’s like to go onstage in front of a sold-out crowd.

Photo Credit: Kevin Bernhardt / Calgary Stampede

  1. The Infield

In the first Stampede of 1912, there were no enclosed infield or chutes. Cowboys and cowgirls had to get on their bucking horses in the middle of the field, creating many difficult and awkward moments; the horses had the entire range of the track, and many raced far out of view of the Grandstand audience. Since then, the Stampede learned its lesson and now has an Infield and chutes that are leaders in animal safety, rider safety and give the audience amazing views and experiences. Come and get a look at how the chutes operate and hear stories from Rodeo committee volunteers.

CS.000.35.19 - Miss Lucille Mulhall, 1912

  1. The Barns

The tour will end with a walk through the barns, where all of the Stampede livestock are housed during Stampede time. Plus, the 2014 Grandstand Show was called Barnburner for a reason: it’s back here where the cowboys and cowgirls party during Stampede. The 2013 flood devastated the barns, but hard work by employees and volunteers meant that they could host animals that year. Since then, the H Barn was improved using flood-resistant materials, new concrete floors and a specially reinforced wall to help keep out any water. Volunteers from the Chuckwagon committee will tell stories about the flood mitigation efforts and stories from past Stampedes.

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede

Doors Open YYC runs at the Stampede on Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, September 28 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tours every half hour. For more information please visit Doors Open YYC.

Who will wear the 2015 Calgary Stampede crowns?

You’re invited to the crowning of the 2015 Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses!

The contest to crown the 2015 Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses began September 4, 2015. This exciting and challenging contest runs over the course of four weeks. Royalty hopefuls will demonstrate their skills in horseback riding, public speaking, formal and informal conversation, and during panel interviews to vie for a position as Calgary Stampede Queen or Princess.

Royalty Crowning

The Stampede Queen and Princesses represent the Calgary Stampede at various local, national and international events throughout their year-long reign. They are ambassadors for the Stampede’s western heritage and values, spreading western hospitality at each of the more than 300 events they attend each year. The contest each September aims to select three ladies who will work together and alongside the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess to bring the Stampede spirit to people near and far.

Royalty with IP

The Royalty Committee would like to extend an invitation to the Final Equestrian Competition and Crowning on September 29, an exciting event full of equine entertainment and culminating in the crowning of the 2015 Queen and Princesses!

The event takes place at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 29. It is open to the public, and promises to be a great evening.

Royalty AWEC

As the final event of the 2015 contest, you will see the top six Queen and Princesses finalists riding a pattern of their own design to music. A demonstration by Smokin’ Aces Trick Riding and Jim Anderson and Maverick, winners of the 2014 Road to the Horse competition, will provide excellent entertainment. The current Stampede Queen and Princesses will say farewell and thank you for their great year. Finally, the exciting conclusion of this event is when the new Queen and Princesses are crowned on horseback to begin their year as the newest Calgary Stampede ambassadors.

The Royalty Committee would love to meet you and your family at this event. Hope to see you there!
Royalty Current Trio

5 ways marching band is better than the gym

Not many would think to hit the marching band rehearsal field when they decide to get in shape, but Calgary Stampede Showband members Logan Clarke (clarinet) and Dylan Rutledge (snare drum) told us that marching band has been a big part of their healthy lifestyle and increased fitness over the past year. If you’re interested in seeing proof that the marching arts give a serious workout, this recent Drum Corps International blog post shows some seriously impressive before-and-after photos. Wondering how marching band members defy stereotypes and get in great shape? Here are five ways that we think marching band is better than your local gym for getting fit:

1. You get to be cultured AND get a great workout

Most students join marching band because they enjoy playing their instruments and love performing, but few anticipate how physically demanding it will be. The Showband works hard year round: it plays challenging music for its summer field show and catchy pop music hits for parades, has indoor percussion and winter guard productions, and has an award-winning concert band program. Plus, members get to travel to some pretty amazing places, like Brazil and Japan. Now THAT’S balance.

2. You won’t know that you are getting in shape

Logan and Dylan didn’t intend to get fit when they joined marching band, but constantly hustling back to their spots during rehearsals and walking at fast paces from performance to performance is a surprisingly rigorous cardio workout.  Plus, holding up instruments for the duration of rehearsals and performances (Dylan’s drum weighs about 45 lbs!) helps members to become strong and toned. According to Logan, it’s easy to get in shape and stay there when you have another goal in mind. Over the season, she says she saw the whole band get faster and stronger. Dylan told us, “The greatest benefit I found from rehearsing was working towards something I loved and getting better at it with each rep. At the beginning of the year I found my self having to catch my breath and sweating a lot from the exertion required to march; the physical strain was difficult at times but by the end of the year I was feeling great and doing long reps in the hot sun actually started to feel good”.

Dylan Rutledge3. You’ll eat healthy, especially when it isn’t convenient

With an extremely busy schedule during the 10-day Stampede, Showband members eat healthy meals and snacks organized by the Stampede Band Committee and parent volunteers. Even when they have to pack their own lunches, students quickly learn that they need to eat balanced meals and stay hydrated to make it through long rehearsals. Dylan made a decision to be healthy about a year ago, dramatically increasing his water intake and replacing processed foods with whole foods. In just a few weeks he found that he had lost excess weight, his self-confidence soared, and band rehearsals were less of an exertion.

Logan Clarke4. Rehearsals are more fun than treadmills and weights

Your average treadmill routine can get stale pretty quickly, but marching band rehearsal keeps members on their toes! Showband members rehearse more than 800 hours each year, most of that playing their instruments and marching. My Fitness Pal, an app/website that tracks calories consumed and burned, tells us that marching while playing an instrument (walking) burns 224 calories/hour, while marching rapidly burns an unexpected 398 calories/hour. Between instruments, props, choreography, and marching, Showband rehearsals and performances are serious (not to mention regular) work-outs. Plus, members are encouraged to run and lift weights outside of rehearsal to help with endurance during performances. Drum Corps International even provides a pre-season work-out guide  to help aspiring marchers to prepare for the rigors of drum corps.

5. 120 of your best friends are there to support you

Consider it the biggest and best group exercise activity around!

Logan Clarke is 17 years old and just finished her first year as a member of the Stampede Showband. Dylan Rutledge is 19 years old and is currently in his fourth year with the Showband. Dylan plans to audition for Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps based in Texas later this year.

What Snow in September Means for Farmers

It’s not unheard of to have snowfall in September in Alberta, but it is very rare. The last time it snowed in September was 10 years ago to the day, but that was only in Edmonton and it was about 2″ over 2 days. It was about 25ºC on Sunday September 7 and then on Monday the 8th we dropped 20º down to 5ºC with heavy, wet snow. We had 8″ of this snow land on our crops in Wheatland County and it has completely flattened our wheat down to the ground. Not only is it disheartening to see loads of the white stuff in a month where we’ve been known to have temperatures reach over 30ºC, but this adds a whole other stressor to finishing harvest this year on our 6000 acre grain farm.

Snowy Wheat
Luckily for us we have 1/3 of our crops off when some of our neighbours and fellow Albertans haven’t even had the chance to start harvest yet. It seems this year a lot of crops have been either hailed out or snowed out. The weather has not been kind to farmers, yet again proving why it requires faith like a mustard seed to be a farmer.

Snow in September

Snow in September
I asked my husband farmer what he thought about the remaining crops and he said “crop prices are down, yields are down, quality is down…and now the crop is down.” I cannot even express how downright sad this is to see our wheat crops flattened to the ground. The pictures I took just don’t do it justice.

A lot of people have asked me, when I’ve shared snowy pictures on Facebook and Instagram, how this affects the rest of harvest for us. To elaborate on what my husband said, wheat usually stands up tall making it easy for the combine to harvest it. As it was with yields this year and the lack of moisture when we needed it, the crops didn’t grow like we’d hoped and we were just breaking even with the cost of how much it is to plant the crop and how much wheat is selling for right now. With the snow laying the wheat down flat to the ground, this is going to be substantially harder for the combines to “pick it up” off the ground to harvest it. Essentially we’re going to spend 50% more time combining and have more risk for plugging the combine, damaging the combine, cutting our speed almost in half and the quality of wheat will go down because of moisture damage—it’s truly a big loss in revenue.

Snow in September

This is our real life and what it takes to be a farmer—it’s not for the faint of heart. These are the risks we take growing crops to help feed the world. But? It’s our life and our passion and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

A Farm Boy Comes Back to a Career in Agriculture

Darryl ChubbPassionate about agriculture, the land and its stewards, Daryl Chubb has always appreciated his central Saskatchewan farming roots. After completing his Bachelor of Science at the University of Saskatchewan, he went on to manage a major crop enterprise business, and most recently, start his own agriculture consulting firm, DeNovo Ag in 2012. He has obtained his Professional Agrologist (P.Ag) designation while remaining very involved in the ag industry, both personally and professionally through volunteer contributions to a diversity of industry boards and committees. You can follow him on Twitter @DarylChubb.

Growing up in rural Saskatchewan cultivated my passion for agriculture at a very early age. I would have given anything to spend my days on the tractor with my dad or doing chores instead of going to school, I loved farming and everything it had to offer. However, after graduating high school in the mid 90’s, I vowed that farming was not for me. Farming was not lucrative, it was financially burdensome and a tough profession. I went out to work on my own, but still came home in the spring and fall to help my parents with their workload.

I found myself jumping from job to job without any sense of accomplishment or progression. Granted, I had lots of fun, but was lacking the “career” I had aspired for myself. Three years after graduating from high school, I applied for university and in the fall of 1998, I was enrolled to attend the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan. The decision to go back to university revived my passion for the ag industry.  Studying and classroom settings were not my forté, I enjoyed the outdoors and working much more, albeit university was a major stepping stone for me to begin my career. I garnered industry contacts, earned the opportunity to study abroad, gained key employment opportunities and met amazing people and lifelong friends along the way. In 2002 I graduated with a degree in Crop Science and very respectable grades.

After University, my wife and I tried to go back to the family farm, but there were too many hurdles to overcome with debt, equipment, BSE and drought. I was able to gain some great industry experience while employed with grain and chemical companies and managing a grain operation.

The premise of my story on this blog is to express how passion can turn into dreams.  Passion helped me to acquire a university education, gain necessary experience and build industry contacts among other key attributes. Today I am operating a successful agriculture consulting company influencing 32 000 acres. I have recently been awarded the Nuffield Scholarship allowing me to extend my knowledge of agriculture and travel the world.

Special Delivery: Canuck bucks hit the coast

When cowboys know the Calgary Stampede’s legendary bucking stock is coming to the party, they come prepared to walk away with a pocketful of cash.

Even amongst the Stampede’s strong stable of stars, Special Delivery stands a head above the herd. This powerful and spirited stallion is renowned amongst the bareback cowboys for his consistency and reliability to bring the buck when it matters. Son of many-time CFR and NFR qualifier mare Z-38 Zippy Delivery, sired by six-time world champion Grated Coconut, Special Delivery was named the 2012 Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a CFR and NFR qualifier of note.

SpecialDeliveryCS2014

Special Delivery (pictured above CS2014)  has been proving this again on the rodeo trails that lead through Oregon, Washington and into B.C.’s interior. He paired up with Steven Peebles to rock out an 87-point ride to win the bareback championship at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston Oregon on August 9th. After resting up, Special Delivery did a rare switch-hit into the saddle bronc event at Canby, Oregon, scoring an 84-point ride with Joaquin Rael.

LynxMntnCS2014

As strong as Special Delivery was, another Stampede horse took the top ride in Canby’s saddle bronc event. Lynx Mountain (pictured above CS2014) had her way with Isaac Diaz to score 88 points to win the championship.

simplymarvelllouskitsap

Simply Marvellous was also utterly that this past weekend at the Kitsap Stampede in Bremerton, Washington, with virtually vertical bucks that cowboy Dusty Hausauer just couldn’t keep up with, as seen in this picture (above).

Special Delivery and his fellow stars are now bouncing between Armstrong BC and Ellensberg. Special Delivery bucks Wednesday night in Armstrong, then takes a short jaunt up the highway for a starring role in the Ellensburg final round on Monday. He’ll have some bovine company for the trip, since 10 of the Stampede’s top bulls are scheduled to amp up the excitement at Ellensberg’s PRCA Extreme Bull event this coming Saturday night and the rodeo’s final round on the Monday. Amongst the toughest will be I’m a Gangsta and Low Life, two of the Stampede’s bucking stock that instill the most respect and fear amongst bull riders.

More to come on how those showdowns play out in the coming days and weeks, as the Stampede stock continues to stamp their brand across the northwest part of the continent.

 

The Summer of the Wild Warriors that Deliver

This may be the Chinese Year of the Horse, but so far it’s been a summer of the “wild warrior delivery” from the Calgary Stampede’s bucking stock at various Canadian rodeos throughout the summer.

Two horses from the famed “Warrior” lineage took the top prizes early in the season. Born from mare Fearless Warrior by legendary sire Grated Coconut, full brother and sister Tiger Warrior and Stampede Warrior have been tearing up the circuit.

TigerWarriorCS2014

Fiery stallion Tiger Warrior (pictured above at CS2014)led the charge at Ponoka on the July long weekend, taking the halter for the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Ponoka Stampede. He followed it up with strong performances during the Calgary Stampede, winning a first-place split with Heath Moss in Pool A then later teaming up with Cody Wright in the final 10 on Showdown Sunday.

StampedeWarriorCS2014

Tiger Warrior’s full sister Stampede Warrior (pictured above at CS2014) wowed the crowd and won the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Calgary Stampede. The mare showed her power on the Showdown Sunday’s Final Four performance, paired up with Canadian cowboy Dustin Flundra to score an 89 point ride that helped lift Dustin to his first-ever Calgary Stampede Championship win. Stampede Warrior has been astounding throughout the 2014 season, shattering the Rodeo Houston record with a virtually perfect 94-point ride with Cody DeMoss earlier in the spring.

wild cherry 1

Wild Cherry (pictured above CS2013) brought the “wild” to the Curtis Glencross Invitation Rodeo event at the Daines Ranch near Innsifail this past weekend. Created by the Calgary Flames’ star forward, the event raised almost $200,000 for Ronald McDonald House and Hockey Alberta last year. This year, the Calgary Stampede bucking stock did their part to make the event a success for the cowboys and spectators alike. Wild Cherry, born from mare Flavoured Cherry and six-time world champion Grated Coconut, lived up to his championship lineage by carrying saddle bronc rider Sam Kelts to an 88-point ride, winning Kelts the rodeo and a new truck in the process. This is one of Wild Cherry’s first appearances on the rodeo circuit in 2014, sitting out for recovery from a foot surgery earlier in the spring. Now fully healed, this gelding showed he’s back on top of his game once again.

As the prairie rodeos wind down a bit, the Stampede’s best broncs and bulls hit the road for the coast, with a series of top-ranked pro rodeos throughout Washington, Oregon and B.C.’s interior.

4H Rodeo teaches the ropes to youngsters

Almost 70 young aspiring cowboys and cowgirls learned the ropes of their industry at the 17th annual Calgary Stampede Invitational 4H Rodeo this past weekend.

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The Stampede hosted the 4H students, aged nine to 20 years old, at the Agrium Western Event Centre on August 23 and 24, making this the first rodeo to be held in the new tailored livestock facility. The Stampede hosts the 4H Rodeo annually to give the youngsters a solid grounding in their sport, in rodeo production, livestock handling and animal care. Alongside the competition, the young rodeo competitors take part in educational sessions aimed at stepping up their game in all these topics and more.

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While rodeo is familiar, many of the events are not generally well-known in non-rodeo circles. Time events like thread-the-needle, pole-bending and goat-tying are the training grounds for younger athletes and their horses before graduating to tie-down roping and barrel racing.

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Learn more in this video interview from Global TV Morning News.

http://globalnews.ca/video/1523378/calgary-stampede-4h-rodeo