Allie Patch teaches us the importance of learning new things

Allie Patch has been playing trumpet as a member of the Calgary Stampede Showband since 2012. A linguistics major at the University of Calgary, she’s now the Showband’s brass captain, a member of leadership team, and teaches brass to junior high age students in the Calgary Round-Up Band. As a member of the Showband, she rehearses weekly and once a month on weekends for concert band performances and learning the Showband’s summer field show production. In addition to teaching and school work, this makes for a pretty busy schedule! On top of all this, Allie decided to learn color guard this year for the first time and joined Calgary’s prestigious Dynamic Winterguard.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is immerse yourself in something completely different.”

In color guard, often referred to as the “sport of the arts”, performers use props and movement to tell a story with music. Most marching bands and drum corps have a color guard, but many groups perform on their own during the winter season as “winter guards”. Most color guard performers start early, learning and honing their skills in junior high and high school. Allie, an already accomplished musician and third year university student, decided to take up color guard this fall, “After playing so many kinds of instruments growing up, I wanted to try something new. Some things have come easier than others – hard rifle tosses are difficult – but it has been a really fun challenge.”


Allie, performing with Dynamic Winterguard earlier this season.

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An Interview with Princess Chelsey

Howdy everyone!

Queen Maggie here. It’s so good to be back! Hope everyone stayed well over the holidays. I’m here today to fill you in on the fun loving, bow hunting, show jumping Princess, Chelsey Jacobson.

Chelsey was born in Thunder Bay Ontario and moved to Alberta at the ripe old age of three. Chelsey grew up as your typical horse-crazy kid, toting around on whatever horse or pony was on the acreage at the time. She started riding English when she was about 12 and soon discovered showjumping. Chelsey went off to Olds College before beginning to work in the sport horse world on a breeding and training farm, then for a few well respected trainers in the jumping world, before deciding to try something new and winding up here!


Chelsey as a young goat wrangler.

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Community spirit spreading through 2016 with Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede has been creating memories for our community for more than 100 years, bringing excitement through spectacular shows, rural connections through programming, intrigue through interesting food combinations and more; but do you really know the people who make up the Calgary Stampede? Check out our new #GreatestTogether Stampede selfie video to see the faces behind the Stampede.

#GreatestTogether video on Youtube

#GreatestTogether video on Youtube

More than 2,200 volunteers, 1,200 full-time and part-time employees, and 4,000 seasonal Stampede time employees dedicate their time and energy to help put on The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. These combined 7,500 people are dedicated to creating a space, every year, for people to come together and celebrate. No matter how our city evolves, the Stampede is committed to remaining a home for our guests to come together to celebrate Stampede spirit in their own way.

Stampede volunteers and employees having fun during the video shoot.

Stampede volunteers and employees having fun during the video shoot.

While it may be true that many of our one million guests think about pancake breakfasts, free concerts, double-deep-fried foods, heart-pounding Midway rides, thrilling agriculture competitions and the Stampede Rodeo and GMC Rangerland Derby, we hope you will understand the people who bring you these experiences.

One hundred per cent of the Stampede’s board of directors are volunteers, meaning they are all donating their time and expertise without being paid. These men and women truly live for western hospitality and the joy they feel bringing our community together.

Stampede first vice-chairman, David Sibbald (L), president & chairman of the board, Bill Gray (C), second vice-chairman, Dana Peers (R)

Stampede first vice-chairman, David Sibbald (L), president & chairman of the board, Bill Gray (C), second vice-chairman, Dana Peers (R)

Did you know, the Stampede is a not-for-profit organization? This means that every dollar the Stampede makes is reinvested to further our year-round programs and to fund the facilities and infrastructure of Stampede Park. The Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Stampede Foundation have numerous year-round youth development programs taking place on Stampede Park and at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch. Our youth programs are suitable for all ages. Click to learn more about each of the programs: Stampede School, Stampede Showband, OH Ranch Education Program, Journey 2050, and The Young Canadians School of the Performing Arts.

Students engage with horses at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch. Most students in the OH Ranch Education program are from urban backgrounds and this is their first opportunity to interact with livestock.

Students engage with horses at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch. Most students in the OH Ranch Education program are from urban backgrounds and this is their first opportunity to interact with livestock.

We encourage you to come down to Stampede Park, our year-round gathering place for the community, to take part in a variety of events, programs and experiences throughout the year. Calgary’s community spirit is what makes us #GreatestTogether!  



Bell Let’s Talk – Calgary Stampede employees join the effort to end the stigma around mental illness

It’s first thing in the morning, January 27. Before settling into their desks and getting down to work for the day, a handful of Calgary Stampede employees gather for a conversation and a quick photo in support of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign.

Calgary Stampede employees gather to support the #BellLetsTalk initiative.

Calgary Stampede employees gather to support the #BellLetsTalk initiative.

At the same time, around Stampede Park, across Calgary and throughout Canada, similar conversations are being started through the photos and messages of support posted to social media with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk. The annual Bell Let’s Talk Day engages Canadians in a cross-country conversation in an effort to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. For every social media mention, as well as every text or call on the Bell network on January 27, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs.


This year’s campaign achieved record-breaking participation and Bell has announced it will be donating nearly $6.3 million.


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From the Stampede to the big screen

Jordie Fike, chuckwagon driver, dressed for his role in The Revenant.

Jordie Fike, chuckwagon driver, dressed for his role in The Revenant.

“They even yellowed our teeth, the attention to detail was unbelievable!”

Jordie Fike looks almost unrecognizable, dressed to perform as a Special Skill Extra, or SSE, for the highly acclaimed movie The Revenant. But as an accomplished chuckwagon driver and lifelong horseman, it wasn’t just his ability to look the part that secured Fike a position with the production filming on location in Alberta last spring.

“Chuckwagon drivers know how to take care of horses, that’s what we do.” says Fike, who also acted as a Wrangler for the shoot, adding “It’s the reason we were there, we know how to read their cues and react in any situation.”

Revenant - Academy Award nominations

The Revenant is nominated for 12 Academy Awards and has already won three Golden Globes with its dramatic action and striking scenes, many of which involve horses.  It is based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a trapper attacked by a bear and left for dead.  The film follows Glass as he struggles to return to civilization and seek revenge on those who abandoned him. Continue reading

Step into the Past and get a Glimpse of the Future

We know that the Calgary Stampede celebrates western heritage and the history of southern Alberta. But did you know that for many years, one of the most popular draws for people coming to the Stampede was to get a glimpse of the future?

Before the internet made mass communication of innovations possible, people looked to annual events like exhibits and fairs for the latest and greatest marvels. The 1930s were a difficult time for everyone; a drought affected western agriculture while the stock market crash of 1929 wreaked havoc on every aspect of the economy. The 1934 Stampede delivered a welcome escape from these troubles. That year, visitors were treated to a futuristic display in the Exhibits Building: a giant TV and Alpha the Robot.

The 1934 Stampede poster advertised Alpha and a Giant Television.

The 1934 Stampede poster advertised Alpha and a Giant Television.

During the height of radio, television was a novelty. The Stampede contracted General Television Corporation of Canada, Limited to set up a TV and air content. The unit weighed nearly 1,800 lbs (817 kgs) and sat in the Exhibitis Building on a four-foot-high platform. On the poster, the TV was advertised as “A Free Educational Exhibit.” Continue reading

Meet our Princes!


Howdy everyone & Happy New Year!

As Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I prepare for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and continue our journey as the Royal Trio, we find ourselves spending a lot of time with three dashing princes – our horses, of course! Riding is a big part of becoming a Stampede Queen or Princess; there are three different equestrian portions throughout our competition and improving our horsemanship is an integral part of our year as Stampede Royalty. Banner1

Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I riding Snoopy, Hawk and Kansas in our final riding competition

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Catching up with 2016 Stampede Talent Search Champion, Christian Hudson.

Christian Hudson made media headlines when he donated his 2015 Stampede Talent Search $10,000 cash Grand Prize to the Calgary Drop-in Centre. We caught up with him this winter and discovered that this remarkable young man’s list of accomplishments keeps growing.

Christian's quirky personality as captured during his Grand Prize photo shoot courtesy of Stampede Talent Search Sponsor, Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo (Photo Credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

Christian’s quirky personality as captured during his Grand Prize photo shoot courtesy of Stampede Talent Search Sponsor, Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo. (Photo Credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

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Showband Tour 2016: Midwest USA

What does the Calgary Stampede Showband do the week before the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth? They go on tour across the Midwestern United States of course! This summer, the Showband will travel to perform in Minnesota and Wisconsin from June 24 to July 5, 2016, coming back to Calgary just in time for the 10-day Calgary Stampede.

In 2015, the Showband won "Best in Show" at DCI's SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

In 2015, the Showband won “Best in Show” at DCI’s SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

Taking their unique brand of western hospitality and performance on the road, the Showband’s tour will include a stop at the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Showband will perform in the Vikingland Band Festival parade (which features only marching bands!) and will perform its 2016 field production in exhibition at the what is considered the largest and most prestigious summer marching band competition in the Midwest. Continue reading

Stampede Stock with a Sensational Start in 2016

Calgary Stampede bucking horses are off to a great start in 2016!  46 of our best are in the United States, putting up some big scores and wowing the crowds at their first rodeo of the year, the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.

“We had a great weekend, the horses were awesome!” said Keith Marrington, who travels with the stock for the Calgary Stampede. Crowds were huge at the performances on the first weekend of the rodeo, and Marrington says Stampede horses made a big impression. “All of our horses performed extremely well, with the highlight being R-82 Reckless Margie.”

Reckless Margie carried Texas cowboy Jake Brown for a 90 point ride in the Bareback event on Sunday. It was by far the biggest score of the first weekend of competition, and mirrors Reckless Margie’s success at the end of 2015 at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.  Jake Brown also rode well on another Calgary Stampede horse, Turkish Whisky, on Saturday.  He now leads the average in the Bareback riding by five points.

In Saddle bronc, our Umber Bubbles teamed up with Ben Londo for 83 points and a second round win on Sunday. But it’s Jacobs Crawley leading the average after rides on Stampede horses Mad Money and Loganberry.  Sitting in second after two is Clay Elliot, thanks in part to an 80 point score on Shoshone Mountain.

The horses will stay in Denver and continue competing though to January 24. They will then move from Colorado to Texas, for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in early February.

If you are curious about the individual scores our Calgary Stampede horses earn while on the road in the US, more information can be found in the Stock Stats section of the PRCA website.

Find out more about the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver here.

Looking Forward to a Great 2016 for Calgary Stampede

Happy New Year to all and I wish all of the employees and volunteers a safe and prosperous 2016. It was a busy end to 2015, with a number of events taking place on Stampede Park. The Stampede was also represented at the National Rodeo Finals (NFR) in Las Vegas, which I was fortunate to attend and see the CS bucking stock in action.

Grey Cup

I was very pleased to see our Sponsorship department activate the Calgary Stampede cabin at the Cowboy Christmas trade show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Thanks to all our volunteers, including the Calgary Stampede Royalty, for taking the time to help host visitors at the CS display.

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Chef Roger Breton shapes a sugar palace for Ronald McDonald House

Chef Roger Breton is known across Stampede Park for his enthusiasm, bright smile and trademark, “GIDDY UP!” greeting. His kitchen colleagues and Wild West Chef interns are familiar with his big heart and impressive sculpting abilities but it wasn’t until a chance glance at the Calgary Stampede blog that gave chef Breton the chance to share his sweet skills with the community.

Pictured: Chef Breton hand delivered his sugar masterpiece to Ronald McDonald House on Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pictured: Chef Breton hand delivered his sugar masterpiece to Ronald McDonald House on Sunday, December 20, 2015

Once a month, employees from the Stampede Food & Beverage department round up their teams to rustle up brunch for Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern Alberta families. Chef Breton, who signed up for the December shift, wanted his first House visit to be a super sweet one. Continue reading

My Inspiration

Throughout the past month, I’ve travelled and met some wonderful people. I was able to attend Grey Cup in Winnipeg and it’s an experience I will never forget. I rode in my first parade on a horse, brought a little western hospitality to St. Gerard School, and served some delicious pancakes with the Calgary Grey Cup Committee. I also bonded with my Royalty sisters, who are by the way the best AC/DC singers you’ll ever meet. There wasn’t a time where we weren’t all laughing or making everyone around us smile. I had a moment where I was feeling down and they unexpectly came up to me and just gave me a big hug, then made me laugh. They’ve become my family away from home, while I continue this journey as the 2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. For that, I’m so thankful – Maggie, Chelsey, and Bailie this is going to be a year we will never forget and I’m happy I get to share it with you lovely ladies.

IMG_4093 (3) Continue reading

Royalty in Las Vegas

Hey y’all! Princess Chelsey here, returned in one piece from Viva Las Vegas! What a busy couple of weeks we’ve had, coming back from Winnipeg to head South only four days later!

It was both Queen Maggie’s and my very first time in Vegas, so luckily we had Princess Bailee and Indian Princess Vanessa to show us the ropes. Don’t worry, we were behaved and brought a heap of western hospitality to share.

We went down to experience the National Finals Rodeo, so not unlike our own Stampede week, the city had turned western! A few more bright lights than we’re used to, but just as many cowboy hats I think! We spent a lot of our time at Cowboy Christmas at the Calgary Stampede booth, promoting the Stampede and entering people to win a trip for two up our way in July. If you don’t know what Cowboy Christmas is, imagine the largest building you’ve ever been in, double that, and then fill it with all kinds of booths selling rodeo gear, western apparel, horse trailers, and more pairs of cowboy boots than I knew even existed! So in other words, heaven on earth. Needless to say, I came home a few dollars poorer.


I even found a hoverboard at Cowboy Christmas! (I’ll stick to walking though) Continue reading

Sending sweet holiday wishes with Calgary seniors

The holidays are a time for giving, spreading cheer and sharing our Stampede spirit with the community! When West Jet reached out to the Calgary Stampede to participate in their coast-to-coast 12,000 mini miracles in 24 hours quest, we leapt at the chance to help make Christmas just a little more merry for some Calgary seniors.

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