The time when the Amazing Spider-Man came to the Stampede (and happy Comic and Entertainment Expo!)

This weekend is the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in BMO Centre, an exciting weekend where geeks like me can meet their favourite hobbits. Stampede Park will be crawling with aliens, superheroes, time travelers, goddesses, Chewbaccas and other strange and wonderful costumed people and creatures.

Did you know that the real Spider-Man actually visited Calgary and Stampede Park in the 1992 Marvel Comic Choas in Calgary?

Spiderman in Calgary

That’s right–even the Amazing Spiderman couldn’t resist some good western heritage and values. With his friends, Dr. Cargill and his daughter Jolene, Peter Parker was invited to photograph the Stampede for Canada’s 125th Birthday. Also there: The Rangers! superheroes of the Southwest.

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They’re all enjoying the show until some bad guys kidnap Dr. Cargill. That’s when Spiderman has to take on the Man-Bull and starts spinning barbed wire rather than his usual spider-webby-stuff.

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(We’ll have to tell Spiderman it’s Yahoo! not Yehaw! next time he’s in Calgary.)

It turns out that Jolene has a solar-powered turbine wheelchair and is destined to become Canada’s next super hero.

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This is the part where the Dreadknight gets stuck in a western display (Weadickville?)

There’s a showdown in the Grandstand.

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The Archie Boyce Pavilion, which I’ll take to mean the Boyce Theatre.Spiderman_Boyce  And the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Spiderman_SaddledomeUntil finally Jolene (aka Turbine) and Spiderman save the day.

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Perhaps we’ll catch a glimpse of Spidey this weekend. We’ll be sure to get him a white hat this time.

Food is Culture

Doris Ufoegbune and Kevin Ufoegbune are the hosts and producers of Flavours of Africa, an African cooking show on SHAW TV. The aim of Flavours of Africa is to provide the public with authentic dishes that are delicious, easy and healthy. Their motto is that food is culture, and that cultures that eat together, stay together, through food, we can continue to appreciate diversity and promote cultural unity. Flavours of Africa will be on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage (July 5 & 6 at 11:30 a.m.). .) in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E.

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Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly Tell Us about Yourself

Doris Ufoegbune: I am an entrepreneur, writer, creator and the producer of Flavours of Africa, Canada’s first African Cooking show which can be seen on Shaw Television here in Calgary. I host the show with my son, Kevin, who is also a writer, creator and a producer.

I was a teacher in Nigeria and I immigrated to Canada to start a new life with my husband Ugochukwu Ufoegbune who continues to support me in everything I do. We have three children, Nicole Ufoegbune, Tracy Ufoegbune and Kevin Ufoegbune. In 2005, I launched a catering business called Global Cuisine Catering Services with award winning signature dishes such as lasagne, jambalaya, Gumbo and lamb roast. The City of Ottawa invited me to cater for them and as a result, the Ottawa Citizen coined me, “caterer devoted to her artistry”. Through my company and culinary artistry I was invited to Margaret Trudeau’s Embassy dinner, an event that often drew over six hundred people a year. I have catered to ambassadors, dignitaries, various organizations, institutions, groups and individuals. I recently launched a more contemporary catering business called Doris Catering Services and delightfully cater to weddings, celebrations, special occasions, office parties, gatherings and holiday parties.

Following his graduation from Carleton University my son Kevin and I created a television program called Flavours of Africa in order to preserve and promote African cuisine, traditions and culture and to support Canadian multiculturalism. We also aim to draw attention towards significant societal subject matter.
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TransAlta Grandstand Show heats up with Barnburner

The 2014 Calgary Stampede TransAlta Grandstand Show, Barnburner, will celebrate the heritage and stories of chuckwagon racing by inviting the audience to come home to the excitement and celebration of a distinctly western party.

Each evening, after the final heat of the GMC Rangeland Derby, legendary chuckwagon driver Tom Glass will bring the party from the barns to the stage of the Grandstand. The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede will be joined on stage by an international cast who will bring the stage to life through musical performances, extreme acrobatics and urban, stomp and freestyle dance.

The most technological show ever created by the Calgary Stampede, Barnburner is a tribute the long-standing tradition of chuckwagon racing. For nearly a hundred years, every summer, families loaded up their horses and drove across Western Canada to race their chuckwagons around the tracks. Once a summer, they got ready for the biggest race and the biggest payday in the sport: The GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede.

“This year, the TransAlta Grandstand Show celebrates those families,” says creative producer, Dave Pierce. “Every night, once the races had finished, if you took a walk around the track to the barns and waited for the chores to be finished, if you were lucky—they’d let you stay for the party and you’d be part of a real Barnburner.”

New creative producer Dave Pierce won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on the Opening, Closing and Victory ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Pierce has assembled a creative team of internationally acclaimed directors, choreographers, costume designers, script writers, production designers and event specialists.

Tickets for the TransAlta Grandstand Show, Barnburner, begin at $56. Every ticket includes a seat to the GMC Rangeland Derby and an amazing vantage point for the biggest fireworks show in Stampede history. You can purchase your tickets online at calgarystampede.com/tickets.

Stampede Talent Search gears up to discover talented young performers

You may have heard Calgary Stampede Talent Search contestants sharing Stampede spirit at a Caravan committee event, or singing on stage at “Windows on the West” during the 10-day Stampede. Past-winners have even taken the Coca-Cola stage, Nashville North and the Grandstand. Do you remember Paul Brandt hosting the centennial TransAlta Grandstand Show? He is the 1992 Stampede Talent Search Grand Prize winner.

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The 2014 Stampede Talent Search auditions take place May 2 to 4, 2014. Qualifying contestants will then compete during the 10-day Stampede for their share of more than $10,000 in cash prizes.

From September to August, the Stampede Talent Search committee works hard to discover, encourage, develop and showcase talented performers. That means providing performance opportunities for many of our finalists and past contestants at venues across Calgary and the surrounding area. From office parties to grand openings and celebrations, we are continually seeking stages to show off our exceptional young talent.

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The Stampede Talent Search program and committee is a little known yet integral part of the spirit and hospitality that the Stampede provides. We are dedicated to developing and showcasing some of the best young talent. This year is the first year that our audition call is Canada-wide – and so far, we have contestants coming to show their stuff from BC to Ontario. You can be certain that the diversity and quality of our performers will only get better and better in the coming years.

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Sign up for auditions is still open. If you know a talented young performer between 12 and 21 years of age, information on submitting a video audition or to sign up for a live audition can be found at www.stampedetalentsearch.com. We are even looking for talented Junior performers between ages 6 to 12.

The Stampede Talent Search competition starts Saturday, July 5 and runs nightly until July 12. All shows start at 6 p.m. in the Boyce Theatre. After the first five nights of the competition, the initial field of 70 Senior performers is narrowed down to 28 for the semi-finals and then to 14 for the final night when the Grand Prize winner is announced.

Jane’s Walk shares Stampede art and history

 Jane’s Walk is Sunday, May 4. Meet in front of the Cowboy’s Casino at 2 p.m.

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From the 1880 Agricultural Exhibits to Guy Weadicks’s Dream for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth to the first chuckwagon race in 1923 to the journey of the horse and cowboy By the Banks of the Bow—experience Stampede and Alberta history and spirit at Jane’s Walk on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The two-hour guided walk begins at 2 p.m. in front of the Stampede Casino and winds it way through Stampede Park. No need to register – just come out, bring your interest in art, walking shoes and a camera.

Members of the Stampede Public Art and Historical committees will guide you to seven sculptures and eight murals. The two committees work closely together to showcase the most significant pieces of art at Stampede Park.

“Being part of Jane’s Walk gives the Stampede a chance to share its public art collection with Calgarians,” said Jill Cross, Public Art committee chair. “Each piece of art is a story. For example, when we visit By the Banks of the Bow, the narrative takes you right there, to the river the horses are trying to cross. Each horse represents a special character the artists conjured.”

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The Stampede’s passion for public art dates back to 1912, when Ed Borein and Charlie Russell showcased their artwork at the Calgary Stampede. By the 1980s, the Western Art Show had become a regular feature of the 10-day Stampede. Today, the Stampede’s annual Western Art Show is one of Canada’s most significant art shows. The Stampede also celebrates art and western heritage year-round through the historical mural program and the parade of historical posters.

The Calgary Stampede Public Art committee was created in 2008 with a mandate to reach out to our community at large, to tell the story of, and retain our western heritage and values. To date, the committee has proudly unveiled two significant pieces of art: “Outlaw,” honouring one of the rankest bulls ever and “Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do,” Joe Fafard’s story-telling horses which we also gifted to our sister-city, Quebec City in honour of its 400th anniversary. Both of these pieces reside in downtown Calgary. The last bronze that was unveiled, in June 2012, was “By the Banks of the Bow;” with 15 horses and two riders crossing the Bow, it is said to be one of the largest pieces of art in North America!

The Stampede also celebrates art and western heritage year-round through the historical mural program and the parade of historical posters. The Public Art committee also works closely with the Historical Committee to showcase the most significant pieces of art at Stampede Park.

The Calgary Stampede Historical committee preserves, presents and promotes the history of the Calgary Stampede starting from its earliest days as a fair in 1884, to the first Stampede in 1912, all the way to present day.

From the Jane’s Walk website.

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About Jane’s Walk: Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.

More than 100 cities participate in Jane’s Walk.

About Jane Jacobs: Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building.

Calgary Stampede kitchen waste turns into garden food

As spring turns thoughts to gardens, the Calgary Stampede has been doing its part to grow Calgary’s compost stockpiles.

After a successful composting pilot program to compost the massive volume of kitchen waste from Stampede’s central kitchen, the Stampede is moving ahead with a permanent composting program.  Since February, Stampede chefs – who prepare 175,000 meals throughout Stampede Park year-round – have been separating their kitchen peelings, waste food, meats, bones, fats and plastics.

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In the first two months of composting, Stampede chefs composted 8,000 kg. With busy season right ahead, those volumes will only increase. Overall, Stampede’s executive chef Derek Dale estimates about 80 per cent of the Stampede’s kitchen waste will be diverted from landfill, where organics would otherwise decompose into carbon dioxide and methane.

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Kevin Mulligan, Stampede’s maintenance manager, worked with Derek to get this program going, working with Green Calgary and PEL Recycling, the company contracted to take the waste to the City of Calgary’s East Compost station twice a week.

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Kevin and his crew are working to expand composting to other parts of Stampede Park, including additional kitchens and event-time food waste. More information in this video news story, and in the news release and backgrounder on the Calgary Stampede’s environmental programs.

http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/stampede-kitchen-cranks-up-compost-program-1.1775749

 

 

 

Four of the most memorable Stampede Talent Search moments – from the eyes of committee members.

The Stampede Talent Search committee works year round to discover, encourage, develop and showcase young talent. Along the way, there have been performers who have raised goose-bumps with their talent, reduced the audience to tears, and even become etched in the hearts and minds of committee members for their remarkable achievements.

Ask any committee member who has been around to see the ups and downs of several years of competition and the little moments are shockingly more memorable than the show-stopping ones.

For Colleen Tynan, committee member since 2002, her most memorable moment was following the story of Tara Tennant. “In Tara’s first year auditioning she was nervous and had little stage presence. Three years later, she captivated the audience, drew them in and won the competition.”

Tara Tennent’s performance of “Sunday Kind Of Love”.

For Gay Robinson, committee member since 2010, a similar story. “Each year it is exciting to see contestants come back and be more confident. I love seeing that they have worked hard to grow as people and as performers. I remember a shy young Junior performer who continued on to be a Senior performer and just a few years later won 2nd runner-up!”

And Committee Chair Scott Henderson agrees. “Over the years we get invested in our young performers. My most memorable moment was watching Meg Contini win the Grand Prize. In 34 years, no one has won more money than her – including day money and prize money. To see her finally win was a testament to her talent, her incredible spirit and supportive and positive family. Back then, winning was just the beginning for her. She has achieved a music degree from Humber College (with help from her Stampede Talent Search prize money), and success with several musical projects including her stunning vocal trio the O’Pears.”

Meg Contini performing How High the Moon at the 2009 Calgary Stampede Talent Search when she won First Runner-Up.

Of course, over the years there have been awe-inspiring performances from a handful of diverse talents, such as contortionists, yo-yo artists and a sitar player, but for Roxanne McKendry, without a doubt, Paul Brandt captured her memory.

“In 2004, Paul came to do a special performance during finals. One of the songs he sang was “Leavin’” and the hair on the back of my arms stood-up. It was absolutely electrifying to be that close to such an incredible talent. And emotional to know he started on our stage.”

Auditions kick-off the 2014 season and the entire committee is looking forward to seeing what new memories will be made that will inspire us to work harder on behalf of the incredible young talent we are lucky enough to showcase.

Canada-wide Auditions for the 2014 Stampede Talent Search are open! For video audition information or to sign up for live auditions May 2 to 4, 2014 details can be found at www.stampedetalentsearch.com.

 

Aggie Days brings the farm to the city

This past week was Aggie Days, sponsored by Encana, where the Calgary Stampede brings the farm to the city. Kids were able to brush noses with llamas, see enormous farm equipment and learn about where their eggschickens, and canola come from, and much more. Watch the video for a glimpse into the 2014 Aggie Days.

“I personally feel that Aggie Days is one of the greatest gifts that Calgary Stampede gives to our City because it is a free event that is highly educational, safe and so fun that it leaves life long memories with children who grow up to bring their own children to Aggie Days,” says Lori Wheeler, Agriculture program coordinator.

Approximately 11,000 school children attended Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and 42,000 guests attended Aggie Days on the weekend this year.

The dedicated Agriculture Education committee volunteers start working in September to prepare for Aggie Days in April. Aggie Days is a multi-faceted event that requires an incredible amount of planning. There’s the noon-hour rodeo during the school days, two agricultural competitions, more than 50 exhibitors to coordinate and 10 other Calgary Stampede volunteer committees involved. The event also entails reaching out to hundreds of schools and home-school parents throughout Calgary and surrounding areas, coordinating school buses, implementing an Art Showcase for individuals with special needs and bringing in guest readers to read farm-based books to our guests.

Many thanks to the wonderful Ag Education committee volunteers for such a successful event!

Aggie Days celebrates its 30th Anniversary next year–we cannot wait!

Go Barley!

Alberta Barley, a farmer-directed, not-for-profit organization representing Alberta’s barley farmers, will once again be on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage (July 7 & 10 at 12:30 p.m.).

Linda Whitworth, a home economist, presents on behalf of Alberta Barley and she recently shared some information about herself, the wonders of barley and provided a favourite recipe.

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Agriculture in Alberta: A Brief History Part 2

We finish our series on the brief history of agriculture in Alberta by Terry James today! Terry is a mixed farmer who lives near Vegreville, Alberta, on the farm his grandfather first moved to in 1917.  He studied agriculture at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and worked for a number of years in the crop supplies industry.  Currently he is a full time farmer. Together with his brother and son, they farm about 2000 acres of grain land, and maintain a commercial herd of beef cattle. For part 1 please click here

As the supplies of cheap land had dried up in the United States and areas further east, Alberta became the new frontier for people looking to acquire their own piece of earth.  One of the major technological developments that enabled successful grain farms to be established was early maturing wheat. The first of these varieties was called Marquis and was developed by the Dominion Experimental Farms Service. It wasn’t long before a wheat breeding program was established at the University of Alberta.Their first widely grown variety was released in 1926 and was called Red Bobs 222.

Heartache and heartbreak struck many farm families in the 1930’s. Prices for agriculture commodities plummeted.  In addition drought compounded the problem with the area known as the Palliser triangle being especially hard hit. So many farms were abandoned in East Central Alberta, that the government designated the region a “Special Area.” This region is still divided into Special Areas that have a different form of municipal government than other regions of Alberta.

The advent of World War II marked the end of the depression and meant that Europe needed to import large amounts of grain. This was the start of a long stretch of prosperity for Alberta farms. Rapid mechanization, and the introduction of synthetic fertilizers and pest control products led to vastly increased productivity. In fact, around the 1970’s the problem became one of overproduction and government programs were designed to take some land out of production. The cyclical bouts of shortages due to weather disasters here, or elsewhere in the world, and bouts of overproduction continue to be the bane of farmers today.

Canola is now Alberta's most important crop and Asia has replaced Europe as the most important market.

Canola is now Alberta’s most important crop and Asia has replaced Europe as the most important market.

Agriculture continues to evolve in Alberta. Europe, including Russia, has become self-sufficient in food, and a competitor in the agricultural commodity world. As a result, Alberta farmers have turned more of their attention more to the Pacific Rim. Japan is the biggest consumer of Alberta’s most valuable crop, canola. New mechanical developments have reduced the need for tillage and have helped conserve soil and moisture, and reduced the fuel costs of farmers. On the biological side, developments in the science of genetics have produced superior crop and livestock strains.

Alberta farmers have been quick to adopt new technology such as no-till which has increased productivity and reduced environmental impacts.

Alberta farmers have been quick to adopt new technology such as no-till which has increased productivity and reduced environmental impacts.

Agriculture is not without its controversies though. Some have raised objections to modern production practices, while others have political objections, especially to the tightly managed dairy and poultry sectors, sectors in which supply is carefully controlled. Still the future looks bright. World population continues to grow, and greater economic wealth has created the opportunity for better diets for hundreds of millions of people. Alberta farmers are well poised to take advantage of this.

The story of agriculture in Alberta is an ongoing one, and Alberta farmers would like nothing better than to continue their story of success by providing a stable and healthy food supply to a hungry world.

Thank you, Terry for sharing your knowledge and your passion with our Aggie Days readers!

Agriculture in Alberta: A Brief History Part 1

I really wanted to get a history of agriculture in Alberta, so I posed the question on Twitter as to who I should ask to blog for us. An overwhelming response was @LavoyFarmer and I’m so glad he agreed to guest post for us today! Terry James is a mixed farmer who lives near Vegreville, Alberta, on the farm his grandfather first moved to in 1917.  He studied agriculture at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and worked for a number of years in the crop supplies industry.  Currently he is a full time farmer. Together with his brother and son, they farm about 2000 acres of grain land, and maintain a commercial herd of beef cattle.  

When the definitive history of agriculture in the 20th century is written, surely one of the success stories listed will be that of agriculture in Alberta. It is the story of how a group of immigrants overcame a harsh climate, a lack of infrastructure and a host of other obstacles to become one of the bread baskets of Canada. It is a story of technological achievement as well as of human drama that has even had geopolitical implications. In 1983 the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, visited Western Canada. Here in Alberta, he met a dairy farmer whose dairy cows yielded an average of 4,700 kilograms of milk each year; more than double that of a comparable dairy farm in the Soviet Union. It believed this visit is one of the contributing factors that led to Mr. Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika, and the crumbling of the Iron Curtain.

Agriculture in Alberta is a relatively recent story. Unlike many other areas of North America, the aboriginal people of Alberta did not practice sedentary farming–they moved around, tracking the bison and other game, and collected native fruits and vegetables from wherever they could. It is not surprising that the earliest agricultural endeavors in the province emulated that model. Huge open rangelands made cattle ranching easy, and led to the rise of the cattle barons. Beginning in about 1881 and continuing through to the early 1900’s, ambitious businessmen, many of whom resided in Eastern Canada or Great Britain, were able to lease huge tracts of land on which they grazed cattle. Day to day work on these ranches was done by cowboys, whose culture Albertans are still associated with, even if it is far removed from the reality of most present-day Albertans. The beef industry though, remains vitally important to Alberta. Saskatchewan may be Canada’s wheat king, and Ontario might be the horticultural capital, but Alberta has always been, and still is Canada’s beef capital.  Interestingly enough, one of the more recent success stories is the addition of native bison to the livestock farms of Alberta.

Cattle ranching was the first large-scale agricultural enterprise in Alberta and continues to be an essential component of today’s agricultural economy.

Cattle ranching was the first large-scale agricultural enterprise in Alberta and continues to be an essential component of today’s agricultural economy.

The person often credited with being Alberta’s first arable farmer is Peter Pond. He established the first permanent trading post in Alberta on the lower Athabasca River, surprisingly far north, in 1778. Here it is said “he formed the finest kitchen garden….in Canada”.  Most early forts had a garden patch where they raised vegetables for their own use, and experimented with European crops. Oats and barley generally did well, but in most years, the wheat did not reach maturity. The cultivation of crops was to remain a relatively small scale enterprise in Alberta until after the completion of the Trans Canada Railway in 1885.

The railway, coupled with the Homestead Act, and aggressive advertising by the Canadian government led to a rapid settlement of Alberta beginning in about 1895 and continuing through to the early 1920’s. Settlement generally followed the progress of railway development. It spread north from Calgary to Edmonton, and then west from Lloydminster following the Great Northern Railway Line. Approximately every 8 miles along the railway, a settlement was established, a distance chosen based on the distance a team of horses could easily transverse in a day. The Homestead Act enabled early settlers of land to acquire a piece of land for a very modest price provided they made a commitment of time and effort to the cultivation of that land.

The development of high quality, early maturing wheat varieties enabled Alberta farmers to prosper by satisfying a growing demand in Europe especially during and following the war years.

The development of high quality, early maturing wheat varieties enabled Alberta farmers to prosper by satisfying a growing demand in Europe especially during and following the war years.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this great piece by Terry!

Encana Common Ground Community Garden

Aggie Days is sponsored by Encana, and today on our blog we wanted to showcase the Encana Community Garden at the Calgary Public Library, which is described as “a truly organic process, there is room for the growth of ideas as well as carrots, a place to sit and ponder or read, an opportunity to learn, to care and to share with one and all.” Please watch the video to learn more about this project. Don’t forget to come join us at Aggie Days THIS weekend from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the BMO Centre, it’s FREE for the whole family!

Reflecting on the first six months as Indian Princess

Oki, Nitsiniikhassim Papainhkiakii! Hello, my name is Carly Weasel Child and my Indian name is Papainhkikiakii, meaning Dream Singing Woman. I am 21 years old and I am a jingle dress dancer from the Siksika Nation.

It has been 157 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes since I’ve been crowned and every single minute has been an incredible honor to represent the Calgary Stampede as the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. I have been welcomed with so much love and support from my chaperones, sponsors, CS Royalty Trio, family, friends and everyone else I’ve met along the way and I couldn’t thank you all enough. Every single event has impacted me positively, but I’ll try to briefly sum up a few events from this year:

-I’ll never forget my very first official event. Partly because it was the exact same day of my crowning, but also because it was a wonderful preview as to what the year will bring. We attended the Travel Alberta Industry Conference in Banff and we stayed in the beautiful Banff Springs Hotel. The hard work that everyone put into the successful event made me so proud to be an Albertan!

Stampede Indian Princess

-Meeting my trio: Queen Danica, Princess Shannon, and Princess Stephanie have been absolutely welcoming, supportive, and kind throughout the past six months. Each of them are beautiful role models and I’m so excited to enjoy the rest of the year with them.

-Going to Germany twice: I am so honored to have been invited to travel to Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich) with the Canadian Tourism Commission as a representative of the Calgary stampede in November and once again to ITB Berlin in March. I am so grateful for the chance to represent the Calgary Stampede, First Nations, and Canada in Germany with this title. I’m truly thankful for this unforgettable experience and I want to thank everyone that made these events happen.

-Grey Cup: We attended the 2013 Grey Cup festivities and what a fun experience that was! We attended a local elementary school and danced with the students, served pancakes at two different breakfasts, did a radio interview, participated in the tradition of checking a horse into a local hotel, and rode a horse in the Grey Cup parade, and visited every CFL team room. Thank you to the Calgary Grey Cup committee for inviting us to participate in this exciting event!

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-Happy Trails: We attend the Happy trails events with the lovely promotions committee and we visit local retirement homes to dance and sing along with the residents. I also get to dance in my jingle dress and line dance afterwards with the committee and queen and princesses. Every single Happy Trails event has been so uplifting, and to smile and chat with the kind elders always leaves me in such a positive mood.

These six amazing months have been filled with so many new experiences and opportunities that I’ll never forget. I’m truly thankful, humbled, and grateful to be on this journey and to represent the five tribes of Treaty 7 in the 2014 Calgary Stampede. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!!

Kitsookiitsihtut (My best wishes to you),

2014 CSIP Carly

 

Bringing the Farm to the City: Don’t miss Aggie Days

Aggie Days is back for another exciting year! The free, family event takes place this weekend, April 12 and 13, at BMO Centre in Stampede Park. Presented by the Calgary Stampede Agriculture Education committee and sponsored by Encana, Aggie Days is a great opportunity to learn about the wonderful world of agriculture. From farm machinery to farm animals – Aggie Days has it all. Come on down and take in all the interactive displays. And of course there will be several new exhibitors and new displays this year.

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The Reynolds-Alberta Museum will have a 1912 antique tractor on display for you to sit on and snap a photo with. Their exhibit will also feature other educational demonstrations of machines such as a grain grinder and butter churn.

From antique tractors to antique fire trucks. The Fire Fighters Museum of Calgary is bringing its antique horse drawn fire truck to Aggie Days.

And of course there will be plenty of cute animals. You can find different breeds of sheep at Aggie Days including hair sheep, which have a mixture of hair and wool that sheds naturally in the spring, therefore they do not require shearing.

Besides having dairy goats and their adorable kids on display, there will also be Boer meat goats at this year’s Aggie Days. The Boer goat is a breed raised for meat production.

Let’s not forget about the horses. Check out the new life-sized horse that you can rope from, as well as hoof health demonstrations, horsetails to braid and much more. And the blacksmiths are back to teach you how to trim horse hooves and explain why this is done.

Ever wanted to climb onto the seat of a chuckwagon? The Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon committee is bringing a chuckwagon to Aggie Days and giving you the opportunity to climb aboard.

This year there will also be a brand new Incredi-Pull, brought to us by the Calgary Stampede Draft Horse Town committee. Test your “horsepower” as you harness up and prepare to see if you can pull more weight than everyone else.

And don’t miss meeting Lady, the star of the 2014 Calgary Stampede poster. Lady will be walking the red carpet and giving out hoof print autographs.

2014 CS poster

New to Aggie Days this year is the Calgary Horticultural Society. At this display you can find a wagon filled with veggies and herbs that you can grow at home no matter how small your space is.

Slow Food Calgary will also be joining Aggie Days this year and will feature interactive seed starting activities at their exhibit.

The Calgary Corn Maze and Fun Farm is back and they’ve kicked it up a notch this year. The maze will feature new scarecrow décor and quizzes to test your knowledge about Alberta crops such as corn.

Finally, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission will be launching a new children’s book called Cut! To the Chase. The book promotes healthy foods including oils low in saturated fat such as canola oil. And Jump with Jill, the World’s Only Rock ‘N Roll Nutrition Show, will be at Aggie Days to teach you about healthy eating.

Cut! To The Chase

For more information on all that Aggie Days has to offer visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/aggie-days/

Don’t forget to Like Aggie Days on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CSAggieDays, Follow Aggie Days on Twitter @CSAggieDays and Follow Aggie Days on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/csaggiedays/

If It Doesn’t Neigh, Is It Still Horsepower?

This is the last week before Aggie Days starts! We are thrilled to have the Alberta Horse Industry Association of Alberta as our Featured Exhibitor this week! You can follow them here on Facebook and on Twitter. I thought it would be fun to share another post from “Heifer In Your Tank” on some of the history of horses and horsepower!

The horse was brought to North America in the early 1600s and was quickly adopted into the aboriginal culture, becoming known as a symbol of power and wealth. The buffalo hunting Plains tribes saw the horse as sacred, with supernatural powers to help in hunting, medicine, and other aspects of tribal life. Cree First Nations Elder Jerry Wood, from the Aboriginal Student Services Centre at the University of Alberta, commented on how the horse replaced the dog.

He jokingly admitted that the horse became more valuable than the woman, who was responsible for making and moving teepees. The horse eventually took over the task of transporting teepees, which allowed the Plains Tribes to follow the buffalo with greater ease. Elder Jerry Wood also spoke of the “Sundance Horse”, a poem dedicated specifically to the horse. This poem shows that the horse was respected, honored, and loved because the horse helped the people to live and to continue on for generations. Nevertheless, with the arrival of settlers and the buffalo herd collapse, the traditional Plains tribal life transformed dramatically.

The use and symbolism of the horse diminished—their monetary value decreased due to a sudden increase in the horse population and they became inadequate for use in the hunt. The use of the horse increased among the settlers, and their main purpose was to improve farming techniques, where they proved to be more flexible, faster and easier to handle than the oxen used previously.

Heifer in Your Tank Horsepower

By the 1900s, horses were used for everything, from riding into town to powering large machinery like reapers and threshers. Such horse-powered machines multiplied man-hour production of wheat eighteen fold! However, the time it took to care for the horse limited its efficacy, thus farming proved laborious and demanding for the farmer and his horses. Furthermore, World War I demanded farmers to increase production, which led to the rapid replacement of horses with such horsepower equivalents as the tractor. To help the transition, the Canadian government contracted to buy 1000 2-plow tractors and sold them to farmers at cost (about $800), thus further expanding the popularity of the tractor. Unfortunately, farmers were becoming anxious about the now un-saleable horses eating their valuable grass. In 1943, the end of the horse in horsepower was signaled by the shipment of roughly 100,000 horses from Alberta to the Chicago killing yards. Although horses remained for odd jobs unsuitable for the tractor, their numbers continued to decline throughout the 1950s.

Horse vs. Tractor

Today, the tractors used in agriculture dwarf the tractors of old. With the plethora of luxuries found in them, you would be hard-pressed to find farmers returning to the old standard of horse-driven power. Presently, Lewis Farms Ltd. has a couple of horses, which Corrie Lewis states, “are used just for pleasure riding and occasionally for moving cattle,” and other farms have horses for this use or no horses at all. Nevertheless, the term “horsepower” does stem from the very thing that neighs; yet today, it is used for the very thing that roars, a tractor, which has replaced the standard horse.

Heifer in Your Tank

This post was originally posted here and was written by Kelsey Bourgeois, Abrya Suthendran, Alexia Hoy, Julie Mitchell, Robyn Thrasher and Gina Vivak. Thank you for sharing your agriculture knowledge and passion with Aggie Days!