Announcing the BMO Youth Campus Amphitheatre

When you work on Stampede Park, you start to really understand how big it is. We all know how long it takes to walk from the Olympic entry to Indian Village during the July Stampede, but Stampede Park extends well north of the Olympic entrance.

The new developments on Stampede Park, including ENMAX Park and the new Youth Campus, will bring these beautiful and lesser known part of Stampede Park to life.

Last night, the BMO Financial Group announced a $2.5 million gift to the Calgary Stampede Foundation to build the BMO Youth Campus Amphitheatre. This will be an outdoor space along the Elbow River for Calgarian youth to rehearse and perform.

Here’s a first look. And here is more about the new BMO Amphitheatre in the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun.

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The Stampede Park Sample Contest

When you think of Stampede Park, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Likely, you’re thinking the Calgary Stampede. But Stampede Park hosts a lot of awesome events year round and we want YOU to take full advantage of that!

Drum roll please… announcing our latest contest! It’s called the Stampede Park Sample. It’s a prize pack containing tickets to a variety of different events taking place on Park over the next year, and they could be yours! So what exactly is up for grabs? Two tickets each to the following events:

  • Calgary Roughnecks game
  • Calgary Flames game
  • Calgary Hitmen game
  • World Professional Bull Riding Finals
  • The Grape Escape
  • Bryan Adams concert
  • ….and a Stampede 2015 concert to be announced soon!

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Stampeding for the Cure

What do you get when you mix Stampede red and white together? Pink, of course!

The Calgary Stampede was an integral part of setting a festive mood for the 2014 Calgary Run for the Cure. More than 8,000 runners participated in this year’s fundraising event, generating $1.28 million for breast cancer research.

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The Stampede’s volunteer Promotion and Caravan committees, plus the Calgary Stampede Showband,  brought the party, the food and even the welcome home tunes to the Southcentre Mall for the event.

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Arriving a day early on Saturday, the team spent most of the day setting up the Stampede’s travelling trailer stage and sound system that served as centre-stage for the action. The Sunday morning of the Run started at 6 a.m. for the Stampede volunteers, who were up and at’em early enough do sound-checks and get the Hee Bee Fee Bee’s band singing to greet runners and their families as they arrived.

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The Stampede’s trailer unit driver, Paul Mills, sounded the horn to launch the 8,000 runners on their way. As the runners neared the finish line, they were encouraged onwards by the Calgary Stampede Showband in a brilliant show of pageantry, playing upbeat music to put some pep in those final steps.

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Upon arrival at the finish line, the Caravan committee shared water, juice, fruit, bagels and protein bars with returning runners to recharge their batteries as they waited for the final presentations, also hosted on the travelling Stampede stage.

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Thanks to all those proud Stampede volunteers who spread the spirit of western hospitality and strong support for the thousands of runners and their families who are making a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

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Stampede volunteer Rick Smith honoured with Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award

At 26 years old, Rick Smith stumbled across a small job ad in a paper for assistant manager of Heritage Park. After a year in the oil business, Smith thought he would try his hand as a landman, but something about the Heritage Park ad piqued his interest. He applied. The interviewers told him they were looking for someone with a history background, but Smith convinced them that what they needed was someone with a management background—him.

After 33 years with Heritage Park and as many as a community philanthropist and volunteer, Stampede volunteer Rick Smith was honoured with a Mount Royal Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award on October 2, 2014.

Rick studied Business Administration at Mount Royal before going on Eastern Washington State University. Although initially he followed in his family’s footsteps into the oil business, his interest in western history made him follow up on the Heritage Park opportunity. In eight years, Smith would be general manager.

Smith was a perfect fit for the vision-oriented, compassionate work environment. “Rick is a natural connector of people,” said Nancy Smith, friend and former colleague. “He genuinely cares about everyone around him.”

Around the time that Smith began working at Heritage Park, he met Randy Avery, the founder of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. Avery had been contracted to put on a show commemorating the founding of the RCMP.

Western Legacy Award for Sustained Contribution Individual on Vimeo

“When you met Randy,” Smith remembers, “You couldn’t help but become enthusiastic. He elevated everybody to another level.” Avery’s show was one of Smith’s first projects at Heritage Park.

That began a long relationship between Heritage Park and the Stampede. Heritage Park would frequently supply vehicles and other historic items for the Grandstand Show.

In 1984, Smith initiated an effort to sponsor a chuckwagon tarp, establishing an even deeper relationship between the two organizations. Soon after, Smith joined the Historical committee as a volunteer.

Past Stampede president Rob Matthews remembered Smith’s centennial fundraising efforts. Smith brought 189 Stampede volunteers and leaders together to purchase a tarp and raised more than $60,000 for charity in the process. They called themselves the 10-day Tarmac Babies.

“Rick is a tremendous fan of chuckwagon racing and he brought everyone together around that passion to do good for the community,” said Matthews. “He’s an amazing guy and the Stampede has been so fortunate to have him as a volunteer and supporter.”

Smith has also been involved with Tourism Calgary, Rising Sun Extended Care Centre, Bar U Ranch National Historic Site and the Longview Music and Arts Festival. His dedication to the community and contagious enthusiasm for all things western heritage won him a Western Legacy Award for Sustained Contribution last year. Smith is also the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Alberta’s Tourism Ambassador Award (2005) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). His true love for the work, it seems, brings people together to do great things.

“The joy of working with both Heritage Park and the Stampede is the people and their love and belief in what they are doing,” said Smith. “Heritage Park and Stampede are both visions of the citizens that emerged from our pioneering western spirit.”

Rick has been married to his wife Erika for 36 years had has two children, Mike (34) and Christine (31).

Introducing the OH Ranch education program

You can learn more about the OH Ranch Education Program at the Calgary Herald, CTV and CBC

It’s back to school and back to education on the range! The Calgary Stampede is very excited to announce the launch of the OH Ranch Education Program. The historic OH Ranch, an authentic working cattle ranch, provides an incredible setting for young people to learn about Alberta’s heritage and unique identity.

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Gifted to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012, the OH Ranch fulfills the wish of the late Doc “Daryl” Seaman to preserve the land, and our cultural heritage for generations to come. Thanks to the Calgary Stampede Foundation, the Calgary Stampede is making this dream a reality!

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As an experienced teacher and an experiencing-as-I-go mother of an 11-year-old daughter, I recognize the importance of providing engaging and relevant learning opportunities that ignite students’ natural curiosity and enthusiasm, and that increase their awareness of, and appreciation for, our land and history. What better place to achieve this than on an 8,000-acre authentic working cattle ranch that exemplifies best practices in cattle ranching and animal care, and is situated in the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains? The OH Ranch is, in my opinion, one of the most spectacular “classrooms” around!

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To ensure that our programming supports teachers and students in the delivery and achievement of educational outcomes, I held brainstorming sessions with educators from various local school districts including the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Catholic School District and Rocky View Schools. The teachers who participated in these sessions provided some great ideas that have helped me to customize our program to meet their needs. Thank you all!

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In June and September 2014, I held four OH Ranch Grade 5 Education Program introductory sessions. Two grade 5 classes from Rocky View Schools and two grade 5 classes from the Calgary Catholic School District were the first to participate in our OH Ranch Education Program. Teachers and students provided valuable feedback on the program that supports Alberta Education’s Grade 5 Social Studies and Science curriculum outcomes for which the OH Ranch, with its cattle, geography, and historic buildings, is a natural fit.

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As a long-standing supporter of the Calgary Stampede, animal and nature lover, history aficionado, life-long learner, and licensed Alberta teacher, I am very enthusiastic about designing, developing and delivering, a ranch-based educational program for Calgary and area youth that helps promote an appreciation for our land and heritage. The success of this program relies on the support from the Calgary Stampede Foundation, and the assistance of Calgary Stampede employees and volunteers, and subject matter experts who care as much as I do about the well being of this land, and the cattle, horses and multitude of fauna and flora species that call the OH Ranch home.

I look forward to welcoming you to the OH Ranch! Please check out our webpage at www.calgarystampede.com/ohranch. Click on Experience Education to learn all about our program.

 

Trail dust and accolades at fall rodeos

The Calgary Stampede’s roughstock are enjoying the fall colours back at 22,000 acre Stampede Ranch, enjoying well-earned downtime after another successful rodeo road trip along the west coast.

The Stampede’s bucking bulls performed well at an Extreme Bull Riding event in Ellensburg, Washington a few weeks back. When the dust settled on the night, it was Calgary Stampede Bulls – 7, Cowboys – 0. A few days later during the Ellensburg Pro Rodeo short round finals, a couple of Stampede bulls again took centre stage, especially Low Life, the well-respected bull that carried Parker Breding to a second-place finish with a ride that scored at 85 points.

Low Life stepped it up again at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, winning the championship title ride for Texas cowboy Cody Teel with a score of 83 points.

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(Low Life, pictured above, performing during the 2014 Calgary Stampede)

Not to be outdone by their bovine travelling mates, the Stampede’s Born to Buck horses picked up the pace in their performances. Star horse Special Delivery teamed up with reigning Calgary Stampede bareback champion Kaycee Field of Utah to buck out an 87-point ride for the title. The spirited stallion and son of legendary Grated Coconut has enjoyed a stellar year (see past rodeo blog posts) and continues a strong run that’s expected to take him right to the top of the CFR and NFR.

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(Special Delivery, pictured above during the Calgary Stampede 2014)

For the first time, the Calgary Stampede was the prime stock contractor for this year’s Pendleton RoundUp in Oregon. The stock didn’t disappoint, with a number of great performances, including newcomer mare Unfortunate Carma winning the halter for the Best Bareback Horse of the rodeo. Her fellow travel-mates made tracks as well in the saddle bronc event, with Lynx Mountain kicking out an 86-point ride with Tyrell Smith, Stampede Warrior scoring 87 with Cole Ellsere and even Timely Delivery surprising the crowd by besting cowboy Cody DeMoss in a rare buck-off for the top bronc rider. Bull rider Rosco Jarboe got into the money aboard Stampede bull Classic Kit for an 85-point ride in the bull riding event finals.

With a successful tour behind them, the Stampede stock retraced their steps back from the coast to their home on the open ranges near Hanna, Alberta. They’re hanging out there for weeks, enjoying the open pastures and the company of the full 600-head herd.

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Soon, the select stars will gear up for the big performances of the year, at both the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton in mid-November and to Las Vegas sunshine in December for the National Finals Rodeo. At both events, they’ll give the continents best cowboys a ride for their money as the cowboys battle for championship titles, prize money, and the chance to quality for the Calgary Stampede in 2015.

Stay tuned for word on which horses to watch for when the final stock choices are made, later this fall.

Back By Popular Demand: The Showband Dancers!

Last year, the Calgary Stampede Showband was excited to introduce a new section of dancers to its 120 member group of musicians and performers. The dancers were a big hit on the Saddledome Steps and took the Showband’s performances to a new level. This year, the dancers will be back as part of the Showband’s winterguard and summer field show productions in addition to parades and other community performances. According to Showband director Aaron Park, the Showband provides dancers with unique performance and learning opportunities that further advance the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s strong commitment to developing the potential of the young people in our community, providing them with the means to become spirited citizens with strong roots in western heritage and values. The Showband program is designed to develop youth within the performance arts.  Each member of the organization is committed to seeing members achieve musical, performance and personal excellence. 10451169_10152226804596616_2345637993177778402_nDancer MacKenzie Fraser says that joining the Showband was one of the “most exciting yet different experiences” she’d ever had with dance. She tells us that through Showband the dancers have learned many new things ranging from how to count differently to trusting her friends in colour guard, who are forever spinning and tossing flags around them. The dancers also learned to use field markers and dot sheets – a skill MacKenzie says was challenging, but worth it. 10154222_10152134611371616_651942101136312864_n“The Showband is different than any other organization out there because the band is really the true definition of family with such a positive atmosphere where everyone shares the same goals and passion for band. Choosing to be a part of this wonderful organization I got to experience many wonderful opportunities, gained lifetime friendships, and developed a stronger passion for dance than I ever had before.”

MacKenzie Fraser is 17 years old and previously performed as a member of The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.

Introducing the 2015 Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses

Less than 12 hours after the new Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses were crowned, they were off to their first events, appearing on two television morning shows! This is just the beginning to their year, where they will be attending more than 400 events in just 365 days.

The crowning took place Monday, September 29 at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park and consisted of three final judged competitions: a mixer, impromptu speech and horseback riding. The scores from these final competitions were added to those of the previous 10 events and were then combined to reveal the final three: Mick Plemel, Stampede Queen, and Haley Peckham and Kimberly Stewart, Stampede Princesses.

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Left to Right: Kimberly Stewart, Mick Plemel, Haley Peckham

Mick Plemel, Stampede Queen, lives in Calgary and holds a Land and Water Resource Management Diploma from Olds College and currently works as a Riparian Technician. She counts volunteering, horseback riding and travelling as a few of her hobbies.

Kimberly Stewart, Stampede Princess, also lives in Calgary and is currently a Zoology student at the University of Calgary. She currently works at the Pinebrook Golf and Country Club. Kimberly’s hobbies include horseback riding, reading and cooking. She grew up competing in show jumping.

Haley Peckham, Stampede Princess, a third Calgarian, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance from the University of Calgary. She spent much of her youth on the family ranch west of Bowden, riding horses and spending time outdoors. Haley has been a member of the Calgary Stampede Showriders since 2009.

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The morning after the crowning, the newly crowned Royal trio made television appearances on Global and Shaw television. To request the Stampede Queen and Princesses at your event, click here.

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The new trio filming their appearance on Shaw TV

The Royalty committee prides themselves as being a Youth Development program. Over the next six weeks, the newly crowned Stampede Queen and Princesses, along with the newly crowned Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Maya Many Grey Horses, will partake in training courses about Stampede history, Treaty 7 First Nations culture and much more.

While the new trio is hard at work learning the ropes, their sponsors are already on board designing custom leathers, creating custom boots and going the extra mile for the new trio!

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Check out their new Alberta Boots

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Smiling faces at Janine’s Custom Creations

Keep on the lookout to see Mick, Haley and Kimberly represent the Calgary Stampede throughout this coming year.

Congratulations ladies!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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