Marcus Trummer of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede

We have heard from Hannah Smart and Maggie Myles about what it is really like to be a member of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. Are you dreaming of joining The Young Canadians? Auditions for TYC begin August 25 for the 18+ new division and August 26-28 for the Intermediate and Seniors. Tuition to The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts is fully funded by the Calgary Stampede Foundation. Today we hear from Marcus Trummer and his parents.

The Trummers: Marcus has grown in many ways through his experience with The Young Canadians. He has learned to be disciplined, to work hard, to pursue excellence, focus on all of the details and push through until the very end. It is awesome that through [the Calgary Stampede] Marcus is exposed to so many professionals who all contribute to his growth. Seeing Marcus realizing his dreams of performing on stage makes us proud as we see his delight shining through.


From Marcus: Ever since I was little I’ve loved to perform. I had a lot of fun being in school plays and thought that The Young Canadians would be a good opportunity to perform some more. I was looking for a place that a young kid in Calgary could really shine. I soon found out that TYC was much more than that. From the second I stepped into The Young Canadians studios I knew it was going to be amazing and I instantly felt at home.


When I first auditioned I was nervous because I had never gone to a single Grandstand Show in my life. I had no idea if The Young Canadians would be hard or if it would be scary. But when I got up to sing my solo for the TYC staff and their smiling faces, the nerves quickly faded away. I enjoyed every last minute of the audition, including the group dance part which was my first ever dance class. After the long day, I was accepted into the program and I was extremely excited.

For the past five years I have been living out my dreams in The Young Canadians. It has definitely changed my life. Not only have I grown as a performer but I have also grown as a person. The training at times has been very tough and we are always expected to go outside of our comfort zone each and every day. The rehearsals are definitely a time commitment and we have to be prepared to say no to hanging out with our friends every Saturday and other things like that. When it gets tough there are lots of great friends around and amazing staff to help out. My favourite part is when I step out onto that Grandstand stage. All the hard work pays off and it is all worth it. That feeling of joy and accomplishment when I hear the crowd cheer is incredibly awesome!

Meet Maggie Myles of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede

Today we have a guest post from Maggie Myles, a member of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede (more about Maggie below). Auditions for TYC begin August 25 for the 18+ new division and August 26-28 for the Intermediate and Seniors. Tuition to The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts is fully funded by the Calgary Stampede Foundation.

The past three years have changed my life.

I’ve always known that I feel most at home on a stage however performing professionally always seemed like a distant dream that would never come true. That was, until I joined The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede.The Young CanadiansI auditioned in the summer before I began high school. Having danced all my life I was ready to take my dancing to the next level and I knew The Young Canadians would get me there. At the time I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. What sparked my interest initially was seeing a performance in South-centre mall when I was only about 10. I remember the purple and white polka dotted costumes and the distinct feeling that I wanted to be just like them, performing perfectly in-sync. I had only seen The Young Canadians once or twice before, in the TransAlta Grandstand Show; my seats back then made them look like singing and dancing ants. These were my only Young Canadian experiences at the time of my audition and therefore I was quite surprised later on when I was told that in addition to the Grandstand Show TYC has performances year round intertwined with an abundance high caliber training.The Young Canadians_2This training is only made possible by the passionate and dedicated staff. In my first audition they took me in and gave me one-on-one advice on technique and performance skills and I owe all of the progress I’ve made to them. The auditions were quite intimidating at first, as I was only 14 in a room full of extremely talented girls, most of whom had been in the program for several years. The stress was soon cooled down by the friendly teachers and focusing on learning the routines. Auditions are always stressful no matter what they are for, but I am glad my first ever audition was for The Young Canadians. Re-auditioning every year  kept every Young Canadian accountable and although it raised the stress levels it certainly kept me level headed. I firmly believe that if you are comfortable as a Young Canadian you are doing it wrong.The Young Canadians_1The Young Canadians to me was all about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, because that’s the only way you can improve and succeed. I was given multiple opportunities to succeed in TYC. I performed in three Christmas shows, a spring show, several times in Disneyland, a few times locally, and in three grandstand shows. Additionally as the media ambassador for two years I was given the unique opportunity to meet with tourist groups, do interviews, appear in magazines, newspapers and several times on television. These opportunities now fill up my performance résumé and the experience I have gained as a Young Canadian will make me and my fellow Young Canadians hot commodities going into the professional performing arts world.

Apart from training and performance skills the one thing I have gained from The Young Canadians that will forever shape my career as a performer is connections. They are one of the most important things in such a tight-knit community and a business that is so hard to break into. The people I have had the opportunity to work with and meet all expand my repertoire and versatility as a performer by leaps and bounds.


I have learnt so much above and beyond performance skills during my time with both youth programs associated with the Calgary Stampede. I now have the confidence, skills and connections to go out into the world and make my once far off dreams a reality. I hope to work as a professional performer for as long as I can and I know with the skills at my disposal. I know now where I’m going because of where I’ve been and I will be forever grateful to the Calgary Stampede.

My favourite thing about the youth programs under the Calgary Stampede umbrella are the family-like connections you make. I have made life-long friends in both the Showband and The Young Canadians. Above and beyond my experiences that will help me achieve my dreams, I value more that I will always have my Stampede family no matter what.

Maggie Myles is an 18-year-old dancer from Calgary, Alberta. She began dancing at the age of three, attending many dance studios around Calgary and participating in dance competitions. She joined The Young Canadians as a Senior Female Dancer at age 14 and was a member of The Young Canadian cast for all three years of high school, appearing in Century, Century2 and finally Barnburner. Maggie’s experience has also involved the opportunity to work as a member of The Calgary Stampede Showband in their 2014 World Championship production “Aurora”.

Stampede Showband is back from Brazil

We were very excited to welcome the Calgary Stampede Showband from Brazil where they nabbed their fifth World Champion title. You can read and see more about their journey at CTV news hereCalgary Stampede Showband_1

From the article: “It’s all about light. It was a beautiful production that they did and we’re competing against bands from all over the world,” Showband director Aaron Park said. “They’re the hardest working kids in Calgary. They’re just an incredible bunch.”

Calgary Stampede Showband_2Welcome home and congratulations!


Stampede Fan Photos – Animals

Horses are the heart of The Stampede, but there are many different animals that can be found on park during Stampede. Our community found these cute country critters and shared them with us on our Official Stampede Fan Gallery, and we wanted to share a few of our favourites with you. Find more great photos from our community in our Official Stampede Fan Gallery

Audition to be a member of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede

Today we have a guest post from Hannah Smart, a member of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede (more about Hannah below). Auditions for TYC begin August 25 for the 18+ new division and August 26-28 for the Intermediate and Seniors. Tuition to The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts is fully funded by the Calgary Stampede Foundation.

Ever since I was little, my parents would always take me to the Grandstand Show. While everyone else was watching the fireworks, I always had my eyes locked on The Young Canadians (TYC). I was so mesmerized by their costumes, smiles and unison that I would rush home after the show just so I could practice my very own finale pose, white cowboy hat and all.


It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I finally decided to audition and it was the best decision I have made in my entire life. The audition process was exciting and scary. And I’m not going to lie—walking into that dance studio filled with the returning cast is quite intimidating, especially since I had been idolizing them for so long. But after being there for only a few minutes I realized I had absolutely no reason to be scared. Everyone was so welcoming, including the staff.

I had little to no dance experience so that portion of the audition was a huge challenge for me. But I never gave up; there is something about that place that keeps you motivated to keep coming back and that’s exactly what I did.

TYC_1That year I made it into the Student Development Program and halfway through the year got moved up into the show cast. I spent the best four years of my life in The Young Canadians Company. The training is hard and you need to be dedicated to get the results that you want. I lived and breathed TYC for those four years and was offered experiences one could only dream of.


I learnt from being a YC that work ethic and the willingness to go outside your comfort zone will push you into amazing things! I promise you, that little girl practicing in her mirror never thought she’d be centre stage belting out the end note in grandstand numbers.TYC_2

All of the amazing performing experiences aside, my favourite part of being a YC was being a part of TYC family. Every single YC that I was ever in the company with holds a very special place in my heart. We all push each other to be our best, cheer on each other’s accomplishments, lend a shoulder to cry on and know how to make any situation into a good time. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of those amazing people and also the amazing staff.

I learnt at TYC that anything is possible. If you have a dream, then go chase it. The end result is absolutely extraordinary and worth it. I promise.

Hannah Smart has been gracing the stage with her triple threat abilities since the age of six. Starting when she was 15 , Hannah  trained with The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede, continuously expanding and improving her skills in dance and singing. Along with her featured roles in four Calgary Stampede Grandstand shows, Hannah can also be seen around the city of Calgary, singing for the Calgary Stampeders, The Mac’s Major Midget Hockey Tournament, The Tim Horton’s Brier and many more events around the City. Hannah has also been accepted into Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts and will be continuing her training in singing, acting and dancing starting September 2014. 

Calgary Stampede Showband wins fifth world title

The Calgary Stampede Showband has further reinforced its reputation as the most successful showband ever.


The Showband has won their fifth world championship at the World Association of Marching Show Bands competition in Brazil. That marks the most titles ever won by a single show band organization in the history of the competition. This latest win is also the band’s third consecutive, adding another year to its bench-setting back-to-back wins for the competition.


Two Showband Members enjoying a performance.

Two Showband Members enjoying a performance.


Congratulations also to another Calgary band, the Calgary Stetsons Showband, which placed second in the championships, further reinforcing Calgary’s dominance at the top of the world in this prestigious field.

More to come in future blog posts upon the band’s return from Brazil. In the meantime enjoy this article, published in the Calgary Herald and in newspapers across the country and around the world.

Stampede Memories

People keep asking me if the Stampede was everything that I thought it was going to be, and my answer is always the same; without a doubt.  In fact, it was so much more than I could have imagined because I didn’t actually have an experience that came close, so I could only conceptualize it to a certain point.

Stampede Parade

They also tell you that it is not necessarily the things that you have scheduled on paper, but the things you do spontaneously that end up stealing the show.  Don’t get me wrong, the parade, the rodeo, and the evening presentations were amazing, but just as fun for us were the moments that we got to talk to the volunteers and employees, and they got to share a little of what they do with us, which really made our vision of Stampede that much deeper.


Our picture with Brian, a 31 year volunteer with Kinsmen

One of the things that we took complete advantage of were people’s tendency to humour us… We were 4 girls dressed in varying sparkly things, and we wanted to try everything.  Danica and Carly had heard that a previous Indian Princess had gotten to go out and chalk the lines for the chuckwagon races once, so they did some negotiating, and got us out on the track in our full leathers to chalk the lines after the second heat on the first Saturday.

Chalking the lines

Little did they know, that would become something that we did every night. (I think that we even were on CBC doing it!)  We convinced the people in charge of evening promotions that we should help them throw out t-shirts while the track was being dragged (I would like to apologize to the person that I almost hit in the face with a shirt) and we tried our best to find a way into everything.

Shannon Dancing

Shannon learned how to dance from one of the Young Canadians

We each called a miniature horse chuckwagon race (Les McIntyre’s job is hard), got to go up to the Eye in the Sky and watch some races, and were able to each create some really, really special memories.

Walking across the stage for the final time with GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Outrider, Wayne Wright

Walking across the stage for the final time with GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Outrider, Wayne Wright

Thank you to everybody who made the Calgary Stampede what it was for us, and what it was for everyone that we spoke to.  It was an amazing experience, and I cannot wait for next year.

Stampede Fan Photos – Stampede at Night

The sun goes down, the lights come on, and Stampede has a whole new energy and feel. The neon lights from the rides, the glamour of the Grandstand Show, and the fire from the Bell adrenaline ranch light up the night sky before the fireworks do. The bright lights create a whole new atmosphere and create a picture perfect moment. Here are some of our favourite nighttime photos captured by you and showcased in our Official Fan Gallery.

The Calgary Stampede Showband lends a hand in Brazil

The Calgary Stampede Showband, currently in Brazil preparing to compete in the 2014 World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) championships, took a break from rehearsing today to spend some time volunteering at a local school for underprivileged children in Atibaia City. Portal do Saber – Portal of Knowledge – is a private school and does not receive any funding other than what the students pay; approximately 70% of students attending the school pay little or nothing for the high level of education they receive there. 100% of the funds raised for the school go toward hiring the very best teachers. Other staff, including administration and maintenance, are volunteers. Building upkeep comes only with donations and the help of volunteers and this is where the Showband comes in!


Showband members spent the morning painting buildings and classrooms, gardening, landscaping, and hanging doors, among other tasks. Some of the walls in the school had not been painted since the school first opened, more than 10 years ago. The Showband also donated the paint and other supplies for the work done today. Volunteer principal Vivian said that renovations like this bring motivation and excitement for the students and the staff. The school’s volunteers have a profound passion for education; Vivian expressed, “I don’t care about not being paid. It’s about seeing a student grow and develop a passion for learning.”IMG_2571

The Showband also had the opportunity to give a brief performance for hundreds of local children. Members performed some hometown favourites and had the chance to interact and share their love of music and performance with the students. The Brazilian children had a great time – many asked for autographs and took selfies with Showband members!186A4932This weekend, the Showband will compete in pursuit of its fifth (and third consecutive!) world title. Check out more photos of the Showband’s volunteerism on their Facebook page, read more about the WAMSB competition here, and follow their adventures in Brazil on Twitter, and Instagram using @ShowbandCS and #wamsb.

Accepting nominations for the Western Legacy Awards

Time is of the essence and so is the dead line to submit your nominations for the Western Legacy Awards! We encourage you to shine light on the unsung heroes of Calgary that make a difference and demonstrate a commitment to community, pride in place, integrity and western hospitality. The three award categories of the Western Legacy Awards are: Sustained Contribution for both individual and group, Innovation and Youth.  If you know someone whose actions have made an impact within the Calgary community please place your nomination in before July 31, 2014. Follow the link below to the quick and easy nomination application. Thank you in advance for taking the time to acknowledge special unsung heroes — by nominating them you have made their song heard!

* Click here to nominate.

Some thoughts on the Western Legacy Awards from one of last year’s winners, Rick Smith.

Western Legacy Award for Sustained Contribution Individual on Vimeo

Preserving and promoting Western Heritage, values and Way of Life have been my Life’s passion…Receiving recognition from the Calgary Stampede by winning the prestigious Western Legacy Award is an honor I will forever cherish.

We all know people who typify and live by WESTERN VALUES and who appreciate Western Heritage, and by doing so, usually in a quiet way, make the community in which they live a better place.  They do not seek or expect recognition, however, acknowledging their contributions, through the Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy Awards deservedly shines a light on them and expresses the community’s gratitude.

The community may be big or small, urban or rural, on the map or off the beaten path, however it’s home and its quality of life is measured by the activities and attitudes of its residents.  The presence of WESTERN VALUES and all it entails is always an asset.

Step aside soccer fans, marching bands are bound for Brazil!

This year, the Calgary Stampede challenged Calgarians by asking them, “What kind of champion are you?” For Calgary Stampede Showband members, the answer was easy: We’re WORLD champions. The Showband is currently the only marching showband in the world to ever win the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) world championship title four times and next week they’ll compete in Brazil with the aim to bring the total to five with their 2014 field show, “Aurora”.10417746_10152205525380334_4696523686268832438_nAfter a year of hard work (over 200 performances and nearly 800 hours of rehearsal!) Showband members travel to Bragança Paulista this weekend, an area just outside of Sao Paulo, where they’ll spend more time rehearsing to perfect their performance and compete in the WAMSB Brazil world championships from July 30 to August 3. Other marching show bands competing next week include ensembles from Germany, Poland, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil.10489945_10152216751141616_2459543265072823860_nThe Showband is also the only marching ensemble to ever win back-to-back WAMSB titles. In 2012, they won at home in Calgary with a field show called, “The Legend Continues”, which paid homage to the Calgary Stampede’s centennial. Last year, the Showband won in Japan with their field show titled “Momentum”, earning a score of 94.94 – the standard of distinction for marching show bands.10470923_10152216748571616_3858421127900549049_nAurora”, a stellar production inspired by the Roman goddess of dawn and the lights of the northern sky, is designed by the Showband’s local staff and elite show designers from around North America. The Showband’s Director, Aaron Park, says that tours and competitions like WAMSB are an amazing experience for Showband members. “”I am so proud of the band’s hard work. We are excited to take the Calgary Stampede’s western hospitality to Brazil and share our passion for music with fans from around the world.”

You can follow the Showband’s adventures in Brazil by following on social media. Visit the Showband’s Facebook page and follow @ShowbandCS on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates and to send messages of support!

Post-Stampede Chill-out at the Ranch

With the Stampede done for another year, employees and volunteers are enjoying  much-needed downtime and quiet days.

So, too, do the bucking star horses that brought the Stampede rodeo to life. Five days after Final Sunday, I visited Stampede Ranch by Hanna. I was accompanying Gabriele, a photojournalist from Germany on a round-the-world tour to capture images and stories of horses in their most natural elements. An experienced rider and horse breeder, she marveled at the Stampede Ranch herd’s health, pride, natural herd social dynamics, and healthy curiousity about the people who came to visit them.


Bucking horses from the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program enjoy  the most natural herd setting of any domesticated animals – with natural mixed ages herds raised on open pasture with minimal human contact beyond being halter-broken to receive regular medical treatment. Ranch-hands keep an eye on them, watching for injuries or illness and ensuring they get grain to supplement their grazing as needed. But otherwise, the herds generally roam unencumbered and freely across the ranch’s vast 23,000 acres and open skies.

When we arrived at Stampede Ranch, we hopped in the truck with ranch hand Trevor and drove to the expansive pasture where one part of the herd was relaxing – a mere 150 horses or so. There are another 450 in other pastures father afield, including the stallions, breeding mares and colts and bucking bulls that are kept separate from the general population.

In the distance you could see clumps of horses grazing. A few honks of the truck horn and the herd perked up and headed our way, lured by the promise of grain trailing from the truck with the push of a button. Soon the herd was strung out in a long looping line, munching contentedly.


This herd included current bucking stars, up and comers, retired bucking horses, and horses that never made it on the rodeo circuit, but contribute as members of a healthy herd mixture of ages and temperaments.

We hopped out of the truck and snapped photos. At first the horses sidestepped around us. But as the grain was eaten and they began grazing, they all edged closer and closer, their curiousity about the newcomers in their midst overcoming their natural shyness. Soon we were surrounded by the curious gentle giants, nudging in closer to get a look at us, and in some cases, get a pet from us.


Trevor rolled off the names of bucking stars – past and present, pointing out which horses had a bit more thoroughbred, quarter horse or heavy horse blood in the mix. There was the semi-retired Gin Neat, a name well-recognized in rodeo circles. I spoke a soft word and current bucking star Nightmare Rocket strode straight up to me for a cuddle. We’ve met before several times and he’s always eager to have his nose and cheeks petted, whether in the pasture or in the pens prepping for his performance. He was equally happy for a scratch and pat from Gabriele.


There was Lynx Mountain and Loadstone Jade, two long-time stars who are still bucking strong and kicking cowboys into the dirt. Suddenly Loadstone Jade was right up close, curious and looking for a bit of a pet from Trevor, who was happy to oblige.


With reluctance, we shook off the 100’s of horses and headed back to the pens to visit the bucking bulls, stallions and some of the new baby colts with their mares. Here, we opted to stay in the truck to avoid raising any maternal defensiveness, and simply marveled at the baby buckers from afar.


Wistfully, we thanked Trevor for his time and headed back to town, pausing at the ranch gates to share stories of late greats such as Coconut Roll and Cindy Rocket, legendary Stampede bucking stars buried in this place of honour when age and declining health claimed them at last.

But they live on within the ever-increasing power, strength and pride we see in their offspring. What a rare treat to enjoy this peaceful day, photographing just a small slice of the wonderful, natural quality of life these incredible horses enjoy all year-round at the Stampede Ranch.


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

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

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

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

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

lane and outsider 03

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

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

feed mix

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

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

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

Barn Brings Family Together

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

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


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


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

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

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

To learn more about Summer Synergy visit

The Best Caesar in Town winner, Brandon Bailey

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

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

Brandon Bailey: Just to have fun.

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

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

Best Caesar in Town_1

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

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

Best Caesar in Town_2

CS: What was your approach for this recipe?

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

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

Best Caesar in Town_4

CS: How was your experience at the contest?

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

CS: What’s next?

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

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

Best Caesar in Town Winner