For SAIT’s 100th birthday: Stories of SAIT and the Stampede’s shared history

SAIT is turning 100 this year–pretty incredible. Did you know that SAIT may not have reached this momentous birthday if it wasn’t for the Calgary Stampede? During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force used SAIT’s buildings as a Wireless Radio Training School for Allied soldiers. Rather than see the school shut down, the Stampede stepped up and offered SAIT space to run its classes. SAIT used the Grandstand as its temporary school until 1944, and even ran classes in July.

SAIT teaching under the Stampede Grandstand 1940

SAIT teaching under the Stampede Grandstand, 1940

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What makes a great pie? Julie Van Rosendaal weighs in in anticipation of the Community Fall Fair this Saturday

 This Saturday, October 15, Stampede is hosting a Community Fall Fair in ENMAX Park. A free event featuring pumpkin spice pancakes, wagon rides, live music around the fire, pumpkin decorating AND a Best Pie in Calgary contest! Food blogger Julie Van Rosendaal will be one of the judges at the contest. Here she tells us what she thinks makes a great pie and shares her favourite Saskatoon Berry Pie recipe.

A wise friend once said that the best kind of pie was the kind on your table. I heartily agree – although I do love a good pie, its best qualities tend to be who made it, and why, and with what ingredients? There are crisp and flaky pastries and juicy, flavourful fillings – but the best kind of pie is the one shared among friends. We’ve started having regular pie parties, at which everyone is asked to show up with a pie, which makes everyone insanely happy. Not only is an excuse to make pie, but to eat it – and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love a good pie.

saskatoon pie 2

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Where does your Thanksgiving meal come from? Learn about key ingredients grown on Alberta farms

Well, Thanksgiving has rolled around once again. With snow flurries in the air, it’s going to be a cozy one. Have you ever thought about where your Thanksgiving meal comes from? Alberta farmers are hard at work all year to bring those delicious foods to your table. Here’s a little window into the story of your potatoes, wheat and turkey. This Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to thank our Alberta farmers!


Of course no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without stuffing, and with bread as its core ingredient, wheat is at the heart of your stuffing. Here’s a staggering fact: wheat has been around for 11,000 years. A few more:

Alberta Wheat

  • Wheat is the third largest production crop in the world and the largest crop grown in Canada.
  • Wheat is grown on approximately 6.8 million acres of land in Alberta and 24 million acres in Canada.
  • Alberta produces 8.3 million tonnes of wheat annually.
  • Alberta’s wheat feeds consumers both internationally and at home.
  • Alberta produces enough wheat in one year to make 9,258,000 loaves of bread.
  • Wheat is on the Alberta flag!

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Jacket and gloves bought at Indian Village in 1956 return home

Back in early May, Jack Scott emailed me about donating few items his family had picked up at the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village in 1956 to the Archives. He was emailing from Dalkeith, a small suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland but had plans to come to Calgary at the end of the summer and would like to bring the items along.

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Jack, aged 6, and his sister at the 1956 Stampede. He had the original photo restored, but the Indigenous man’s face remains damaged.

Chatting over coffee, Jack marveled over how much Calgary has changed since he was here in 2001. In a thick Scottish accent, he explained that his dad was in the Air Force and so he, his sister and his Scottish mother moved around. A lot. Jack was born in Manitoba and lived in Whitehorse and Calgary before moving with his family to France and, eventually, Scotland. The jacket and gloves travelled along with them. “There I am, aged six,” he said, pointing at a young boy wearing a too-large headdress in the restored photograph he brought along. It was taken at the time that his family bought the jacket and gloves.

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The front and back of the Stampede Archives’ newest donation: a jacket bought in Indian Village in 1956. On the back, “White Horse Y.T.” has been added in black and white beads. The family had recently moved from Whitehorse to Calgary.

Indian Village gloves

These well-loved beaded riding gloves with gauntlets accompanied the jacket.

“Sorry it’s dirty,” Jack said, pointing to the jacket. “I tried to get someone to clean it in Scotland, but they were too afraid to wreck the beading.” No problem. The wear and tear show how well-loved the jacket and gloves truly were. Jack’s sister used them for years when she was riding, though she complained that the jacket was not warm enough. To solve this, Jack’s mom brought it to a seamstress to line it with one of his dad’s silk sleeping shirts.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

Despite offers from collectors, Jack firmly believed that the items needed to come back to Calgary. Because his family bought it at Indian Village, the Stampede’s Archives are a perfect fit to store, protect and – in the future – display them. Having travelled from Calgary to Europe to Scotland, the jacket and gloves have made a worldwide journey and are now back with the Calgary Stampede.
If you have any items you would like to donate to the Calgary Stampede Archives, please contact

Get your fall cozy on at the Community Fall Fair with horse-drawn wagon rides, live music around the fire, a local market, pumpkin spice pancakes and more!

On Saturday, October 15, the Calgary Stampede will host its first Community Fall Fair in ENMAX Park. Since officially opening in June of 2016, the beautiful park has hosted the President’s Event and been home to Indian Village during Stampede time. The Community Fall Fair is simply one more event that will showcase the spectacular new green space within Stampede Park.
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The Legendary Lynx Mountain

It was everything a final ride should be.

On August 6, 2016, Zeke Thurston climbed into the chutes at the Home on the Range Champions Ride Saddle Bronc Match. Surrounded by the rustic beauty of western North Dakota, the crowd seated around the natural amphitheatre cheered him on. Thurston settled into his saddle, nodded his head, and exploded out into the arena on the back of the Calgary Stampede’s Lynx Mountain.

“She reared out of there, she was just up and down and had a few moves up in the air,” said Thurston. “She’s just the epitome of a bucking horse.”
At 22 years old, and already a two-time Calgary Stampede Champion, Thurston has many more years ahead of him in the sport. Lynx Mountain, on the other hand, made her final ride that day.

Lynx Mountain carries Zeke Thurston to the win – photo courtesy Robin Blankenship

Lynx Mountain carries Zeke Thurston to the win – photo courtesy Robin Blankenship


“She’s 15 now, and has done as much as she’s needed to do,” said Stampede Ranch Manager Tyler Kraft, reflecting on her career. “She went to the CFR, Vegas, Texas. To go out on top winning Home on the Range, I felt like it was a nice place to call it quits.”

Lynx Mountain carried Thurston to the win in North Dakota, and earned herself a bronze in the process as the top Saddle Bronc Horse of the event. Finishing in top spot has been a familiar spot for her from the very beginning. Over the span of her career, cowboys who drew Lynx Mountain had a 25 per cent chance of taking first place.

“She’s the horse you wanted. Big rodeo, small rodeo, it didn’t matter” said Thurston Adding, “She’s just been so good for so long.”

Lynx Mountain with Wade Sundell at the 2014 Calgary Stampede

Lynx Mountain with Wade Sundell at the 2014 Calgary Stampede

As a five year old Lynx Mountain made it to the Canadian Finals Rodeo for the first time, and has been selected to compete every year since then. Her style and ability to allow riders to showcase their skills also earned her yearly trips to the National Finals Rodeo from 2007 – 2016. But through all the years of competition, it wasn’t just Lynx Mountain’s abilities in the arena that endeared her to those closest to her.

“She’s pretty calm, just one of those horses that’s an easy keeper,” says Kraft. Adding with a laugh, “She gets along well with the other horses as long as they remember who’s at the top of the pecking order!” Affectionately describing her as the ‘Queen Bee’, Kraft says Lynx Mountain is definitely a leader, with lots of followers and friends. He points to Fearless Warrior and Gross Beetle as the two horses she most prefers to spend time with both on the road and at home on the Stampede Ranch.

A peaceful morning at the Stampede Ranch

A peaceful morning at the Stampede Ranch

Lynx Mountain will be enjoying ranch life full-time now that she’s retired. The mare is the daughter of a horse named Turtle Mountain and was sired by Stampede stud Walleye Roan. As part of the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program, it’s now hoped she can carry on that valuable blood line.

“Her being a mare, that’s special,” said Thurston, clearly passionate about the animals that carry him to victory in the sport he loves. “You can keep that horse’s blood lines with Calgary for many more generations and keep that greatness going. Hopefully we get a bunch of baby Lynx Mountains!”
We hope so too!

Watch a special tribute video here 

Meet the 2017 Stampede Indian Princess

The Calgary Stampede is pleased to introduce Savanna Sparvier as the 2017 Indian Princess. Savanna is 19 years old and from the Siksika First Nation. Her Blackfoot name is “All Around Snake Woman” which is a third-generation name passed down to her from her Grandmother, who she is named after.

Savanna is a ladies traditional dancer is working towards her goal of becoming a teacher in both the English and Drama departments. Her parents are Sandra Sparvier and Mario Girolami, both from Siksika First Nation. Savanna is a direct descendant of the last traditional Chief of Siksika (Duck Chief).

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess 2017

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Meet the 2017 Calgary Stampede Royalty!

After competitions including horsemanship, speeches and a number of other events, the  2017 Royalty have been crowned. We are thrilled to introduce you to Indian Princess, Savanna Sparvier, Stampede Queen, Meagan Peters and Princesses, Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman. These women will act as official ambassadors of the Calgary Stampede, promoting western heritage and values, in the community and around the world. Additionally, the Stampede Indian Princess will educate people about the rich, vibrant First Nations cultures. Get to know these four accomplished women in the short interviews below!

2017 Royalty

From Left to Right: Princess Brittany Lloyd, Queen Meagan Peters, Indian Princess Savanna Sparvier, Princess Lizzie Ryman

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Calgary Stampede named Stock Contractor of the Year

It’s no secret we love our animals, and are always proud to celebrate their success. So being named the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s 2016 Stock Contractor of the Year is a pretty big deal for the Calgary Stampede. Voted on by members of the CPRA, these annual awards recognize the best-of-the-best in the rodeo industry.

“The hard work and dedication of the rodeo committees make it possible for us to showcase the animals that come from the Stampede Ranch,” says Calgary Stampede Ranch manager, Tyler Kraft. “We are extremely appreciative of them, as well as the competitors who trust us to provide great horses and bulls for their sport.”

Tyler Kraft with some of the horses at the Stampede  Ranch

Tyler Kraft with some of the horses at the Stampede Ranch

The Calgary Stampede is the primary stock contractor for eight rodeos in Canada and the United States including the Strathmore Stampede, Armstrong Stampede, Pendleton Round Up, and the Calgary Stampede itself. Stampede horses and bulls also compete year round at many other rodeos throughout North America.

Shadow Warrior carries Caleb Bennett at the Calgary Stampede

Shadow Warrior carries Caleb Bennett at the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede would like to congratulate all of the other award winners this year, and encourage those looking for the full list of winners to visit the Pro Rodeo Canada website.

Championship Fall For Stampede Stock

Another rodeo season has come to an end for the Calgary Stampede stock. If this were hockey, we would say the team is heading into the post-season with only the major championships left to go. For the horses and bulls of the Calgary Stampede rodeo string, this past couple of months has been a road swing with multiple wins.


Stampede Rodeo Stock

Jake Vold Rides Xplosive Skies to the win in Hermiston

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Giving back to the community: Stampede volunteers paint the town

On Saturday, September 17, fourteen volunteers from the Community Projects & Development, Next Generation and Promotion volunteer committees participated in the City of Calgary’s Paint the Town program. Through Paint the Town, volunteers paint the exteriors of seniors’ homes, from the trim, to fences, to decks and railings.

The house we went to belongs to a senior who has lived in her home for 59 years–next year, will be her 60th anniversary in the house. She told us that she hadn’t done much to the home since her husband died five years ago.

Stampede Paint the Town

Stampede volunteers with the homeowner. She got to keep the hat!

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Take the road less travelled to the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler

On October 12-16, the Calgary Stampede will welcome hundreds of competitors from across North America to the annual Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. Some will fly in. Others will come, hauling horses from thousands of miles away. The end goal is the prestigious competition in the state-of-the-art Agrium Western Event Centre. But getting here, and enjoying the city and surrounding countryside can make the experience just that much more memorable.

We spoke with two of the top competitors from 2015 about the competition, and the importance of enjoying the scenery along the way. Russ Elrod, the 2015 Open Futurity Champion, resides in Terrebonne, Oregon.  Carl Gerwien, the 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion, lives just outside of Calgary near the town of Nanton, Alberta.

Russ Elrod, 2015 Open Futurity Champion

Russ Elrod, 2015 Open Futurity Champion

Carl Gerwien, 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion

Carl Gerwien, 2015 Non Pro Futurity Champion



Calgary Stampede: You come to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity. What is your favourite thing about it? Continue reading

Meeting horses and other adventures at Stampede School

When was the first time you got to pet a horse? For many Calgary students, it’s at Stampede School. Professional horse trainer Muffy Knox visits Stampede school almost every week with two equine assistants and the goal to teach kids about horse communication and the proper way to handle and look after horses.

Muffy Knox Stampede School

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Why this year’s Stampede Doors Open will be the best ever

The Calgary Stampede is once again participating in Doors Open YYC. We are excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at little-seen places in the Stampede Grandstand, Rodeo chutes and chuckwagon barns, with some new twists this year! You will learn about the inner-workings of our biggest events: the Stampede Rodeo, GMC Rangeland Derby and the TransAlta Grandstand Show. Here are a few reasons why a (free!) visit to Stampede Park will be a great way to spend your Saturday on September 24.

Doors Open - Grandstand plans

This rendering and write up is from the 1972 Stampede annual report. The Grandstand opened two years later.

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Back to school: 10 fascinating facts about our earth, sustainability and agriculture from Journey 2050

Well, this week is back to school—and while many people will be sharing their “What I did this summer” stories, we are asking: What are you excited to learn about this year?

Here’s something to get your wheels turning: How will we sustainably feed the world in 2050?

Whoa, that is a big question! And this question is at the heart of a one-of-a-kind education program for grade 7-12 students at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park. It’s called Journey 2050.

Journey 2050_1

Journey 2050 students

Intrigued? Here are 10 things students learn in just one day about the challenges our world faces, sustainability and agriculture: Continue reading