The Greatest Outdoor Show On EARTH

YAHOO!! was the word of choice everywhere we went function to function, even if the audience didn’t speak english, they understood the meaning of this word! The Calgary Stampede prooved to be better than ever! The Rodeo was intense and full of HUGE talent! There was even a bull rider that would do back flips off the bucking chutes after another great ride! The best part was escorting the champions on the grandstand stage on Final Sunday!

The Chuckwagons had my heart racing as they came down that Half Mile of Hell! whoa! those guys are such tough cowboys, but so nice and down to earth. Great run guys!!
Everynight before the chucks would start, we would stand on the grandstand stage and the royals would take turns speaking, and everyone did so well everytime! I tell you, that is such a rush speaking in front of 20 thousand people! and after, we sang our hearts out to my favorite song-Oh Canada. What a special memory!
And the Grandstand Show rightfully re-named “The Big Show”! As someone put it, “it was moulan rouge on steroids!” Absolutly incredible! The entire audience was dazzled, amazed, and dancing in their seats! I can’t say enough about it! So much fun!

This was the most memorable 10 days of not only my life, but for those who got to experience the Stampede for themselves. Even all the people that were involved behind the scenes had so much passion and dedication in making this Stampede hold true to its name, “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth!”
Thank you to everyone who contributed!!

Happy Trails!
Kateri Cowley

Stampede ends with a bang

By Sarah

Emerson Drive kicked up the heels of everyone looking for one last night of great Stampedin’ at Nashville North last night. After playing their hits, they came back onstage for an encore performance of The Devil Went Down To Georgia that nearly blew the roof off of Nashville’s tent. What an end to a fabulous line-up of country music playing at the tent for the ten day event.

Hope to see you there next year!!

The Best Ten Days of My Life!

Wow!  I can hardly believe that Stampede week is over.  Tara, Kateri, Nikkole and I had a fantastic time.  Parade day started it all off – the enthusiasm from the crowds was amazing.  The smiles and cheers from the children just made the day!   Pancake breakfasts, barbeques, riding the grand entry at the rodeo, appearing on stage before the chuckwagon races and then on to other events – our days were action packed.   Our chaperones were they best – they kept us on time and on schedule, so a big thank you to them.  Some highlights included meeting Prime Minister Harper, Premier Stelmach,  A.J.Buckley from CSI, Mike Holmes and seeing Reba and George Strait.   I would have to say the whole experience of being Calgary Stampede Queen has been more than I could have imagined.  The Calgary Stampede is a first class organization and I am grateful to have been a part of it for the 2009 Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.   We have a few days off now to catch up on our beauty rest – then we are off to Medicine Hat for their Exhibition. 

Happy Trails, Kerri Williamson

Ed Melville- Championship Night

WOW!!  As I write this I am still in shock that we won the Calgary Stampede with Chad Harden.  It was as exciting a race as I have ever been in, full of ups and downs.  I feel bad for my friend Mark Sutherland, he got hit with the false start before the race, it happens to everyone, and unfortunately for Mark, it happened in the biggest race of his life. Mark will be back, but I am sure this is tough to take.  As for Chad Harden, he has been a close friend of mine for about 20 years now, and I was proud to be along with him for the biggest week in his racing career.  To the other 3 three outriders, Jason Lemieux, Chad Fike, and Jamie Laboucane (wo won the top outrider award), we are all close friends and, man, what a feeling to win it with those guys.  Jason Lemieux was a favorite of my dad, who got to know Jason through the oilpatch, and I know Jason looked up to him as a mentor and father figure.  Jason served as a pallbearer at my dad’s funeral in Oct. 2007.  It wasn’t lost on us that my dad would be looking down upon us, proud of both of us, we talked about that while we were on stage.  Chad’s crew at the barn should take a lot of pride in this, because they do all the thankless jobs so these horses can perform, and we all know how important they are.  We were in the barn last night when Kelly Sutherland came over to shake Chad’s hand and congratulate him.  That was really cool to see, and I know Chad got a real charge out of the fact that he beat The King to win it.  It means a lot to beat the greatest driver in the history of the sport.  I would like to congratulate Obrey Motowylo for winning my Grandfather’s award for Rookie of the Year, The Orville Strandquist Award.  Obrey scared everybody this week with his good outfit, he will be back for a lot of years to come.  In closing, it was a great week, $23,000 was raised for Dustin Gorst, who got run over by 2 wagons 3 weeks ago.  When I see the wagon community rally behind their own, it makes me feel proud to be a part of it.  Again, thanks to the Calgary Stampede for allowing me to become a champion, it was a great week.

God Bless

Ed Melville Jr.

Highlights for the final day of the Calgary Stampede – Sunday, July 12, 2009

It might be the final day of the Calgary Stampede, but things aren’t slowing down one bit. We’ve got a full slate of activities, events and entertainment sure to make you eager for the next Stampede.

Showdown Sunday: Rodeo’s Richest Afternoon

Showdown Sunday has arrived and the top competitors are all hoping for a big payday. This year’s total payout is more than $2 million, making the Calgary Stampede the richest outdoor rodeo on the planet. Sunday’s rodeo will determine the winners for each of the six major rodeo events – saddle bronc, bareback, ladies barrel racing, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and bull riding. For a complete listing of Showdown Sunday finalists, please visit:

Rangeland Derby

It’s been 10 days of thundering speed and excitement in all weather and track conditions. With this year’s new format, and in increase in prize value, it all comes down to Sunday’s final heats. To see who leads in the aggregate standings, visit

Calgary Stampede Lotteries

Winning draws for the Calgary Stampede Lotteries take place Sunday at midnight. There’s still time to get your tickets for the Rotary Dream Home, the Lions Groceries for Life and Lucky Loot, and the Kinsmen Wheels packages. Money raised from the lotteries helps local service clubs in their efforts to support local community projects.


Only one more day to sink your teeth into a giant barbecue burger from the Bull’s-Eye Cookshack across from Nashville North.

New “Must-Sees”

There are so many new things this year, so here’s a quick re-cap of some of the favourites you can still catch: The Rocktagon digital playground at The Bell Getaway in the Big Four Building, the Director’s Cut free 8×10 comic photo starring you in the BMO Kids’ Zone, or the increasingly popular Western Oasis and Wine Garden in the BMO Centre.

On Stage for Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nashville North: Emerson Drive 9 p.m., Hey Romeo 11 p.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Coca-Cola Stage: Johnny Reid 9 p.m.

Saddledome Plaza Stage: Recycled Percussion, The USA Break Dancers, The Treaty 7 Native Dancers and The Calgary Stampede Showband (various times throughout the day)

Today’s Rodeo Results

Tonight’s GMC Rangeland Derby Race Results (available after midnight)

Ed Melville- Night 9 Semi-Finals

Well the suspense is over a little bit.  The Sutherland boys, Mark and Kelly, along with Chad Harden and Tyler Helmig are in the final.  Three of the best outfits this week are out, which is surprising.  Obrey Motowylo’s lead team ducked on him, and he missed both barrels, which is too bad for Ob because all summer, that has been the best outfit on the track.  Jason Glass had one tent peg out of the box and that cost him the final.  And Rae Croteau crunched a barrel and it was lights out for him.  They all had great weeks, they will be back.  The only driver penalty free that didn’t make it was Neal Walgenbach, and he kind of got the trip (wide around the track)  I have 1 shot tonight with Chad Harden, and he drew the 4 barrel, with Kelly on 3, Mark on 2, and Tyler Helmig on 1.  This race could go a hundred different ways, I just hope it is clean and the drivers decide it.  Chad Harden has had his best runs all week of the 4, so hopefully tonight is no different.  Win, lose or draw, it has been a great week for me, this is the best I have felt in 5 years.  I have battled injuries the past 4 years, and was starting to question how long to keep going. I tore up my knee in 2006 on the last day of the Stampede, the saddle came lose and we hit the ground.  The doctors have told me I need a new knee, but they won’t give one to somebody my age.   I re dedicated myself to the gym to strengthen my bad knee, and it has really paid off.  Last year was terrible, but this year I feel 100% better, so we will be back for a few years yet. Good luck to all tonight, and we need some luck to pull this thing off.  Thank You.

Ed Melville- Night 8

Well it is decided who made the semi-finals, and it couldn’t have turned out much better for me.  There was some big changes last night and, as we said on the previous post, penalties proved to be devastating for some of the drivers.  Rick Fraser hit a barrel to barely fall out of the top 8, and Hugh Sinclair had outriding penalties to take him out of it.  I never hope anybody has bad luck, and I feel bad for Rick and Huey, but that’s wagon racing.  This new format is pretty wild, it gives so many more drivers a chance, I like it I think.  I ended up with 3 wagons in the top 8, Rae Croteau, Chad Harden, and Neal Walgenbach.  I can’t ride for Chad tonight because he is hooked in the same heat as Neal, but he is still one of my guys.  I hope we can sneak a couple of them in for tomorrow nights final.  This Stampede is special for me because I don’t know how many Stampede’s Neal Walgenbach and Jim Nevada have left, both are talking about retiring.  I have travelled with Jim since I started, and have rode for Neal for 15 years or more, so this is tough but special at the same time.  Anyway, tonight is another huge night, I am excited.

Ed Melville-Nights 6-7

I run into some computer problems that last couple of days, but we are back up and running now.  As the week rolls along, the pressure sure builds for some and diminishes for others that are out of it.  It is going to be a real crapshoot to see who gets in that final 8, as there are realistically about 12 guys still with a shot.  Penalties are crucial to avoid, but I guess one man’s bad luck could be another man’s good luck.  As an outrider, the worst thing in the world is if you cost your driver a penalty that prevents him from getting in the top 8, or the top 4 on Sunday.  That is your biggest fear, but it is part of the game.  We can’t make an outfit win, but we can make him lose, which is kind of a tough spot to be in sometimes.  Right now I have 3 wagons that are in contention. Neal Walgenbach is clinging to 8th right now, but by 3/100′s so we need to make a big run on Friday to keep him in there.  Rae Croteau is 9th with 8 seconds penalties, looking to get in there, and Chad Harden is fifth.  We just need to keep things clean and let the drivers decide it.

I Got a Friday Night, Get Right, Honky Tonk Attitude

By: Reid

The pundits who claim that old time classic country drenched in heartache and steel guitar is dead and can’t be sold to a mass audience were proven wrong big time at Nashville North on Friday July 10th.

Joe Diffie took to the main stage at Nashville North and delivered a set that had the entire bar on its feet two-stepping, singing, and getting rowdy. The place was electric. Diffie’s brand of three-chord country heartbreakers and fast pickin’ honky tonk burners threw the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

Image from the Calgary Stampede on Flickr

From the opening few songs I knew that this was going to be a special night. Diffie’s showmanship and his bands undeniable musical ability left me in awe of a man who has released 17 top ten hits (including five #1s) and nine studio albums, two of which were certified platinum.

I don’t think I got to leave the dance floor for one song during Diffie’s set and by the end of it all I was one tired cowboy in need of a few Budweiser’s.

After all, a man doesn’t want to get dehydrated….

Reggie’ll Try It: Tornado Potato

The Tornado Potato

By:  Reginald Tiangha

In another installment of Reggie’ll Try It!, I’ll be laying my life on the line once again for you, the Stampede blog reader, so you don’t have to (I know; I’m so considerate!).  Today, I’ll be reviewing the Tornado Potato, one of the many new food items being offered this Stampede.

Available on the midway, the Tornado Potato is essentially a spiral cut potato-on-a-stick that is deep fried.  A very simple dish.  You can then top it off with salt, ketchup, or whatever toppings and condiments that you usually put on french fries.  Of course, I’m of the sort of person that believes that sauces and such hide the natural flavour of foods, and as a professional midway connoisseur, I chose to enjoy my Tornado Potato the same way I enjoy getting my news:  plain and unfiltered.

Because it appeared that the potato was thinly sliced before deep frying, I was expecting a texture similar to a potato chip, one that was both crisp and crunchy.  However, it turned out to be more like a pan-fried potato and the texture was very similar to that of a french fry:  somewhat crisp on the outside but soft and fleshy on the inside.  As such, my initial expectations may have tainted my enjoyment of the food. Continue reading

Highlights for Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wild Card Saturday at the Rodeo

The top six competitors in pools A and B will compete on Wild Card Saturday in a one-shot, go-for-broke performance. The top two in each Saturday event will advance to Showdown Sunday. All six major rodeo events are included – saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and ladies barrel racing. Tonight’s the last shot for the teams competing in the chuckwagons to get into tomorrow’s finals, where $150,000 will be up for grabs.

The Big Show

After the Chuckwagons tonight, The Big Show hits the Grandstand with its unique brand of western magic, including Suzie McNeil, The Wheel of Death and acrobatic feats on the Dream Flight Cable System. TransAlta Lights Up the Night tops off the Show with a spectacular fireworks display that salutes Canada high into the night sky.

International Livestock Auctioneer Championship

Going once, going twice… Sold! The fastest mouths in the west will be at it again this year during the 21st annual International Livestock Auctioneer Competition under the Calgary Stampede’s Big Top. Competitors will be judged on rhythm, clarity, voice control, livestock knowledge, as well as their ability to spot bids and conduct a sale. The final round is in The Big Top at 11 a.m.

Stampede Talent Search Finals

It’s been a long road to make it to the finals of the Stampede Talent Search. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in The Boyce Theatre, 14 performers will compete to join the ranks of previous winners like Paul Brandt, The EarthTones and more.

Duelling Chefs Final

Four of Calgary’s premier chefs have competed this week. The two finalists will cook-off tonight at 7 p.m. at the Atco Kitchen Theatre in Western Oasis, BMO Centre.

Fun for Everyone

Get hypnotized by Terry Stokes or at least have some good laughs watching it happen at the Coca-Cola Stage at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Also on the Coca-Cola Stage, The Lost Fingers are playing at noon and 3:30 p.m.


Looking for an alternative to deep fried? Come have a shot of wheat grass on the Stampede Midway.

New “Must-Sees”

Agrium Ag-tivity in the City is featuring a Croplife Canada presentation. Learn about the benefits, value and safety of plant science technologies. Listen to bugs chewing on plants, participate in the Farming Frank Challenge by managing a farm, and learn about the evolution of food over the past 100 years.

On Stage for Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nashville North: Gord Bamford 9 p.m.

Coca-Cola Stage: Daniel Wesley 8 p.m., Bif Naked 9 p.m.

Saddledome Plaza Stage: Visiting Marching Bands 3 p.m.

Today’s Rodeo Results

Tonight’s GMC Rangeland Derby Race Results (available after midnight)

Some Old Fashion Horse Power!

By: Justin

Well it was a battle of old machines this past weekend at the Big Top Tent on Stampede Park. The annual vintage tractor pull and show and shine took over the covered arena entertaining the large number of fans that came to watch.  Nearly thirty drivers from all around Southern Alberta brought their vintage tractors to the show.  To enter, the tractor had to have been built prior to 1960.  The machines are then entered into one of six different weight classes for the pulling competition.  From top to bottom the tractors that were competing were in beautiful shape.  Not a detail was missed by any tractor owner in the resoration of these beautiful machines.  Besides looking good, these tractors have some serious muscle and the pulling competition was extremely competitive.  Pull offs were even required to determine winners in some of the classes.  A highlight of the event was when a team of heavy horses faced off against and old tracor in a race to pull a weighted sled down the arena.  A great event and one to not miss when the tractors role into town again next year.

This weekend the heavy horse pull is on in the Big Top Tent. Teams of heavy horses will compete in three different weight classes to determine who can pull the most weight.  It will be an unbelievable sight to see these giant animals flex their muscles attempting to pull up to five times their own body weight.  Make sure you come down and check it out!!!

Spotlight on Artist Window

By Heather Ilsley

I headed down to the Artist Window as I’ve never really understood how artists are able to just start sketching something and have it turn into art.  Do they see the whole image in their mind before they start or do they just kind of go with the flow and see what transpires?  What happens when they make a mistake?  Is there an eraser for paint?

Artist Window is a cool feature inside the Western Showcase (BMO Center Hall D & E) where you can meet an artist, watch them work, and talk with them about technique and other art-y things.

I met up with artist Dianne Middleton and watched her work on a western landscape using pastels.  Below she shows me that she’s going to have to fix the cow…apparently he doesn’t look cow-like.  Turns out there IS an ‘eraser’ that can use to help smooth out areas that you don’t like. Continue reading

Feeling faint? Free food awaits!

By Heather Ilsley

We all have our own little gems on park that we keep to ourselves.  Like good bathroom locations, best mini donut vendor, funniest salesperson at the Stampede market etc.  To all those people whose gem is the ATCO Kitchen Theatre – I’m sorry.  Your secret is out.

The ATCO Kitchen Theatre is probably one of my favorite places to visit during the Stampede.  Why, you may ask?  Well, for eight hours a day it features local chefs doing what they do best – cooking!  And, they’re at Stampede to share some of their secrets with you.  Not only will you get to see what goes into creating a culinary masterpiece, but you’ll be able to taste it afterwards!  And, if that’s not enough, you can pick up some recipes so that you can recreate the magic in your own kitchen.

Continue reading

Reggie’ll Try It: Deep-Fried Jelly Beans

Food vendors on the midway

By: Reginald Tiangha

You may have heard about it leading up to Stampede.  You may be wondering how it could possibly work.  You might even be curious on what the taste experience will be like.  However, you (and/or your friends) may not be willing to fork over some $$ just to find out, and even if you were, you may be hesitant on using yourself as a guinea pig.

So, how can you possibly find out what all the hype is about without trying to swindle a sample or a taste from a stranger or the food vendors?  Well don’t worry, because Reggie’ll Try It!

Today’s food item:  The deep-fried jelly bean. Continue reading