Spotlight on: The Extreme Cowboy Race

It’s time to Cowboy Up.

A big hit on RFD-TV in the United States, the Extreme Cowboy Race will be making its debut in Canada at the 2010 Calgary Stampede.

Originally created by Craig Cameron, the Extreme Cowboy Race is a timed and judged race through an obstacle course that is designed not only to push horse and riders out of their traditional comfort zones, but also test the communication between horse and rider and the horsemanship skills and athletic abilities of each competitor.

A multi-faceted equestrian sporting event, just some of the obstacles that have been featured in previous races have included barrel jumps, log pulls, water crossings, archery shoots, and balloon shooting with pistols or rifles.

A customized version of the Extreme Cowboy Race sanctioned by the Extreme Cowboy Association (EXCA) will be held at this year’s Stampede.

Known as the Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, it will be designed to take advantage of the audio, video, and other various capabilities of the Saddledome to create a customized race course never seen before, and you can catch it there at 3 p.m. daily between July 10-12.

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Midway Food Checklist

Wondering how you’re going to keep track of everything you want to eat on the Midway this year?  Well, we’ve come up with a handy checklist of all the food you could eat out there – the wild and wacky, as well as the tried and true.  So, print off this list, and check off the items once you’ve had ‘em.  But maybe wait until after riding the rides…

 The New Ones

___ Hot Wisconson Cheese

___ Belgian Waffles

___ Pulled pork parfait

___ Wood fired pizza

___ Meat Pies

The Wacky Ones

___ Alligator Pizza

___ Deep fried dill pickles

___ Japanese hot dog

___ Taco in a bag

___ Deep fried jelly beans

The Ones-on-a-stick

___ Pizza-on-a-stick

___ Chicken-on-a-stick

___ Cheesecake-on-a-stick

___ Pickle-on-a-stick

___ Chipstix (potato-on-a-stick)

The Classic Ones

___ Corndog

___ Mini Donuts

___ Fresh lemonade

___ Cotton candy

___ Fudge

Dot and Dolly head to training camp

Last weekend, I attended a fitness workshop near Lyalta. It was supposed to be a lot of fun, as Dot, my teammate, and a number of other teams were taught how to use a lot of the equipment we’ll have at the Calgary Stampede. Everybody at home was mad that Dot and I are leaving, and they are quite vocal about it. If they weren’t so pathetic and small, they might have a place at Draft Horse Town too, but that is a whole other story. I was as excited about having a sleepover as I was about meeting some of the other competitors and athletes. Our farm manager, driver and foster parent – we’ll call him Bob, trailer-ed us to Lyalta and helped us to get ready for the first day’s events.

Dot and Dolly in training

Dot and Dolly doing some roadwork with Bob and Bob

Bob got us ready and we had an outside trainer – we’ll call him Bob too, inspect our harness to make sure our equipment was set up right. Then the day started. I was so excited, I couldn’t stop prancing up and down. All I wanted to do was run. Pretty soon, though I regretted my ‘race day’ planning because I succumbed to exhaustion. If I had only paced myself better, I wouldn’t have hit the wall later in the day. I always find the first 10 minutes of exercise the hardest, but I did ‘hit my groove’ later. Dot was worse than me. She started out fast and really pushed me psychologically. She never says anything, but I know when she is ready to really move. Then she just stopped and didn’t want to go. When we don’t work as a team its really frustrating and I ended up doing a lot of the work. Bob had quite a talk with us both during and after the session, trying to motivate us to work together and just keep moving. He was right, but I was too tired to listen.

The next morning, I was feeling good but a little stiff. But no rest for us, we got back at it. Amazingly, I had more energy than the previous day. I think I was actually getting fit! We went around and around the field. This time we walked, but we were pulling a lot of weight behind us. We kept in unison and it was soooo much easier! Bob saw it too and kept praising us for doing it right. I really felt like we were doing it perfectly and I know Dot did too.

Stampede Mythbusters: Stampede is too expensive!

We’re back with another edition of Stampede Mythbusters.  I’ve been asking around to find out if people are going to Stampede this year and this myth seems to be a popular reason people give when they say they don’t plan on attending.  It’s a great topic to investigate because it’s something that applies to everyone – Stampede is too expensive.  Or is it?

Now, don’t get me wrong, if you WANT to spend a lot of money during Stampede, there are oodles of ways to lighten your wallet.  But, if you’re like me, you want to have a great time, enjoy some old faves, check out some new things, and know that your bank account isn’t going to be hit too hard at the end of it.

How much does it REALLY cost?

Let’s start off with some numbers so that we’re all on the same page.

Stampede Gate Admission – $14 ($11 if you take advantage of some of the deals – see below.)

Rodeo admission – $12 gets you in, but you’ll be standing.  For good value, I recommend the Bronze seats – $24.50 which includes your gate admission and the best part is you’re up high so you’re covered from excess sun (or rain!).

Grandstand and chucks – $15 puts you on the tarmac (lots of excitement down there for the Chucks, but harder to see for the Grandstand).  For good value try the silver seats – $41.50 – you’re down low so you’ve got a great view of everything, plus it includes your gate admission.

What does it get me?

Stampede Gate Admission is a smokin’ deal.  Essentially, you get access to everything except the rodeo, chuckwagons/evening show, concerts going on in the Pengrowth Saddledome, and rides on the midway.  Honestly, the Coke Stage concerts themselves are worth the admission price but you’ll also be able to check out things like the Acrobatic Ice show, the High Dive act, old faves like the Superdogs, the Western Oasis, and the Stampede market; honestly I could go on and on.

Your pre-purchase rodeo and evening show tickets INCLUDE admission to the Park.  Often it’s a better deal to buy your seats ahead of time.

I HIGHLY suggest using the Stampede Planner to see what sparks your interest and which days will let you get the most bang for your buck.  I really like the ATCO Kitchen Theatre so I ran a search on that and am going to stop by to check out the dueling chefs!  The best part is the free samples at the end!

Looking for a Deal?

There’s no need to pay full price to get into the park or to ride the Midway.  There are several deals that offer you at least a couple bucks off your gate admission.  Check out the deals page to find the one that’s right for you.  If you plan on snapping up the midway deal, act fast.  It’s only available at Safeway stores until July 8th.

Ok, I think that’s a pretty good overview of what it really costs to get in the gate, watch the rodeo, or take in the Chucks and Grandstand show.  If you want to upgrade your experience with the purchase of something like mini-donuts, luckily they are only a few dollars more!

The point I’m trying to make is that you really do get a LOT for your dollar; you can still enjoy your old favorites as well as the new attractions.  If you are looking to save some money, there are ways to do it too.

Finally, why not win to get in?  There are lots of cool contests going on through the Stampede Twitter and Facebook pages.  Check out Twitter at @calgarystampede and @HereAllYear, or the official Facebook fan page, and stay tuned to the Stampede Blog as Stampede Mythbusters keeps bustin’ those myths!

Visiting Bands of the Calgary Stampede – Don’t miss ‘em!

Well, yahoo everyone!!

This is the Visiting Bands first post, and we’re really excited to kick it off!

We’re getting so close to Day 1 of the 2010 Calgary Stampede – you can almost smell the pancakes on the griddle and sawdust in the air. If you’re a marching band fiend in Alberta, this is absolutely your favourite time of year.

We’ve got bands visiting from around the world in 2010 (including Australia and France) and some local favourites, too (the World Famous Calgary Stampede Marching Showband!!) – so don’t miss your chance to see all of them over the 10 days of Stampede. Keep an eye out for them at Stampede Park, at some of the downtown attractions like Rope Square, and at Caravan Breakfasts around the city. You’ll hear them before you see them…:)

And this is your place to get all the details of where and when the bands will be performing, what you can expect from their performances, and maybe even some ‘behind the scenes’ action!

Be sure to save the date for Showbands Live! Prelims will be Tuesday, July 13 in the afternoon starting at 1:00 p.m. in the Pengrowth Saddledome. The slate is wiped clean and the afternoon finalists compete during the evening round starting at 6:00 p.m. It’s a must see marching extravaganza!

Keep an eye on this blog for all the deets!

Know of any stellar members in the community? Help us recognize them!

As summer schedules start to kick in, many people find they’ve got some extra time to volunteer. If you know of an exceptional volunteer in your community, then the Calgary Stampede wants to hear from you!

The Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy Awards honour people from our community who have demonstrated a commitment to the western values of pride of place, commitment to the community, hospitality and integrity.

If you feel that you know of an individual or group of people that are positive contributors to the community and would like to help them get the recognition they deserve, then nominate them for a Western Legacy Award!

You can submit a nomination under three categories:

  • Youth: The winner will be a youth (up to 25 years of age) who has demonstrated his or her commitment to make a difference.
  • Innovation: The winner will have created a single visionary project that speaks to our western values.
  • Sustained Contribution: The winner will have demonstrated exemplary commitment over time to a project or cause (one or many).

Individuals and groups are eligible to be nominated, and you can nominate yourself as well.

Examples of past winners include the Cheadle Lions Club (2008 winners for Innovation) for their community project that raised funds for the World Foodgrains Bank, and Miles Robert (Rob) Aronson (2008 winner for Youth) for creating the Spread the Love project that provides sandwiches to the hungry and homeless.

Nominations close on July 30, 2010. Winners will receive a custom belt buckle by J. Vair Anderson Jewelers and the awards will be given out at an awards banquet to be broadcast by Shaw TV on October 13, 2010.

If you submit your nominations by June 30, 2010, you’ll also be entered into the early-bird draw for two tickets to the Lazy S (Stampede’s luxury seating) for the Stampede Rodeo on Sunday July 11, 2010.

Finally, look for previous Western Legacy Award winners to appear in this year’s Calgary Stampede Parade on Friday July 9.

For more information on the Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy Awards or to submit a nomination, please visit the Western Legacy Awards website.

Introducing the Stampede Spirit Photo Wrangle contest!

It’s that time of year.

People start dressing in western gear, don their cowboy hats, and businesses get into the spirit of things as well by dressing up their establishments with hay bales and colourful window art.

For the last few years now, you may have noticed Stampede volunteers giving away prizes in various places throughout the city during Stampede time if they spot people wearing cowboy hats (aka “Get Your Head in a Hat”). We do this to recognize the effort that people put into embracing the Stampede Spirit.

Did you know that we also do it for businesses? Every year, we try to recognize groups or businesses in Calgary that put in that extra effort to help provide a friendly and warm western atmosphere for the public. Stampede volunteers travel around the city scouting for groups or businesses that have decorated in a western theme, and recognize them with a plaque thanking them for their participation in continuing the western spirit of the Calgary Stampede.

However, as a volunteer myself, I have to admit, with the city growing every day, it’s getting harder and harder to locate all the businesses or groups within Calgary that take that extra step each year so that they can be properly recognized.

So, here’s where you can help!

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What’s Happening on Stampede Park June 28-July 3 2010.

By Killa Burkinshaw

Stampede is less than two weeks away so most of Stampede Park is in preparation mode for the 10-day festival.  I hope all you loyal blog readers are dusting off your boots and getting ready like I am.

To get you all in the Stampede mood, we have a couple contests that are going on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook- Looking for something to do on July 9th? We want to give you two Gold Rodeo tickets ($99 value)! Go to and write the following message in the comment box to be entered to win: “I became a fan of the Calgary Stampede Official Group and entered to win two Rodeo tickets for July 9 courtesy of Wrangler Jeans!”
Twitter-Introducing the Stampede Spirit Photo Wrangle contest!

That’s all for this week. For updates and info on everything Stampede, make sure you follow us on Twitter at @calgarystampede and @HereAllYear, on Facebook through our official Facebook fan page, and stay tuned to the official Stampede Blog to learn more about some of the things happening Here. All Year.

Spotlight on: Team Cattle Penning

Many of you loyal Stampede Blog readers should know by now that many of the agricultural based competitions that occur on Stampede Park during Stampede time have evolved from actual farm-related tasks. We’ve already covered Sheep Shearing, Sheep Herding, the Heavy Horse Pull, and the World Champion Blacksmiths’ Competition here on Stampede Spotlight alone.

Another such event is Team Cattle Penning. The sport of Team Cattle Penning (sometimes abbreviated to Team Penning for short) is, in my opinion, one of the Stampede’s best kept secrets when it comes to fast paced and exciting events appropriate for all ages, and the Calgary Stampede Team Penning Competition is happening in the Saddledome July 7 -12.

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Best Places to Find Stampede-Worthy Outfits

When July hits I always end up tearing apart my closet to piece together western-inspired outfits. This year I decided to get a head start by checking out what my favorite stores had to offer. I found a lot of neat pieces that have western flair and can be dressed down to fit your regular style post-Stampede. Here are the top 5 stores I’d recommend checking out:

#5 Old Navy If you’re looking for the basics, Old Navy is a good place start. It has reasonably-priced collard shirts for men and women and a lot of denim to choose from.

#4 RW&CO
Although there weren’t many options for women, RW&CO got a lot of points for their men’s plaid shirts. They come in some fun colours and are western enough to wear on grounds, but modern enough to keep wearing after the Stampede is over.

#3 Zara
For more feminine pieces, Zara has some nice western tops and dresses – lots of flowing fabrics and floral prints.

#2 American Eagle
This is a great place for girls and guys to find fun Stampede outfits together. They have lots of denim, plaid shirts, western-inspired belts and dress.

#1 Plum
Located in Westhills, this store was my favorite stop of the day. They have really cute dresses, tops and belts, lots of denim, and a few printed t-shirts with a fun western flair. They also have a lot of great western jewelery, including large turquoise pieces and dream-catcher earrings. A lot of their stuff is on sale right now and all denim is an additional 20% off the sale price until July 9.

Honorable Mentions
If you want to splurge on brand-name denim, Aritzia has a lot of great options. And, as always, for the real western deal, Lammles is open and ready for business.

Everybody Wins!

Keith Stephens, Commodore, tells the tale on how Lions Pride came to be

Calgary Stampede Lotteries directly supports local charities, and with the purchase of every Stampede lottery ticket you make, so do you.

The Disabled Sailing Association of Alberta is one such organization that has benefited from Calgary Stampede Lotteries money. They are an organization that allows people with disabilities to sail through the use of modified sailing boats.

With only a fleet of six boats available to them to use to help the disabled experience the freedom and independence that comes with sailing on the water, Keith Stephens, Commodore, relates the tale of how one of their racing boats got damaged on the way to a race:

“We were heading to a regatta in Eastern Canada, and when we were loading the gear, it fell out of the container nose first. The guys in Calgary said it would cost about $20,000 to repair.”

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Spotlight on: SUPERDOGS

Stock dogs aren’t the only dogs that get showcased at the Stampede.

Making their return this year is the ever popular President’s Choice SUPERDOGS, this time in a new venue.

Located this year on the upper level of the Big Four Building, the SUPERDOGS run, jump and soar to unbelievable heights. Be amazed as they perform tricks, run through obstacle courses, and showboat for the audience at every opportunity.

This year’s theme is “BFF-LOL-WOW!” because these SUPERDOGS will be your best friends forever (BFF), will make you laugh out loud (LOL), and will display antics and athleticism that will make you say “WOW!”

What’s equally just as surprising is that many of the dogs that appear in the show were adopted from humane societies and shelters throughout North America.

To give you a taste of what to expect from the show, here’s a clip from last year (although ignore the venue and schedule information in the video):
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10 Questions With…Harry the Horse

Here is another installment of our new feature: 10 Questions With… This week I had the opportunity to interview Harry the Horse, the official mascot of the Calgary Stampede. Harry has entertained people of all ages in every corner of the world. Places such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. And you will always find Harry spreading Stampede cheer right here in his hometown of Calgary.

How long have you been the official mascot and ambassador for the Calgary Stampede?

I have been the Official mascot and one of Stampede’s ambassadors for nearly 25 years.  It is sooooooo much fun!  I am always looking for new friends over 18 to come and help me (contact me through my facebook page).

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s Calgary Stampede?

There are so many things that I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait to see the Acrobatic Ice Show, the Grandstand Show, all the amazing musical acts on the Coca Cola stage and Nashville North and, of course, the Rodeo & the Chucks. Even more importantly, I can’t wait to see the tons people who enjoy all the Stampede has to offer both on the park and in the community!

What is a typical day during the Stampede like for you?

I usually start off going to a couple of Caravan breakfasts followed by other breakfasts put on by a variety of organizations. Then, I make my way back to the Stampede Grounds to perform with the Stampede Showband on the Saddledome Plaza Stage. I go have fun at the rodeo and this year will have a daily autograph session in the Round-Up Center at 2pm. After that, I get to enjoy meeting people on the Stampede grounds. In the evening I go to a variety of events, get to perform with the Band of Outriders and the Stampede Showband again, and finish my evening by participating in and enjoying the Grandstand Show & the fireworks!

You have travelled around the world entertaining and spreading Stampede cheer, what has been one of the most exciting places you have been to?

Buckingham Palace when I got to meet the Queen! We had tea and a chat. It was fantastic!!

What advice can you give to Calgarians to get into the Stampede Spirit?

Get your Head in a Hat and eat some pancakes or pigs in a blanket!

What is favourite thing to do on park during the 10 days of Stampede?

My favourite ride is the Slingshot (I did it 6 times last year!).

Stampede is just one of the events you attend every year, can you tell us about some of the other events you attend during the year?

I get to go to many school breakfasts, sporting events, conferences (including the Red Hatter’s conference), and all the parades in the area, just to name a few!

How many pairs of horseshoes do you own?

None, I wear size 40 boots!

Do you have a favourite game at the midway?

I really enjoy the Basketball shoot, and I’m pretty good at it too!

What is your most embarrassing moment?

There are so many to choose from (LOL!).  I have a lot of fun leading people in cheering “Ya-hoo!” and on more than one occasion I have been known to mix up my signs in the wrong order.  I remember a couple of times in particular that were pretty embarrassing, once where pyrotechnics were supposed to shoot from the top of my signs & misfired and another, just last year, where the sign completely went flying out of my hand on the Grandstand stage!

Special thanks to Harry for taking a break from his very busy schedule to answer my questions. Be sure to visit Harry in the Round Up center this Stampede for his autograph session. If you also want to contact Harry look him up on his facebook page.

For updates and info on everything Stampede, make sure you follow us on Twitter at @calgarystampede , on Facebook through our official Facebook fan page, and stay tuned to the official Stampede Blog to learn more about some of the things happening Here. All Year.

The Stampede Lotteries prize package roundup

Yesterday, Calgary Stampede Lotteries unveiled the prizing that’s up for grabs this year at their annual Media Day event. Here are the highlights:

  • Rotary Dream Home Package – Valued at over $770,000 and includes a home theatre package valued at over $20,000, a deluxe playground system valued at $8,500, a complete move-in package from AMJ Campbell Vanlines valued up to $15,000, and a full year of home insurance. This year’s Rotary Dream Home will be located in the NW Calgary community of Panorama after the final draw.
  • Lions Groceries for Life – $700 a month for the next 20 years to spend on groceries. That’s worth an extra $168,000 in your pocket over 20 years.
  • Lions Lucky Loot – This year, the grand prize is $250,000 in tax free cash, plus a diamond bracelet worth $15,000. Plus, $50,000 will be up for grabs in the Money Booth located in the BMO Centre during Stampede.
  • Kinsmen Wheels Fifth-Wheel & Truck – Available to be won this year is a 2010 Seville 35CK Fifth-Wheel trailer complete with amenities such as a slide-out bedroom with queen bed, 42” LCD TV with a five disc changer, flush mount ceiling speakers, and surround sound, central vacuum system, and an electric fireplace. To haul this RV, also included is a 2010 GMC Sierra 3500HD SLE 4WD Crew Cab with a powerful Duramax 6.6L DI V8 diesel engine. The total prize package value is $149,824.
  • Kinsmen Wheels Truck & Toys – This eco-friendly prize package includes a 2010 GMC Sierra 1500HD 4WD Crew Cab with a 6.0L SFI Flex-Fuel HYBRID V8 Engine, four Ultra Motor A2B Electric Bikes and trailer, plus a complete campers package consisting of a 14×16 wall tent, cots, stoves, an inflatable boat with electric trolling motor, and more. The total prize package is valued at over $72,000.
  • Kinsmen Wheels Boat & Wheels – Included in this prize package is a 2010 Chaparral 186 SSi Ski Boat with a 4.3GL Volvo Penta engine with 190 HP as well as a wakeboard tower and holders and matching trailer. To haul this boat around, also included is a 2010 GMC Sierra 15004WD Crew Cab SLE with a 5.3L SFI Flex-fuel V8 Vortec engine. Total prize package value is over $94,000.
  • Kinsmen Wheels Harley-Davidson Motorcycle – Up for grabs is a 2010 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited motorcycle consisting of a 103” motor, oil cooler, tourpack luggage rack, heated handlebar grips, chrome wheels, and much more. Total prize package value is over $44,000.
  • Kinsmen Wheels Chevrolet Camaro – Valued at over $39,000 is a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2 Door Coupe with 3.6L DOHC SIDI V6 Engine with variable valve timing, 6-speed automatic transmission, bluetooth in-vehicle system, remote keyless entry, electronic immobilizer vehicle theft deterrent, power windows, air conditioning, and much more.
  • Kinsmen Wheels GMC Terrain & Mountain Bikes – A great prize if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure getaway, included in this package is a 2010 GMC Terrain AWD 4 Door SLT2 with 3.0L DOHV V6 Engine and four Giant Rincon Disc Mountain bikes with Shimano Alivio drivetrains and Hayes mechanical disc brakes. Total prize package is valued at over $47,000.
  • Stampede Showband 50/50 Draw – Returning this year is the 50/50 draw in support of the Stampede Showband, Showriders, and other youth initiatives of the Calgary Stampede. Tickets will be available at each Rodeo and Chuckwagon performance.

It’s not too late to purchase advance tickets. Each ticket purchase gets you 20 chances to win and entitles you to one free Park admission and 50% off premium seating at the Rodeo or Evening Show with your order. Deadline for advance tickets is midnight, Monday June 28, 2010.

More pictures from the event after the jump.

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Spotlight on: Sheep Herding

An important task for anyone involved in raising livestock is herding. Most times, the herding of livestock is performed with the assistance of other animals. In the case of sheep, it’s usually performed by border collies, although it’s not unusual for other breeds of dogs to be used. Border collies are typically chosen for their energetic temperaments and their intelligence.

Last time on Stampede Spotlight, I told you about how something as simple as sheep shearing could turn into a popular competition worldwide. Sheep herding has turned into a popular competition as well, and the Calgary Stampede runs its own competition every year, known for being one of the richest competitions around with over $16,000 in cash and prizes available to be won this year.

It’s “woof, woof” meets “baa, baa” as stock dog meets sheep stock in a battle of wills during the World Stock Dog Championship happening on July 11 and 12 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

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