School’s Out….Let’s Stampede!

Dadanast’ada!!

UPDATE TIME!!!

At the end of March the Stampede Royalty attended the GMC Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Canvas Auction, escorting the drivers on and off stage to be bid on; and it was broadcasted on Shaw TV. It was so much fun!! It was a very cool experience to escort some of the guys that you see racing every year during the Stampede. I had to escort some of the taller guys too, and with being 5’2”, I can imagine how odd it looked.

I also got to meet Terry “Mantracker” Grant and tell him about my recent trip to Berlin where I met his cousin Ted!  You’re welcome Ted! :)

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My stampede sisters and I also participated in a photo shoot for Avenue Magazine and will be featured modeling clothes from the Stampede Store, be sure to keep an eye out for the issue!!

In April I got to attend Aggie Days! I remember when I was in grade 3, Aggie Days was a highlight field trip and I always remember that was the first time I learned how to milk a cow and spin a rope. Seeing the kids at Aggie Days reminded me of how excited I was to learn about agriculture in Alberta. I was at Aggie Days all 5 days from the Wednesday to Sunday and had a blast! The first 3 days were open for schools and on the weekend was open for the public. The Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses and I attended the Rodeo every day and did rodeo demonstrations in the dirt with Harry the Horse, three of us were the barrels and one of us would run the barrel racing pattern. I was also busy at the Indian Events exhibit signing autographs, giving out paper crowns and participating in dance demonstrations every day. After the 5 days at Aggie Days we managed to give out 7,500 crowns and sign 700 postcards! That’s a record so far.

Dancing Pair

I then traveled to Chestermere where I was a guest speaker and did a dance demonstration at Prairie Waters Elementary School. The school was hosting a culture fair and awareness day and I was proud to represent the treaty 7 First Nations culture as an aspect of this culture fair.

This past Friday, I was a celebrity food seller at Lawson Lundell Celebrity Hors d’oeuvres in support of Alberta Theatre Projects and teamed up with the Marriott Hotel, of whom the chef, Lorraine Fowler, won two awards for her d’oeuvres.  I had the chance to meet actor Shaun Johnston who plays “Jack Bartlett” on CBC’s “Heartland.”

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On Saturday I was also a guest at the Calgary Dance Stampede event, I was a performer to over 200 guests! It’s so exhilarating to me when I get to perform and share my culture in front of that many people.

We are now 72 days away from Stampede 2013 and the calendar is getting busier and busier.  This morning I wrote my last exam at the University of Calgary and I’m now ready to Stampede!

For those who would like to receive more updates during my year, you can follow me at any of the social media options below.

Until next time!!

CSIP Amber

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Royalty Springing into Action!

Spring is here (plus or minus a few “snowy” set backs ;) ) and I cannot believe that it is almost the end of April already! As we do get closer to the summer months, my Stampede sisters and I cannot help but wait in anticipation and excitement knowing that the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is just around the corner! Through our excitement in waiting for the Calgary Stampede to kick off, we have been hitting our busy spring schedule full force! From Aggie Days, to school visits, to photo shoots, my Stampede sisters and I have been so excited to spread some Stampede excitement in and around the city!

 Just recently we were asked to be special guests at a 4-H Foothills District Fun Night in High River. 4-H is one of Canada’s longest-running youth organizations for young people between the ages of 8 and 21. This program gives youth opportunities to learn new skills from public speaking to keeping records of their 4-H projects, while making friends and connections within the community. I was a member of the Okotoks Outriders 4-H Lightladies4H Horse Club for nine years and believe that the program itself helped me greatly in developing numerous skills that I have been able to use as I have progressed throughout my life. Therefore, when I heard that we were requested to a attend 4-H event I was very excited to be able to return to the program and share my story of how 4-H has contributed to my journey in obtaining my dreams and goals, like becoming a member of the Calgary Stampede Royal Trio!

 At the District Fun Night some of the local sheep, dog, beef and horse 4-H clubs attended and competed in a lip-sync competition. While the members showed off their lip-syncing skills, members, friend and family enjoyed a great night with a wonderful dinner, silent auction and dance! As the special guests, my Stampede sisters and I were invited to judge the lip-syncing competition as well as give a presentation on the highlights that we have had in our year so far, and inform everyone about the upcoming competition for the new 2014 Stampede Royalty. Although none of us had ever judged a lip-syncing competition before we had a blast watching each club entertain us with their funny costumes, choreography and creative props! From Tim McGraw to Grease we heard it all and had a great evening not only judging the lip-sync competition but mixing and mingling with the 4-H members and getting everyone excited for the Calgary Stampede! :)

As I said before spring is a very busy time for my Stampede sisters and I so be sure to keep checking out blogs, Facebook page and Twitter (@StampedeQandP) to keep up with what exciting adventures we get up to around the city!

Enjoy your week in the sunshine and I’ll talk to you soon!

 -Princess Danielle

 P.S- Your George Strait song for this week is “The Seashores of Old Mexico”- perfect to get you in the mood for some warmer weather!

 P.P.S- The month of April is Royalty birthday time! Both I and my Stampede sister Queen Jessica have birthdays at the end of this month. We are both so excited to be celebrating our birthdays with each other as Stampede Royalty-truly a birthday we will never forget  :)

The City Gets a Taste of Country

What do you get when you put a whole bunch of children, farm animals, a rodeo, and farm equipment all in one building? Aggie Days!!!! This past week the Stampede has dedicated there time to teaching kids all about the farm life. Many people don’t realize that unless you grew up on a farm or close to one children may not know where milk, eggs, beef, pork or grain for their bread come from.

The two Stampede Princesses, Indian Princess and I have spent all week participating in Aggie Days and sharing our love for the rural lifestyle. Each morning we would attend the rodeo that was put on at the Corral. The first two days were for school groups only. All the classes came piling in and filled the majority of the seats. It was amazing to see so many kids experience there first rodeo. The rodeo had four events, Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Barrels, and of course the kids favorite Bull Riding. We would sit in the crowd and help cheer on the cowboys and cowgirls. When it was time for the Barrels the Catherine, Danielle, Amber, and I would help Harry the Horse demonstrate how the pattern was done. This consisted of three of us pretending to be barrels and one running the course with Harry, every once in a while we get to have a little fun! At the end of each rodeo the Royalty along with the cowboys and Ranch Girls would go into the arena and sign autographs for all the children.

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Everyone year at Aggie Days the Queens Alumni puts on an event called Giddy Up. This is where children with special needs and their families can come and experience Aggie Days without such a huge crowd. It is reserved just for them. We started our morning off by posing in a photoshoot with each child and a friendly little pigmy goat we named “Muffy.” Each child was so excited to be there and it was wonderful being a part of that experience for them

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The Indian Princess and I also had the opportunity to read a book to a group of children in the Scholastics reading corner. I have never seen a group of children sit so quietly and listen to the entire book. They soaked in every world that was read. After the book reading they were able to pick out a book that was about other farm animals or farming lifestyle to take home, all free from the Scholastic Books.

It may only be April but Stampede is getting closer and closer. Our schedules are filling up fast and before we know it Stampede will be here!!! Stay tuned to hear about the next events we attend!

Meet the 2013 Next Top Artist!

After months and months (okay an exaggeration, it was only two months) of searching through photos from our incredibly talented city, the Next Top Artist (whose paintings will decorate the walls of the 2013 Stampede Rotary Dream Home) has been decided by the design crew at Homes by Avi and Gibson Fine Art.

I’d like to introduce you to Caroline Stanley – a young, talented artist who with her trusted side kick (a very cute dog named Sisquo (pronounced sisco, who granted spends most of his time sleeping, but is helpful nonetheless) is currently putting the finishing touches on 30 pieces to hang on the walls for over 100,000 people to see. With four paint brushes in her hand (she can hold as many as six) and a palette of oil paint, she took the time to give me a brief tour of her studio and a sneak peek at the art for our Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Dream Home.

1)  What is your educational background?
I always took any and all art classes in school and enjoyed it so much that I took extra classes at an art studio during junior/senior high school. After graduation I went to the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2003 to do a 4 year bachelor of fine arts degree, majoring in painting.

2)  What inspired you to become an artist?
I can’t think of one thing in particular that really inspired me to be an artist; it’s just always something I’ve done, enjoyed and been good at. Growing up I had an abundance of smelly markers and crayons, and when I was about 10 or 11 I was obsessed with The Lion King and had a binder full of free-hand drawings I did of all the characters! After high school, I didn’t really know what to do besides art so art school just seemed like the right place to go.

3)  Who has been your biggest influencer as an artist?
There have been different teachers and artists at different stages along the way. One teacher I took classes from around age 15-18 helped me understand a few essential things about being an artist; that we are a little unique and see things differently than most (like staring at a glass of water, studying how the light reflects off it) and also that making and showing a work of art to the public or other artists can feel like you’re exposing all your secrets to the world.  His influence helped me see that I wasn’t alone in the way I thought and felt.  His encouragement helped me believe I had a talent I could do something with.

4)  How would you describe your style of painting?
Haha people always ask me this and I don’t really know! Maybe I just don’t want to restrict myself to a labeled box. I like to play so given the chance I feel like my art can take on different styles. But I guess if I had to pin it down for now I’d say something like saturated realism, saturated being that I tend to intensify colours. I love patterns and colours and design so when I’m out and about these are the types of things that catch my eye that I want to capture. While most people would be looking at the big picture of beauty, the mountains and the lake and the sky, I would be fascinated by small details like the colour of bark on a tree or the way the water moves over rocks. (Side note about Caroline’s studio – there is a wall of inspiration that contains close up photos of nature that depict the small details of colour and beauty that is often overlooked)

5)  If you could purchase one piece of art to hang in your living room – who would it be by?
Hmm…This is a really hard choice; I really enjoy Jon Hartman’s paintings. The huge cityscapes from a bird’s eye view, I love his use of colour and line and how they have a playful ease to them.

6)  How will winning the Next Top Artist change your career?
Winning this competition still seems crazy to me, unreal, even though I’m working on all the paintings for it. It was such a shock to even make it into the top 5, not a change of direction I was expecting so suddenly. Since graduating ACAD in 2007, I’ve been doing a lot of pet portrait commissions (except for the 2 years I spent traveling). This has been my main source of income and what many now know me as; “the girl who paints dogs!”. It’s great to actually be functioning as a fulltime artist and painting a subject that I love (dogs) but there’s been an itch in my fingers for a few years for a way to expand into something else, but with my lively hood depending on sustaining the commissions and some fear about “well what else can I paint? and once I do, what do I do with it?” it’s been hard to seriously branch out into anything else. Winning this has essentially provided a huge switch in the tracks!

Having only 3 months to complete an entire body of work has forced me to put all the dog paintings on hold and focus on painting nature, a subject I’ve been taking close-up pictures of for years. It’s been a nice change of scenery, reminding myself that I’m more than a painter of dogs, and hopefully others will see that too.

The representation at Gibson Fine Art will also be huge, my art hanging in a gallery?! It’s kind of something I wasn’t sure would ever happen! Honestly I didn’t really have an aim or goal in mind for my art. I was just doing what I do, taking things as they come, keeping my eyes open for potential doors and I guess just having faith that something would come when it was meant to. Then this opportunity falls in my lap. Just nuts! So being given this opportunity will definitely change my art career, to what extent I’m not sure (I still have maaannnnyy people waiting for dog portraits!) but it’s given me an outlet for another avenue of my art which I’m very thankful for. Overall I’m excited about the chance to capture nature through paint, having my art seen by thousands of people during the Stampede and after, and just being able to express the beauty of intricate designs, colours and patterns for the viewer to experience. It’s an unbelievable honour.

7)  What’s your favourite Stampede memory?
My favourite Stampede memory is going as a little kid: they use to have duck and pig races that were awesome! The ducks would race waddle around the track and then climb up a little ramp and go down a slide into a kiddy pool full of water at the end. And the little pigs would just run like crazy! It was great! Come to think of it, I wonder how they got the ducks to ‘race’?

8)  What Stampede Midway food do you love?
Stampede food has got to be mini doughnuts. Corndogs are also delicious!

Looking for more information on Caroline’s artwork – browse her website or follow her progress on the Stampede artwork on Facebook.

Want to purchase tickets to win the Rotary Stampede Dream Home or other amazing prizes? Buy advance tickets and get:

  • 11 tickets for the Rotary Stampede Dream Home
  • 9 tickets for the Kinsmen Wheels
  • Entry into Early Bird Prize draws on June 11 (if purchased by May 24!)
  • Park admission
  • 50% off Calgary Stampede Rodeo or Evening Show Tickets (limited quantities available)

Check out the Great Stampede Lotteries website for information.

Countdown is on to the 2013 Calgary Stampede!

 

Guten Tag Berlin!

Hello!  Dadanast’ada!  Guten Tag!

Since my last update I had the HONOR of representing not only the Calgary Stampede and Indian Village, but to represent Alberta and Canada, at the world’s largest trade show in Berlin, Germany! I had an amazing time!!

ITB Berlin consisted of 27 pavilions, each was sorted by the continent and in each continent were different countries all promoting travel and showcasing their country’s food, music, culture and tourist attractions. For example, walking through the Africa pavilion, you would encounter people from Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya etc.  Walking through the different pavilions allowed me to meet people from all over the world! I saw it as “walking across the world”. This was such a different experience for me because I didn’t just meet people from Germany, I met people from the entire globe and had the change to invite all to Canada, Alberta and the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!

IMG_0187While in Berlin, I did have a few opportunities to sight-see and experience some Berlin’s attractions such as the Charlottenburg Schloss (Palace), which was incredible! It was my first time being in an actual castle and I was blown away by its architecture and history.

IMG_0412I also visited the Berlin Cathedral, which is the largest church in Germany and was completed in 1905, but its history dates back to the 17th century. I not only got to tour the cathedral but I was lucky enough to tour the dome as well and look out from the dome to the city of Berlin.

IMG_0466Finally, one of the highlights of sightseeing was Brandenburg Gate. I performed my traditional women’s fancy shawl dance right in front of it!! It was a proud moment for me to represent and share such a prominent part of Treaty 7 First Nation’s culture on the other side of the world. If you would like to watch the dance it can be seen here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh0W8Eensdc

Another highlight was an International Press Breakfast where I met many people not only from Germany, but from Eastern Canada and the United States.  I also met Miss British Virgin Islands…her crown was incredible!

MIss BVIFinally, I attended a Canadian Tourism Commission reception at the Canadian Embassy and presented a piece of artwork by Indian Village sponsor and artist Paul Van Ginkel, on behalf of the Calgary Stampede Indian Village to the Embassy. This presentation was an honor!

CTC ITB 2013I would just like to thank the Calgary Stampede Tourism, Sally Leung and Lindsey Jardine for this opportunity and their hard work in organizing this trip.  It meant so much to me and I cannot begin to explain the experience I gained from I and it was truly something I will never forget! I would also like to thank the Canadian Tourism Commission for being so welcoming to me while there, along with everyone from Travel Alberta. This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am extremely thankful and humble about the experience I gained from it.

Until next time!

Indian Princess Amber

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FROM BIO-COMPOSITES TO BLUSH: HOW AGRICULTURE MEETS OUR DAILY NEEDS IN NON-FOOD WAYS

Aggie Days is almost here! Here is a guest post by Cami Ryan. Cami is a researcher with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of the Calgary Stampede’s Ag Media Committee. Her family farmed and she grew up as a “townie” in rural Saskatchewan. Farming and agriculture have always been an important part of her life – both professionally and personally. Cami lives with her family and a collection of critters on an acreage just south of Calgary. Check out her blog: http://doccamiryan.wordpress.com/ 

Don’t miss Aggie Days this weekend at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Admission is FREE for everyone! And make sure you become a fan and follower of the Aggie Days Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the latest news!

“Food” is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think about farming and agriculture; things like fruits or vegetables or commodity crops such as wheat, barley and canola. Food is an essential part of our every day lives and we are fortunate to live in a part of the world where we can enjoy a variety of foodstuffs sourced from our friendly farmer.

But did you know that farming and agriculture is more than just “food?” Whether you live in the city or the country, products of agriculture are all around you. And you just might be surprised the shape and form those products take!

Take, for example, biocomposites. A biocomposite is a material formed through the combination of a polymer with natural plant fibers such as hemp or flax. Biocomposite materials can be easily molded into things such as car dashboards or car door panels. (See the biocomposite specs on the “Kestrel” car developed in Alberta by Motive Industries). Biocomposites are also used not only in the manufacture of weed control materials or textiles but also in the development of green building products such as biofibre insulation and cement and fibreboard panels (see the Alberta-based company, TTS, for information on their biocomposite products and innovations).

Car panel door, photo sourced from: Wikipedia

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have agricultural goods used in the manufacturing of hair and skin care products as well as cosmetics. Emolient oils (EOs) are extracted from the seeds of crops such as flax, palm, soybean, sunflower, hemp or canola. EOs can penetrate the skin and bind to the membrane of the skin making them useful additives to a variety of beauty products such as skin moisturizers, anti-dandruff shampoos and even permanent waving agents. Cornstarch, derived from corn, is often used in eyeshadows and blushes.

Peas have been known to be used in facial masks. Oats and oat products serve as effective moisturizing and skin protection agents. And let’s not forget “Royal Jelly.” Royal Jelly is secreted from the glands of worker bees to feed larvae and queen bee within a bee colony. Not only does Royal Jelly have anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory properties (and pharmaceutical application), it is also widely used in cosmetic and beauty products. Lanolin is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. It is used in a variety of products from cream make-up to lipgloss to hand and skin moisturizers. Even bull semen is used as an additive in hair care products!

These are just a few of many examples of how agriculture is all around us. Agriculture is more than just food… it is an essential part of our everyday lives. No matter where we live!

Different Types of Ag Operations in Alberta

Golden fields of wheat blowing in the breeze and cows lazily grazing in the lush green pasture are the first things that come to most people’s minds when they think of Alberta agriculture, but there’s more to the provincial ag industry than grain and cattle. The Wild Rose province is home to many different types of agricultural operations such as beekeeping, sugar beets, pulses, market gardens, elk, bison, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, dairy, eggs and much more.

Did you know that Alberta is the largest honey-producing province in Canada? That’s right. Alberta produces approximately 40 per cent of Canadian honey. There are about 275,000 beehives throughout the province producing an average of 141 pounds per hive annually. Long daylight hours in the summer; access to vast expanses of clover, alfalfa and canola that provide foraging for bees; and a world wide reputation as suppliers of quality honey are all advantages for Alberta honey producers.

And if that doesn’t make Alberta sweet enough, the province also produces refined sugar. There are approximately 250 sugar beet growers in southern Alberta who provide the only domestic source of sugar in Canada. These producers grow approximately 35,000 acres of the speciality crop. A long growing season; few diseases; excellent soil; warm and sunny summers; cool and sunny autumns; and high quality irrigation water combine to make southern Alberta a perfect location for high yields of quality sugar beets. Every day consumers enjoy sugar products grown in southern Alberta.

Consumers also enjoy healthy dishes such as baked beans, split pea soup, hummus and chili courtesy of Alberta pulse producers. These delicious foods that are high in fibre, gluten free and a source of protein, are made with pulses, which are the edible seeds of legumes. There are about 5,000 pulse producers in Alberta. In 2011, pulse primary production contributed approximately $240 million to the provincial economy. In Alberta, a variety of pulse crops are grown including field peas, dry beans, lentils, chickpeas and faba beans. Pulses are an important part of a producer’s crop rotation as they help break disease cycles, reduce inputs because of their nitrogen fixing abilities; and increase yields on other crops in the year following a pulse crop. In addition to being good for the land and growers’ bottom lines, pulses are also an important part of the growing food product development industry in Alberta.

Speaking of beans and peas, market gardening is also popular in Alberta. Market gardening is producing fresh vegetables and marketing these crops directly to the consumer. Fresh vegetable market gardening is distinct from commercial production in which the vegetables are marketed through packers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurants in order to reach the consumer. Market gardeners are small-scale producers. They develop their own markets and sell all of their produce directly to consumers during the growing season. Market gardens are often operated as complementary enterprises with bedding plants or u-pick berry production. Many producers are also incorporating ag tourism and events to drive retail sales. Vegetables such as beets, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, pumpkins and much more are grown here in Alberta.

For more information on these ag industries check out the following websites:

Alberta Beekeepers: www.albertabeekeepers.org

Alberta Sugar Beet Growers: www.asbg.ca

Alberta Pulse Growers: www.pulse.ab.ca

Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association: www.albertafarmfresh.com

Don’t miss Aggie Days this weekend at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Admission is FREE for everyone! And make sure you become a fan and follower of the Aggie Days Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the latest news! 

Community Development Committee assists University of Calgary Dinos Rugby Club

Dinos2013-Scotland2

The University of Calgary Rugby Football Club (UCRFC) embarked on a major tour to Scotland which coincided with the university’s reading week, February 14, 2013 to February 25, 2013 and would encompass three games plus various cultural tours in the Glasgow / Edinburgh areas. The group reached out to the Calgary Stampede to obtain some iconic white cowboy hats to wear on the tour, in order to represent our city in style.
I was able to catch up with some of the team members and gather a summary of individual responses to the questions below. 

How did you decide you wanted to bring the iconic “White Hat” with the team to Scotland?

The team felt it would be a good tour theme but more than anything, what better way to portray a team from Calgary.  The hats represent Western Canadian values but more importantly, values we hold dear in our city.  These values symbolize respect, honour and pride in our heritage.  The hats would be a novel memento, unique & recognizable- and fun to wear.

How recognizable do you feel the hats were?  Did most know you were from Canada, or even Calgary, specifically?

The hats were very recognizable however many

initial thoughts were USA / Texas origin with some knowing Calgary.  The hats did elicit many comments and questions which allowed the players to explain where we were from.  Team was very recognizable in a crowd and this helped bring the team together.  The hats were in great demand.

One of the most memorable moments was when the team caught the attention of an elderly Scottish gentleman in Glasgow who in jest informed us that the only way we could possibly wear the white hats was if we were from Calgary.  Well we got the last laugh when he found out not one, but all of us were.

Did you notice any extra attention while travelling with them in airports or at the games, for example?

We were very noticeable in the airports and felt unified in representing the University of Calgary wearing the hats.  Again lots of comments and questions from people and we even had a Calgarian post a Facebook post about seeing us at Heathrow airport.  A group of 30 wearing cowboy hats is not a common sight in Europe.

Were you able to speak with people who had experienced the Calgary Stampede first hand?

Generally speaking most people we spoke to had not experienced the Stampede first hand.  There was an older gentlemen who had been many years ago, a few who definitely had heard some Stampede legends and many more who have ambitions of coming to Canada and specifically to Calgary to take in the Stampede.

What does having your head in a white cowboy hat mean to you?

Most of us took pride in representing the city of Calgary by wearing the cowboy hats.  There is no single better symbol that defines history & tradition of Calgary and the Stampede.  It is the top of the western trifecta, boots. Levis and the white hats…..makes you feel a few inches taller!!

This is a wonderful example of how the Calgary Stampede is an organization that has reach not only within the community, but a further global presence as well. I know that when I wear my ‘White Hat’, I feel so incredibly proud to be a Calgarian and a strong supporter of the Calgary Stampede. Only 86 more days until Parade Day everyone! 

paisley cowboy hats

Edinburgh cowboy hat

Building a Farming Career

Don’t miss Aggie Days this weekend at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Admission is FREE for everyone! And make sure you become a fan and follower of the Aggie Days Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the latest news!

Here is an Aggie Days guest video blog by farmer Gary Chambers on choosing farming as a career. Gary owns and operates a 100+ year old 2,300-acre family grain farm northeast of Drumheller, AB. He is also co-owner of Century 21 PowerRealty.ca with offices in Drumheller, Airdrie, Calgary and Strathmore. Gary is past president of the Realtors Association of South Central Alberta and currently is serving as a director for the Canadian Real Estate Association MLS Technology Council which operates the MLS and REALTOR.ca in Canada. Gary’s passions outside of his busy work schedule include all endurance sports but primary cycling and his blog www.TractorView.com that helps educate farmers and real estate professionals on social media, technology, and whatever else is on his mind.

Aggie Days: Free Fun for the Whole Family

Looking for something to do with the kids next weekend?  Pop over to Aggie Days at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park on Sat, April 13 and Sun, April 14. This FREE annual event is guaranteed to be a fun day for the entire family.

Aggie Days

If your kids love animals you won’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity to see more than 100,000 square feet of agricultural exhibits with cows, sheep, and horses; plus farmers, ranchers, blacksmiths and more.

Attendees will get to try hands-on activities like cow milking, seed planting, and watch sheep shearing and stock dog demonstrations.

CS Aggie Days

As much of our society becomes further removed from life on the farm it’s important to preserve the rural-urban connection, and ensure the next generation knows where the items they purchase at the grocery store come from.

“Aggie Days is committed to educating children and adults about agriculture through unique and interactive displays,” says Connie James, Chair of the Agriculture Education committee. “It is an industry that we depend on heavily; however, so many people are unfamiliar with it. Aggie Days gives children and adults the opportunity to make a connection between the food they eat and the farms that grow it.”

bolo ties

Stop by the Next Generation Committee’s display where kids can hand-craft their very own bolo tie, and parents can get the inside scoop on how to make the most of your Calgary Stampede experience this July!

Plus, we’ll have details about our amazing contest for those who are on Twitter and Instagram, with multiple chances to win some amazing prizes between now and Stampede.

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More information on Aggie Days can be found here2013-aggie-days-floor-plan

Agriculture Every Day!

Aggie Days is only days away! Here is a guest post by Cami Ryan. Cami is a researcher with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of the Calgary Stampede’s Ag Media Committee. Her family farmed and she grew up as a “townie” in rural Saskatchewan. Farming and agriculture have always been an important part of her life – both professionally and personally. Cami lives with her family and a collection of critters on an acreage just south of Calgary. Check out her blog: http://doccamiryan.wordpress.com/ 

Don’t miss Aggie Days this weekend at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Admission is FREE for everyone! And make sure you become a fan and follower of the Aggie Days Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the latest news!

 

When you wake up and your feet hit that hardwood floor until you tuck yourself into those cotton sheets at night, agriculture is a constant in our everyday lives.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?  Eggs? Perhaps a couple pieces of toast?

Between the farmgate and your morning breakfast plate, a lot happens! The agriculture value chain is always at work bringing food to your table every day. Eggs are recognized for their outstanding nutritional qualities containing vitamins, iron and protein. Did you know there are more than 1,000 registered egg farms in Canada? On average, flocks are comprised of just over 19,000 chickens that each lay approximately 300 eggs per year! From whole wheat to rye to whole grain products, there are a number of healthy bread options. Did you know Canada is known the world over for its premium wheat varieties? Wheat is grown throughout Canada but mostly in the Prairies with Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan being the three major growing provinces. Canadian mills grind over 3.5 million tonnes of wheat, oats and barley every year and export these products to more than 30 countries!

WHEAT-FIELD

How did you get to and from work or school?

Whether you drove or used public transportation, biofuels likely provided the fuel that got you from point “A” to point “B.” There are two forms of biofuels: ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is produced from crops like corn, sorghum, potatoes, wheat and sugar cane. When ethanol is combined with gasoline, it creates fuel burning efficiencies.  Biodiesel is specifically designed for diesel engines and is derived from natural oils like soybeans. Like ethanol, it is a renewable fuel. Both forms of biofuels have definite advantages over petroleum-based alternatives gasoline – they are way better for the environment!

Great Lakes Biodisel

What’s for Dinner?

Do you fancy a BBQ? Rib steak with a side of quinoa and maybe a fresh garden salad? Did you know that there are 80,000 beef cattle ranches currently operating in Canada? In 2009 alone, Canada produced over 3 million pounds of beef. Canada is the 6th largest beef exporting country in the world and the average Canadian eats approximately 46 pounds of beef per year! Quinoa is a relatively new crop for Canadian agriculture but several varieties have been adapted grow on the prairies. If you have never tried it, quinoa is a great alternative to rice or pasta and has a mild, slightly nutty taste to it. An excellent source of protein and carbohydrates, both the seeds and the leaves of the quinoa plant can be eaten. The leaves can even be cooked and served as a side dish, similar to beet greens. Speaking of green, what about a nice, fresh salad with that BBQ?

Alberta beef BBQ

Now that we know what’s on the BBQ, let’s talk about what’s in it. Did you know that biomass pellets and briquettes are made from agricultural and forest harvesting residues and are used in BBQs? And not only in BBQs, but in boilers and furnaces as well! This alternative energy source is cost effective and helps us all to reduce fossil fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Good night… and Good Ag!

It’s been a long day… how about an evening snack of cereal or a cup of warm milk before you hit the (cotton) sheets? As you cross that kitchen linoleum floor to the fridge to grab a carton of milk, take note that flax oil is used to manufacture this type of flooring. It is also used to finish wood and is an important component of the paint that is on your walls. Most people think that flax is just for use in cereal or as a nutritional supplement. It’s so much more than that! Flax is used to make linen fabric and is currently being developed as insulation for buildings and as composites in car dashboards, too! Flax is such a flexible crop and Canada is a world leading producer and exporter of flax.

Finally, as that milk simmers on the stove, think about this. Did you know that the typical dairy cow produces 30 litres of milk from two daily milkings? The dairy industry ranks third in the Canadian agricultural sector following grains and oilseeds, and red meats. Most (80+%) dairy farms are located in Ontario and Quebec and the average dairy operation has about 60 cows. That means lots of wholesome dairy goodness including cheese, yogurt and cream on your table every day!

Cheese selection

From “Eh” to “Zzzzz….” – and throughout the day – Canadians use hundreds of things that are products of modern agriculture. From food to fuels; from linoleum to lotions – agriculture plays an important role in our day-to-day lives.

Look around you… what things can you see that come from agriculture?

Alberta Cattle Ranchers Put Environment First

Aggie Days is only a week away! Here is a guest post by Rosie Templeton. Rosie is an Agricultural Communications and Agribusiness major at Oklahoma State University. She grew up on her family’s cattle ranch and grain farm near Coaldale, Alberta. She is on Twitter @rotempleton and blogs at absolutelyagriculture.blogspot.com

Don’t miss Aggie Days April 13 and 14 at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Admission is FREE for everyone! And make sure you become a fan and follower of the Aggie Days Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the latest news!

 

The Taillieu family of Tomahawk Cattle Ranch believes that cattle ranchers and farmers are environmentalists above all.

The Taillieus received the 2013 Alberta Beef Producers’ Environmental Stewardship Award for their innovative practices and sustainable management. They were nominated by fellow cattle producers and selected by a panel of conservation and agricultural representatives.

Taillieu

Through grass and water management, Gerry and Grant Taillieu and their families brought new life to their ranch northeast of Drayton Valley, Alberta.

“The recognition that we needed to fix things was right away,” said Grant, referring to the ranch’s condition when they took over in 2001. “There were no major breakthroughs or quick fixes. We’ve just tweaked a little every year.”

Grant said the ranch now has about four times more grass thanks to improved grazing management.

“We’re seeing grasses we haven’t seen in this area in seven or eight years,” he said. “The biodiversity, plant species and quality of the grass has improved.”

Gerry and Grant have conquered many of the obstacles presented to them by the land. A portion of the land is located on Low Water Lake, a body of water that left soft, vulnerable ground after being drained in the 1960s. Rather than allow the cattle to graze on it year-round and hinder its ability to keep producing grass, the soft areas are only grazed in winter when the ground is frozen, Grant said.

GerryGrant

The Taillieus do not use tractors or other equipment to work grazing land and all moving of the cattle is done by horseback. They have also implemented controlled-access bale grazing.

“Bale grazing is a fantastic way to feed cattle in the winter,” Grant said. “It keeps the cattle out of confinement and in the fields as long as possible.”

Taillieu2

A lined dugout prevents water seepage and solar-powered water pumps ensure a clean, reliable water source.

With improved grazing techniques, they have managed to add to their steer and weaning weights while raising lower-weight cows.

“We’ve seen a world of difference in how the calves do,” Grant said. “Keeping the cattle moving to different pastures is good for the grass and the cattle.”

Grant said that the financial benefit of becoming more environmentally sustainable is evident. Keeping the grass in good condition has removed the costs associated with having to reseed periodically.

“We use the cattle as tools to improve the land,” Grant said.

Taillieu3

The Taillieu family has used sustainable resource management to reform an overgrazed ranch into a successful, productive operation.

Grant said his family believes in leaving the ranch in better condition for the next generation and working with the land rather than around it.

“A healthy ranch will look after you,” Grant said. “We can’t be successful at what we do at the expense of the environment.”

 

Check out these Cow Facts:

  • A cow is a mature female and is a member of the bovine family.
  • A heifer is a young female cow that hasn’t had a calf yet.
  • Cattle is the name for the entire “cow” family.
  • A cow can climb up the stairs, but cannot climb down. This is because her knees cannot bend properly.
  • Cows don’t bite because they have no upper front teeth. Instead they have a thick, tough pad of skin on their top jaw. They curl their very large tongue around the grass and feed they eat.
  • Cows can see colour.
  • Cows can detect odors up to 5 miles away.
  • They “moo” and use different body positions and facial expressions to communicate with each other.
  • A cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day.
  • A cow produces around 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
  • Cows can drink up to 35 gallons of water a day.
  • You have probably heard that a cow has four stomachs. Not true. A cow has only one stomach, which contains four digestive compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.
  • Cows produce around 90 percent of the milk in the world. Any warm-blooded animal such as goats, sheep, horses, reindeer, camels and water buffalo also produce milk.

Aggie Days is Back with More New Exciting Displays

From a honey-loving bear to a life-sized cow to month-old kids, Aggie Days has it all. Don’t miss this free, family event on April 13 and 14 at BMO Centre, Stampede Park. There will be several new exhibitors in attendance.

The Calgary and District Beekeepers Association is bringing Pierre, the honey-loving bear, to Aggie Days. The beekeepers will also have a display that shows how the bees work in their unique bee society within an easily viewable beehive.

From the honey we eat to Honey the dog. The Calgary Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit will have Honey the dog at Aggie Days. Honey and her handler, fire investigator Brad McDonald, will demonstrate Honey’s remarkable ability to detect chemicals that might have been used to start a fire. Honey is a 52 lb. Labrador Retriever who underwent five weeks of specialized training before she became an official member of the Calgary Fire Department.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development in Lethbridge is bringing a micro aquaponics system with live plants and fish that can be viewed up close.

The mama goats recently had their babies so the little kids (baby goats) will only be about a month old when they make their first appearance at Aggie Days. They are too cute to miss.

goats

The Calgary Stampede rodeo and draft horse town committees are also joining Aggie Days this year. The Rodeo committee is bringing their Build-A-Cowboy program to the BMO Centre. Test your bronc riding skills on the mechanical horse, slip your hand into a bronc rider’s glove and handle the tack that is used on some of the best bucking stock in the world. The Draft Horse Town committee has a new and improved Incredi-Pull. Test your “horsepower” as you harness up and prepare to see if you can pull more weight than everyone else. They will also have two huge heavy horses for you to meet and pet.

Nutrients for Life will help guests learn about soil science and agricultural sustainability through hands-on displays. They will show us that plants, like people, require nutrients to be present in certain quantities in order to be healthy.

The Alberta Food Processors Association have partnered with Safeway to produce an incredible display of more than 1,500 items you can find on grocery store shelves that are made right here in Alberta.

crop_products

And Syngenta Canada has created an amazing 1/64 scale model farm which will be at Aggie Days for the first time. You will be able to see what a typical Alberta grain and livestock farm looks like with this incredibly detailed model farm.

Let’s not forget about past exhibitors. Some of the exhibitors you have seen and loved in the past are back with new displays this year.

Alberta Milk has an engaging new display that enables kids to attach a milking machine to a life-sized fiberglass cow to see how effectively a cow is milked with the milking machine. Learn the “Journey of Milk” through the interactive exhibit that Alberta Milk has created.

dairy_cow

And Bayer CropScience has a new display titled, “Agriculture Past and Present” that is highly interactive and educational. There are three major activities in the hands-on booth: 1) Matching Games: seed – plant – product, and old and new farm equipment, 2) Mystery Scope on the Rope – an association of pests, worms etc. magnified and the actual item hidden in a box with clues provided to assist in guessing what is hidden in the box, and 3) Thank the Farm. Postcards are provided so children can write a message of thanks to a farmer and Bayer will ensure the postcards are delivered.

For more information on all that Aggie Days has to offer visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/aggie-days/

Time to Meet Our Royal Princes

Behind every Calgary Stampede Queen or Princess is a noble steed…. and ours just happen to be quite a handsome bunch! Throughout the year we get to use Quarter Horses, Hawk, Kansas and Snoopy, for numerous events throughout the province, including parades, meet & greets and for grand entries at multiple rodeos- including the greatest of them all, The Calgary Stampede! Although “our boys” (Hawk, Kansas and Snoopy) are seasoned veterans in what to expect throughout the busy year, we are not! Therefore, as a part of our duties and responsibilities throughout our reign, my Stampede sisters and I get to exercise, groom and develop a relationship with our equine princes throughout the months ahead!

Last week was our first official meeting with the boys for the 2013 season and my Stampede sisters and I were quite excited to use our new saddles, which were sponsored by Eamor’s Custom Saddlery, and get to exercising our new royal partners! Throughout the year, Hawk, Kansas and Snoopy call Heathercrest Ranch home and we are fortunate enough to be able to use Heathercrest Ranch’s facilities to practise and improve our skills with the horses on a weekly basis. I would like to take this time to thank Heathercrest Ranch for supporting the Royalty and taking such great care of our royal horses throughout the year as it is much appreciated by all!

IMG-20130328-00761 (2)The first meeting with our boys went great! We adjusted our equipment, groomed and familiarized ourselves with each horse and got to learn a bit about each of their personalities…which I am sure we will learn much more about in the next couple of weeks!  I am so excited to have started this aspect of our role as Calgary Stampede Royalty, as riding in the grand entry at the Calgary Stampede has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl! Now I get to see the behind the scenes look at the great horses that allow us to make some of those memories my Stampede sisters and I have dreamed about making come true!

I cannot believe that our reign is over halfway finished and I am truly grateful to have been given such a great opportunity that has allowed me to experience and learn so many new things about our own community and new ones alike, The Calgary Stampede and myself :)

I wish you all a great week and will talk to you soon!

-Princess Danielle

Ps- Your George Strait song for the week is: “Check Yes or No”-one of his classics and one of my favorites! Enjoy!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAkccSjLfus