The Stampede Showband heads to Japan!

This month, the Stampede Showband will bring Calgary’s unique brand of western hospitality to Japan to defend its title in the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) world championships. On August 11, the Showband will perform its 2013 field show, titled “Momentum”, in Chiba, Japan. This is the Showband’s 4th trip to Japan, with the last time being 15 years ago in 1997.

The mirrored yoga balls used in "Momentum" are each covered with over 5000 tiny shiny stickers!

The mirrored yoga balls used in “Momentum” are each covered with over 5000 tiny shiny stickers!

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Stampede 101-That’s a Wrap!!

Well my Stampede sisters and I completed the most intense, exciting and memory filled adventure of our entire reign as we successfully survived the 2013 Calgary Stampede!! Although our Stampede adventure was filled with quite a few early mornings, more pancakes than we knew what to do with, adrenaline filled grand entries and many late night fireworks, my Stampede Sisters and I wouldn’t have traded the experience of being a part of the 2013 Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth for the world!

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One memory that stands out in my mind from our ten day adventure was doing our final grand entry on showdown Sunday. After over a week of doing grand entry at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth -which, by the way, had been fueled with many nerves and butterflies over the course of the week! haha- our last ride into that big arena and hearing our names called for the final time was nothing short of a bittersweet memory and I will cherish forever. Ever since I was old enough to remember the Queen & Princesses riding in the grand entry at the Calgary Stampede I knew that I wanted to have that same memory and experience as the many privileged girls before me. I finally got to add that memory to my list during the 2013 Calgary Stampede and I feel incredibly blessed and grateful for the opportunity to have been able to partake in such a memorable event.

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I would also like to take this time to thank the countless volunteers, employees and participants that made the 2013 Calgary Stampede such a successful and unforgettable event. Not only did the Calgary Stampede put on another year of amazing experiences and events, it did so despite the weeks precursor to July 5th that put the city, community and surrounding areas into a tail spin. The City of Calgary and those within surrounding communities came together in the wake of the flood to show everyone just how resilient the city and the Calgary Stampede can be. I was very proud to represent the Calgary Stampede as an ambassador before the flood, however, after the events that have taken place, I believe that this Stampede has meant more to Calgarians and those within the community than any other year. I believe that the Stampede coming together to put on another great year of events provided the rays of hope for many within the community that needed it during this time. It is that simple characteristic that justifies just how truly proud I am to represent the Calgary Stampede and this great city.

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Although the major milestone of being a part of the 2013 Calgary Stampede has been completed in our journey as the 2013 Stampede Royalty I know we have many more adventures to come! Make sure to keep checking our Twitter and Facebook page for updates about upcoming events we will be attending, and I hope your Stampede experience was just as memorable as mine!

Have a great week!
Princess Danielle

PS- The George Strait song for the week is “ How Bout Them Cowgirls”- as a tribute to my Stampede Sisters successful ten days of grand entry!

The rodeo legend known as “Ma”

For years, the name Coconut Roll brought respect, excitement and a touch of fear into the hearts bareback cowboys across North America. Her motherly reassuring presence at the Stampede Ranch warmed the hearts of the younger horses and earned her the nickname “Ma” and the close affection of all our ranch hands. Earlier this week, we mourned the passing of this legendary bucking mare when she died of due to a chronic illness at the age of 20 years old.

Her final resting place? A spot of honour at the Calgary Stampede Ranch, where she was born and raised.

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She was a special, special mare. She had an incredible athletic ability in the arena, and you could just see her competitive spirit and natural pride each time she competed. Each time the cowboys drew her name, they’d get excited because they knew she was going to give them a tough ride but if they could hold on until the horn, they’d have a great shot at being on top of the board.

Coconut Roll was the pride of the Stampede Ranch for many years. She bucked her way to the Canadian Finals Rodeo on 11 occasions and to National Finals Rodeo a total of 10  times. She came by her talents naturally. The genesis of her “Roll” name was her mother Rolly Polly, and her father was famous bucking horse Wild Strawberry – themselves both selected many times for the U.S. and Canadian Finals. For those cowboys who hung on, she carried them to the pay window 114 times. A total of $550,000 has been earned the hard way from a ride around the arena aboard this bareback athlete. Many Stampede rodeo fans will remember the 2006 showdown when Davey Shields Jr rode Coconut Roll for an exceptional score of 91.5 to win the $100,000 jackpot.

Outside of the arena, she was an important part of the natural herd at the Stampede Ranch. She was a key mare in our Born to Buck program and is perhaps best known as the natural mother of the Stampede’s top champions bucking horses – Grated Coconut and Kauai Coconut. She was a really great mother hen to not only her own foals, but all the younger horses in the herd – such as wonderful, matronly presence among them.

Born in 1997, her foal Grated Coconut went on be the most successful bareback horse in the history of the sport – earning a world championship title for a record six times. Grated Coconut is now retired and siring the next generation of rising bucking stars. In 2000, Coconut Roll gave birth to Kauai Coconut, a Stampede Ranch bucking star who is currently tossing cowboys in the dirt and appeared at this year’s Stampede rodeo.

Coconut Roll was retired after the 2010 Canadian Finals Rodeo, and returned to the 22,000 acre Stampede Ranch to roam full-time with the herds she was raised with and that she herself raised. She has continued to be part of the breeding program through recipient mares.

A couple of years ago, she developed Cushing’s Disease – an overactive adrenal gland – and was being treated by Stampede veterinarians. Her health and quality of life declined rapidly in recent weeks, and she was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, July 10 at the age of 20.

This legendary bareback star and mother has more than earned her place of honour, buried at the entry gates to the Stampede Ranch with her own tombstone, alongside the Stampede’s other much-loved and celebrated bucking legends. She is celebrated in the rodeo community as “Coconut Roll”, but to our ranch hands, she’ll also be fondly remembered as “Ma”.

Meet the volunteers: Guy Anderson, Rodeo committee

Trying to find Guy Anderson, a volunteer with the Rodeo committee in the CBC Trailer was harder than I anticipated. I knew it was behind the Infield, but there wasn’t just one CBC trailer–there was an entire maze of them.

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I finally found Guy seated in the dark, soundproof broadcast production trailer seated behind a multitude of screens along with the entire CBC live television broadcast team. Once again, I feel amazed by the number of mini-worlds within Stampede.

Guy quietly pointed me around the room–one woman keeping track of time, one taking care of the fonts (you know, when a name or score flashes onto the screen), the director.

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A Stampede Celebration in China

If you’ve ever met Janet Jessiman and Gabby Franco, then you’re probably aware that they know how to throw a good party!

These two long-time Stampede volunteers didn’t let their recent move to Beijing damper their Stampede spirit.  Instead, they shared it at a special gathering with 37 of their new Chinese friends.

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It’s official!  2 Promotion Committee members + 1 Reception Committee member + 37 Chinese folks = 1 great Stampede party.

With videos of the Stampede and Calgary playing in the background, Janet served up some sliders and a few other nibbley foods.  Most of their guests had never tried a hamburger before.

The handy “Calgary Stampede Party in a Box” that they picked up last year included everything for a good western party, from a souvenir banner to cowboy party hats. Gabby said their guests had never seen frisbees before and had fun tossing them around the room.

Janet’s daughter Samantha, and her fiancé James were also in town for a visit and with western tunes pumping, Sam got a chance to teach them all some line dancing moves.

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“Needless to say they had a blast.  They were so genuinely thrilled to be doing this and now want to visit Calgary for sure!  They kept coming up to us asking for posed pictures, and toasting (we had beer of course), and repeating how much they were enjoying themselves,” said Gabby.

While they took the party with them, it was not quite as good as the real thing.

“At one point I was putting the sliders together and I looked up to a video of the Stampede.  Yup, tears in the eyes and realized how much I missed it,” said Janet.

Thanks for sharing your western hospitality with our friends on the other side of the world.  Hopefully we’ll see some of your pals at Stampede 102!

STAMPEDE 101- YAHOO & THANK YOU!

- WOW! Hard to believe STAMPEDE 101 is already over and is the newest chapter of Stampede history.

To my host hotel Carriage House Inn, the companies and committees who were kind enough to invite me to attend their events, the many media opportunities afforded to me and to everyone I met along the way, THANK YOU for making those ten days the most incredible time in my life.

Amber

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Meet Jason Glass, 2013 GMC Rangeland Derby Champion

On Saturday, I traveled over the barns to meet Jason Glass, of the Shaw checker wagon four time winner of the World Chuckwagon Championship, to talk about the life of a chuckwagon driver. Jason was fresh off his win of the Aggregate Championship. We sat down with a cup of coffee. Last night, Jason took home the 2013 GMC Rangeland Derby Championship. Congratulations Jason!

CS: So what time do you guys get here?

JG: 6 a.m. The horses get their morning exercise and their food. We try to get back for an afternoon nap before we’re back at 4 to get ready for the race.

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CS: What do most people not know about the life of a chuckwagon driver?

JG: Most people don’t understand the love and care that goes into these horses. Chuckwagon driving is a way of life. My whole family travels with me.

And all of the drivers are like one big family. We leave home in May and travel together until the end of August.

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Chris Hadfield’s memorable visit to the Calgary Stampede

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Chris Hadfield was just a little busy the past couple months.

In a span of less than 60 days, the amiable Canadian had hopped off the International Space Station, flown half-way around the world, rediscovered his balance, restored some bone mass, learned to eat non-floating food, socialized with the Prime Minister of Canada, then led a two-hour parade on horseback at The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Not too shabby for a guy who hadn’t set foot on the earth in nearly five months.

Having Commander Hadfield as the 2013 Parade Marshal was a tremendous honour for the Calgary Stampede, the city of Calgary and the entire province. Hadfield was a kind, personable guest, helping to launch the 2013 edition of the Stampede with a much-needed boost. After everything southern Alberta had been through in late June, we couldn’t have asked for a more charismatic headliner.

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“He thanked every security person at each gate, he thanked every server and every volunteer that opened a door for him or brought him a water bottle,” said Tannis Ebbels, who helped coordinate Hadfield’s hectic Stampede schedule. “He never took off his cowboy hat or Parade Marshal badge for the four days he was in Calgary and was an ambassador that exemplified western hospitality.”

Chris and his wife Helene enjoyed a stay in the Palliser Hotel and made the most of their three-day visit – shaking hands and chatting up fans, dropping by the annual President’s Breakfast and Reception, the Rodeo and Chuckwagon races, the University of Calgary, and the Ismaili Community Breakfast.

But it was Parade morning that we will remember most about Chris Hadfield’s stopover.

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In the early morning hours of Friday, July 5, Hadfield was perched atop of a beautiful white horseready to lead a two-hour celebration through the downtown core. It was proof that the Calgary Stampede was indeed going to happen in 2013, despite a disastrous flood that nearly tore a hole through our province.

When asked if he was enjoying his experience during the Parade, Hadfield was as gracious as ever.

“I’m the luckiest Canadian in the country. I think every Canadian should get a chance to do this. It’s a wonderful privilege. When you’re flying in space, this is the sort of day you dream about back on earth.”

 

Pow Wow at Indian Village

Indian Village has become one of my favourite place on Stampede Park. It’s far from all the noise and chaos. It smells like smokey fires. It’s colourful. It’s peaceful. I stopped by for the competitive Pow Wow earlier this week and asked Pow Wow volunteer and tipi owner Cheryl Crowchief to tell me more about the tradition.DSCF8197Cheryl told me that the Pow Wow is a celebration–of cultural pride, of heritage and life. “We are thankful for everything,” she said. “For every breath that we take. For every little thing–like shade and water.” The Pow Wow celebration gives thanks.

Every tribe has a an annual Pow Wow. The tribes visit each other’s Pow Wows. “When we visit each other, it’s like visiting family,” said Cheryl. When you Pow Wow together, you become family.

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Reggie’ll Try It: Bang for Your Buck

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Determining what’s good bang-for-your-buck is always difficult, no matter what the discipline. Do you look solely at price, or do you also give consideration to other factors such as quality, amount of product received or ease of use?

One of my favourite places on Park during Stampede time is Weadickville, especially the Weston Bakery. Their $2.50 sausage rolls as well as 2 for $2 cheese sticks and various pepperoni sticks have gotten me through many a Stampede. You can also find $2 waters in Weadickville as well as $2 Frosters from Mac’s. For under $5, you can have yourself a very satisfying lunch. To me, that’s good value.

There’s also value to be had out on the Midway, although with the sheer number of items sold out there, it’s sometimes hard to find the true gems. For today’s #CSFoodie challenge, we were tasked with finding the Best Value on the Midway and were instructed to sample 9-10 items that might fit the bill, many of them previous contenders for various categories this year. The Fried Chicken Poutine from Waffles and Chix ended up walking away with the honours, but what about the rest?

Because good value is subjective, the series of reviews in this edition of Reggie’ll Try It! will be a bit different. Instead of rating the food, I’ll just offer my opinions on why these foods may offer a good bang-for-your-buck and leave it up to you whether or not you agree. Either way, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

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The Quest Continues – Job Interview: Chuckwagon Driver

If you’re a regular reader of my blog posts (and let’s face it, these bad boys have developed an extremely loyal following), you’ll know that I’m on a quest to co-drive a Chuckwagon. With my co-driving options shrinking as each day of Stampede passes, I’ve realized that I may need to consider other options.

Replacement Driving!

I don’t know if “replacement driver” is the technical term, but just like any other sport, injuries can happen, and when they do, these cowboys need a reliable driver to take their place and drive their outfit.

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Unfortunately, Jamie Laboucane badly injured his right leg in June 30 and was not going to be able to drive his own outfit.  I headed down to the barns for a “job interview” with Jamie and maybe learn a little more about the other candidates.  This wasn’t going to be an easy interview, Jamie has high expectations – he’s been driving for 7 years and this is his 3rd Stampede.  He finished 2012 tied for 5th with his Dad (Brian) in the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association standings.  Dad Brian has been driving for 44 years and this is his 34th Stampede.  It looked like I would have to bring my “A” game to the interview.

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Jamie’s first concern was that I would have a hard time getting into the Chuckwagon while wearing a skirt.  As you can see below, he clearly underestimated my desire to drive for him. What you won’t see is an awkward time-lapse of my “unusual” entry into the Chuckwagon, what you will see is my amazing “driving face”.

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I thought my chances were looking up until I learned a little bit about the lead candidate – Doug Irvine. Doug Irvine started outriding for Jamie’s Dad, Brian in 1993 when he was 15 years old.  He then started driving in 1998 at the age of 20 – using an outfit he had bought off Brian.  Doug also had one of his best year’s in 2012 and has a similar driving style to the Laboucane’s.  He’s also driving his own outfit in this year’s Stampede.

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Wait a minute?  He’s ALREADY driving in Stampede?  What happens if Jamie’s wagon has to drive against Doug’s wagon in a heat?  Then he’d definitely need a Replacement Driver right? This is definitely a scenario that could happen so I’m not making any evening plans as I could get the call at any moment and I want to make sure that I have time to change out of my skirt because getting into a Chuckwagon while wearing a skirt was not a high point of the interview.

Doug on Jamie's wagon

 

You can follow Jamie on Twitter @chuckwagonjamie but he does not need any additional replacement drivers (that’s my gig!). And, this will go down as Jamie’s best Stampede yet with his wagon (driven by Doug) qualifying for semi-final Saturday. Good luck, Jamie!

 

The Big Top hosts Mini Chuck races – a must see event at the Calgary Stampede.

 *(this is a guest blog post from on of Next Generation Committee’s Graham McCrimmon)*

I was lucky enough to take part in the Mini Chuck races last night at the Big Top (and even had a chance to drive a team around for a few loops)- was it absolutely incredible.

Think : take all the fun and excitement from regular Chuckwagon races and squeeze it into a smaller, explosive package.  The mini horses may be small in stature, but are big in personality and have only one speed; Turbo.

The drivers had a tough time pulling them to a stop to get the races started and as soon as the horn blew they kicked into action.  Drivers got thrown back as the horses hustled around the barrels in a figure 8 pattern.  Dirt came flying off the wheels, chuckwagons whipped around the corners teetering on two wheels as the two racers would collide into each other racing around the first corner.  Drivers encouraged their team around the track at max speed and the majority of the races were neck in neck.  Be prepared to hold your breath as adrenalin runs high from start to finish.

If you missed last night’s exciting races, make sure you make it a priority to plan your Stampede around this thrilling event for next year- I guarantee you won’t be disapointed.  This has instantly become one of my favourite events during 10-day.

Fluor Rope Square is Ready to Entertain!

As Stampede 101 heads into its final days, don’t miss your last chance to pop over to Fluor Rope Square at Olympic Plaza for some great entertainment on Saturday, July 13th. 

Our incredible Downtown Attractions Committee has organized a number of fun things for all ages to see and do, right in the heart of our fine city.

DREW GREGORY – 9:00AM

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Start the day off right with a free concert by Drew Gregory.  An Alberta boy, raised in the small farming community of Standard, Drew Gregory has maintained a successful musical career while still working on the family farm. More about Drew here.

LAMMLE’S WORLD CHAMPION HAT STOMP COMPETITION FINALS – 10:05 AM

Watch this year’s 6 finalists show off their hat stomping skills in three categories: Mash Factor, Originality and Style.  The most talented stomper will take home the grand prize of a championship silver buckle!

PARADE OF THE OLD TIME RIGS – 10:20 AM

Watch Old Time rigs that date back as far as the late 1800′s parade through the city to Olympic Plaza.  There are around 15 rigs in the inventory, including: buckboards, coaches, doctors’ buggies, carriages, an old Red River cart, and a surrey with the fringe on top.

CALGARY FIDDLERS – 10:30 AM

The Calgary Fiddlers are an incredibly talented group of young folks that are sure to get your toes tapping!  They perform a variety of music, ranging from traditional folk fiddling, to country, bluegrass, Celtic, and even big band.

HIGH STEPPIN’ DADDY – 11:05 AM

A highlight of the Canadian country music scene, their music includes new and classic country as well as a mix of rock, R&B, and oldies.

FIRST NATIONS PARADE – 11:30 AM

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See members of the five tribes of Treaty 7 from Southern Alberta, in their traditional regalia, as they proudly share their heritage and culture through dance, music and commentary (weather permitting).

The tribes represented include Kainai or Blood (Fort MacLeod), Nakoda or Stoney consist of three bands: Goodstoney, Bearspaw and Chiniki (Morley from west of Calgary and Eden Valley west of Longview),  Peigan (Brocket), Siksika or Blackfoot (east of Calgary), and Tsuu T’ina or Sarcee (southwest of Calgary).

OLDE WEST RAIDERS CLUB – 12:00 PM

The Olde West Raiders Club provides unique western demonstrations and entertainment. The group combines cowboy skills of the day, western history, acting, improvisational elements and authentic period costumes to transport the audience back in time. They use real firearms, both antique and reproduction Cowboy Era guns in our shows and demonstrations using Cinematic Blanks to simulate gunfire. Their shows are intended to be fun while reliving some of the myths and legends from our past.

When the show is over it’s the perfect time to head down to the grounds and take in all that “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” has to offer!

Sweet Eats and Tasty Treats!

Snacking on Stampede Park is what I imagine being two inches tall, standing in a fully stocked refrigerator would be like. There is so much, so brightly colored. Everywhere you look there are snacks, and eats and some tasty treats. Yesterday’s #CSFoodie challenge was sweets, and oh boy was it sweet! The overall winner was deep fried pies. While I don’t necessarily agree with this opinion I can respect it. 009

The pies were  $9 and the caramel drizzled on top was a little sweet for me. However the portion was a good lunch (if any one person can eat that much sugar) and they were quite pretty. I gave the pies a 3/5.

019My overall favorite of the day was the deep-fried Oreos. Growing up in the Netherlands I grew accustomed to pancake houses where these small bite-size pancakes called “Poffertjs” were served, covered in a layer of icing sugar and sometimes with chocolate sauce drizzled over top. Bearing in mind that I haven’t had these delectable little pieces of gold in nine years, these Poffertjs are what the deep fried Oreo’s tasted like to me. They are portable and pretty and the serving size is good. For these reasons I give the deep-fried Oreo’s a 4.5/5.

002I think the Pineapple Whip would be nice in the sun on a really hot day. There are different varieties around the park, one was more of a snow cone and the other was a soft ice cream type food. I ordered the small and I promise you I could not have eaten all of it before it melted. Despite the fact that $5 seemed a bit much for a “small” I gave the Pineapple Whip a 3.5/5.

023The deep-fried cheesecake, I suspect, would go over very well in the middle of a rainstorm. It almost reminded me of an overstuffed crepe. The portion was smaller but it suited the flavor, I would rate the deep-fried cheese cake a 3/5.

013The caramel apple is good any time. By the time we got this far down the list, it was nice to have some fruit. If you had eaten all the other stuff on the list in the previous 45 min, before we got to the apple, you would be glad for it too. The portions vs price was good. $3 for a caramel apple is as good a sweet/healthy value as you are likely to find on the park.

In addition to the foods I have already talked about, we tried: dessert fries, a strawberry elephant ear, an Oreo sundae, red velvet funnel cake, B52 fudge and Cinnamon Bear fudge. All in all the snacks were pretty good especially if you are willing to risk a cavity or three!

Quick Draw at the Western Art Auction

If you are like me, you cannot draw worth a dang, but you love art and marvel at anyone who can create beautiful images. While there are an abundance of opportunities to admire finished pieces, rarely, if ever, do we get to see the artist in action. Even more rare to find a room full of artists just. Creating.

Last night, in a prelude to the Western Art Auction, a handful of artists participated in the Quick Draw. Right before our eyes a blank canvas became a work of art. Figures materialized like ghosts.

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