It takes an Army

Ever heard of the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? I have my own take on this saying and it goes a little something like this; “It takes an Army to create a Royalty Ready look”. As much as I wish I could just roll out of bed looking perfectly Royalty Ready, sadly this is not the case. Each year the Calgary Stampede Royalty is fortunate to be supported by an army who ensures we look our best and truly royal at all times- this is our army of amazing sponsors! From the top of our heads to the tip of our toes, our sponsors transform us each day from ordinary to extraordinary. Honestly without them, I think we’d be lost and maybe a little disheveled.

Exhibit A: My ordinary off duty "Everyday Look"

Exhibit A: My ordinary off duty “Everyday Look”

I figure the best way to illustrate my point is to actively compare my actual just rolled out of bed look with my Royalty Ready look. I’d like to first draw your attention to Exhibit A; aka my just rolled out of bed look. This is a typical day off look for me; hair in a pony tail, a little make up, tights and a comfy sweater/tank top combo.

Exhibit B: My "Royalty Ready" Look- Much better!

Exhibit B: My “Royalty Ready” Look- Much better!

Now I’d like to draw your attention to my Royalty Ready look aka Exhibit B. Maybe I’m hard on myself but to me I think this look is much more professional and put together.

In the position of Calgary Stampede Royalty, we often are up close and personal with people from all walks of life and with my crisp white hat, perfect make up and flashy clothes, I always feel like a million dollars and I feel confident to approach everyone and anyone.  We are truly blessed and honoured to be supported by so many wonderful businesses and for the army that keeps us Royalty Ready- I tip my hat to you! 

Until Next time,

Happy Trails!

Princess Shannon

 

Get Princess Shannon’s Royalty Ready look!

  1. 100x Beaver White Stetson- Smithbilt Hats
  2. Make up, Make up Application and Skin Care-The Aria Studios
  3. Silver Bangle Earrings, Ring, Belt Buckle- Montana Silversmiths
  4. Perfect French Manicure Nails- Amanda McChensey of Lushus Concepts
  5. Faux Fur Sherling Coat- Lammles Western Wear

 

 

The Egg Farmers of Alberta at Aggie Days

Happy Monday! Today on our blog guest posting we have David Webb. David works for the Egg Farmers of Alberta which was at Aggie Days in 2013 and will be at Aggie Days again this year. I’m thrilled to learn more about the Egg Farmers of Alberta and to see their amazing booth again. You can follow them on Twitter.

Mike, a 3rd generation egg farmer and his son

The snow has melted (usually), and green can once again be seen on the ground and in the trees. The air outside is fresh, while the stampede of children, along with their classmates or families, fills the BMO Center. Calgary Aggie Days truly marks the beginning of spring; a wonderful opportunity to talk to Albertans about our agricultural heritage and reconnect urbanites with the wonders of rural Alberta!

Aggie Days is a tremendous showcase of local producers and Alberta’s thriving agricultural industry, allowing kids and adults alike to get a glimpse into life on a farm, interact with real life farmers and see live farm animals. For Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA), this rare opportunity to engage the public was a key inspiration behind our trade show booth redesign in 2011, which resulted in the creation of our highly interactive and educational ‘You be the farmer!’ display. Although eggs are still the primary focus, the new booth reflects our shifting philosophy of shining a spotlight on our hardworking egg farmers. Should you venture through our booth, you’ll have the chance to meet and talk with a 3rd generation egg farmer, who will gladly share his experiences with you and answer all your questions!

Aggie Days enables consumers to explore their increasing appetite for information about where their food comes from and how it was grown or raised. EFA represents the province’s more than 155 registered egg farmers, who are dedicated to providing Albertans with a stable supply of fresh, high quality, nutritious, locally produced eggs.  Our family farmers are committed to food safety, animal care and environmental sustainability.  Alberta’s egg farmers are proud to share their story with you!

EFA Booth

EFA invites you to join an egg on the journey from farm to plate.  From deciding the breed of hen to raise and the type of feed to provide them, to choosing the style of hen housing system to use, to the grading station and the grocery store, kids and the kid in all of us will enjoy this eggcellent adventure!  Along the way, you will discover all sorts of eggciting information about eggs, egg farming and the entire egg industry.

If you want to learn more about the wide variety of eggs available at grocery stores across the province (ie: Do you know the difference between free-run and free-range?), discuss the nutritional benefits of eggs (ie: Eggs contain 14 essential nutrients and 6 grams of the highest quality protein!), or find out the answer to one of the many commonly asked egg questions (ie: What’s the difference between white and brown eggs?), you’ll be able to ask either a Dietary Technician or Certified Nutrition Educator at the EFA booth!

Egg Farmers of Alberta is excited to once again be a part of Aggie Days and we hope to see you there for the free Family Fun Days which are April 12 & 13 at the BMO Centre from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM!

From Tractors to Combines: The Equipment Used on the Farm

Growing up on the  family farm in southern Manitoba, my brothers and I spent many hours playing with farm toys. While we were inside playing with our toy farm equipment, our parents were outside working with the real farm equipment.

Each piece of farm equipment performs a certain function. Red, green, yellow, blue – it doesn’t matter what colour it is.

While driving outside the city limits, have you ever noticed a piece of farm machinery working in a field and wondered what that was and what it was doing? Well, no more wondering. Read on to learn about a few key pieces of farm machinery.

Let’s begin with a tractor. Most of you have probably seen smaller tractors working in the city. Most farmers have a few different sized tractors that serve different purposes. For example, on my family farm we have a smaller tractor that is used to feed hay bales to the cattle. We also have medium-sized tractors which pull equipment such as a baler, which compresses a cut and raked crop such as hay and straw, and forms it into a bale. And we have large tractors which are used to pull various pieces of farm equipment such as a cultivator, which tills the soil.

A tractor pulling a cultivator.

A tractor pulling a cultivator in a field.

A tractor also pulls an air seeder, which is an important piece of equipment on the farm. An air seeder is used to plant the seeds that will grow into crops.

A tractor pulling an air seeder in a field.

A tractor pulling an air seeder in a field.

After the seeds are planted and start to grow into crops, the crops are sprayed to protect them from insects, diseases and weeds. A sprayer is used for this. A sprayer can either be pulled behind a tractor or is self-propelled.

A sprayer in a field.

A sprayer in a field.

The crops continue to grow until they can be harvested. A swather is sometimes used at harvest time to cut the standing crop into swaths or rows. It’s only used for some crops such as canola.

A swather in a field.

A swather in a canola field.

Finally, a combine is used to harvest the crop. The combine picks up the crop, which is either in swaths or still standing, and then separates the seeds from the waste, which includes straw, stems and leaves.

A combine in a wheat field.

A combine in a wheat field.

These are just a few key pieces of equipment you’ll find on a Canadian farm. Of course, there are others that I haven’t mentioned. I hope this helps you better understand the basic purpose of these pieces of farm machinery.

Want to see some of this impressive farm equipment in person? Stop by Aggie Days, a free, family event taking place April 12 and 13 at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park. There you’ll find a big tractor, baler, sprayer and combine. And the kids can play with the smaller, toy versions in the Aggie Days sandbox. Don’t miss it! 

Fire Safety on the Farm

This week our Aggie Days Featured Exhibitor is the Firefighters Museum of Calgary. Established in 1986, the Firefighters Museum of Calgary is home to an extensive collection of firefighting equipment from the early 1900s to the present; including horse drawn and motorized apparatus. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Living on the farm, especially during dry weather that often accompanies harvest, we have to be very mindful of fire safety; though fires are a risk year round. Barn fires which result in loss of buildings and livestock can be emotionally and financially devastating to farmers and each year in Canada there are approximately 800 deaths due to fires. It doesn’t take much for a fire to start, especially during a fire ban, so here are some fire prevention tips for farming.

Fire Safety on the Farm

  1. Install Portable Fire Extinguishers – Fire extinguishers should be available in every truck and piece of farm equipment/tractor that drive into a field and in all farm buildings. Make sure everyone on the farm knows how to operate a fire extinguisher and that the extinguishers are maintained
  2. Safely Drive Into a Field – Hot vehicle engines are a big cause of fires in the field, park over very low stubble or only drive machines/trucks that are tall enough to clear the stubble. Think twice about harvesting on a dry, hot, windy day.
  3. Know How to Contact Your Fire Department — The number for your local fire department should be readily available on your phone and/or in the vehicles and farm buildings. Have a safety plan in place for the farm.
  4. Practice Good Housekeeping — Farm buildings and farm yards should be free of brush and debris. For barns there is fire-retardant gypsum board that can be used over plywood.
  5. Absolutely NO SMOKING On the Farm — Smoking is a leading cause for farm fires, please don’t smoke–not only for fire prevention but for your health too! If people do smoke make sure they properly extinguish their cigarettes.
  6. Store and Use Flammable Liquids Safely – Fuel should never be stored inside a building and other flammable liquids should be stored in a separate building and marked.

These are only a few of the many tips that should be followed on the farm. For more fire safety and fire prevention tips, here is a Fire Safety Tips for Farm Management sheet from the Canadian Federation of Human Societies. Information for this post was used from the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Devlopment and Farm Safety Association websites.

Take it from a past Stampede Talent Search winner – it’s not just a talent competition.

Live auditions for the 34th Annual Stampede Talent Search competition will take place the first weekend in May, and there will be one volunteer committee member who knows all too well what the contestants will look forward to.

 

“Winning the Stampede Talent Search in 2005 has put me where I am today with my career,” says Maureen Murphy, a talented singer and entertainer who is currently recording a studio album at George Canyon’s C4 studios. The team she has in place today is, in part, due to the credibility of the competition and the exposure she received. “It’s like earning a certificate or degree.”

Maureen Murphy

 

However, her current successes and career path is not just a direct result from winning. Maureen competed in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and every year, she benefit from the contacts she made, the opportunity to learn about the music industry and invaluable support from committee members.

 

“By far, this is one of the most organized and professionally run talent competitions I have ever competed in,” says Murphy. “From the committee members, to the judges and even other contestants, the entire experience was a positive learning environment.”

 

And now Maureen, along with 22 other volunteers, is part of the Stampede Talent Search Committee who works year round to provide an enriching experience for young performers.

 

Canada-wide auditions for the Stampede Talent Search opened in February. Video submissions will be accepted or performers can sign up for live auditions in Calgary May 2 to 4, 2014. Contestants can sing, dance, act or perform to earn the opportunity to shine in the spotlight during the finals held Stampede week at the Boyce Theatre and earn their share of over $10,000 in cash and prizes.

 

What advice does Maureen have for contestants? “Be yourself. Go with your gut. You will always have someone making suggestions about what you should do. No one knows who you are and what you can do better than yourself.”

 

Do you know someone who would be excited to compete in this year’s Stampede Talent Search? For more information about audition requirements and deadlines visit www.stampedetalentsearch.com

 

Factual Facts From Actual Farmers

Today we are so happy to be sharing a Heifer in Your Tank video on our blog. Heifer in Your Tank is a program at the University of Alberta where students teach the public answer to questions you never knew you had about animal agriculture. You can follow them on Twitter and you’ll learn things you never knew you wanted to know from them! Don’t forget Family Fun Days for Aggie Days are April 12 & 13 at the BMO Center and they’re FREE!

The video contains questions posed by real consumers are answered by real farmers and agriculturalists. Produced by Chelsea Geiger, Dustin Banks and Jessica French.

Heifer in Your Tank

 

Adult Agriculture Education

Today guest posting on the blog is professional agrologist Ashley Glover. She is also a Certified Crop Advisor with Parrish & Heimbecker, Ltd. out of Mossleigh, Alberta. She obtained her BSc Agricultural Studies from University of Lethbridge and her current role as an agrologist requires her to spend a minimum of 70 hours annually in continuing adult education. She was born and raised in agriculture and her family history has been in agriculture for as far back as the 1800’s. She and her husband both have careers in agriculture and are raising their two toddlers on an acreage southeast of Calgary with too many barn cats and horses. When she’s not scouting fields, you can find her on the back of a horse and on Twitter.

I had the absolute pleasure of growing up rural. Both sides of my family were farmers/ranchers southeast of Calgary and I remember playing outside in the dirt and mud A LOT. There was so much freedom to explore the great outdoors. Now as a mother myself, I truly believe that a happy child is a dirty child covered in soil and grass stains. Children are natural learners and inherently creative and I remember life as a child full of such innocent wonder and curiosity for everything!

Ashley Glover

Without the freedom to fail, creativity is destroyed. Failure is a fact of life, not a way of life and even those who fail can find success, but those who quit: won’t.

I don’t know who originally stated that quote, but I love it. As an adult, I find it extremely encouraging and liberating; it says to me: “Go ahead, try something new and engage that curious inner child.” I chose a career in agriculture for three main reasons: I love to be outdoors, I wanted to work with family, and I thrive on learning. There are many great volunteer agriculture educational programs available for school children such as the Classroom Agricultural Program and Nutrients For Life, but what about for adults? Accessing adult learning in agriculture can be daunting for individuals not involved in agriculture, so I would love to share a few options where you can get started.

  1. College. Most agricultural colleges in Alberta offer a large amount of adult learning opportunities. For example Olds College has very accessible and affordable short courses, evening classes, distance ed, and online opportunities. They offer everything from floristry to weed identification and crop fertility to jockey training and landscape design; to name only a few.
  2. Twitter. This may seem to be an odd choice to learn about agriculture, but it can be a very valuable source of information if you find the right sources. For example, @FarmersOfCanada was created in 2013 with the sole purpose of giving people an up close and personal look into the daily lives of hundreds of farmers across the country. There is a new host each week and the floor is always open to discussion. Aggies love to share their experiences, so feel free to join in!
  3. Local Attractions. Alberta has a wonderful, rich heritage when it comes to agriculture and there are many preserved historic sites accessible to the public. One of my absolute favorites is the Bar U Ranch. The site is still run as a working ranch and the scenery is absolutely stunning! Truly a must see for the whole family.

    Inside the Bar U Ranch horse barn

    Inside the Bar U Ranch horse barn

  4. Online. Some excellent sites that farmers and agrologists, like myself, go to to find research include:

If you ask anyone involved in agriculture why they chose that path, I am confident that most of them would say it was because they love it and they can share it with their family. Agriculture naturally encourages creativity and is a great environment for both children & adults to learn and build self-worth. Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

4 generations of ag women in my family

4 generations of ag women in my family

My challenge to you: get your hands dirty, provoke that inner child, engage your curiosity, and consider the possibilities for you and your kids to learn about agriculture…TODAY!

The 2015 Calgary Stampede Poster

Historically, we have unveiled the poster art at the Western Art Show opening night in July. This year, as a surprise, we unveiled the artwork at the 2014 GMC Rangeland Derby Canvas Auction.

The artwork pays homage to the chuckwagon drivers and horses that have been an integral part of the Stampede for 91 years. Calgary Stampede vice-chairman of the board, Bill Gray, retained the services of artist Oleg Stavrowsky to create the masterpiece.

“This year, I wanted to insert some action into the poster—and nothing speaks of action more than the chuckwagon races,” says Gray. “The chuckwagon races have been a part of the Stampede since 1923 and are one of the most exciting events during the 10-day Stampede. To capture this iconic event, I chose an artist who has a particular talent for bringing his subjects to life.”

2014 Calgary Stamepde Rangeland Derby Canvas Auction

L to R: Bill Gray (board of directors vice-chairman), Craig Smith (Chuckwagon committee vice-chairman), Mike Piper (Chuckwagon committee vice-chairman), Gord Atkins (Chuckwagon committee chair)

Stavrowsky’s original artwork depicts the thundering chuckwagon races of the Calgary Stampede. The incredible detail in the piece was achieved through Stavrowsky’s three-part process. Initial pencil sketches were completed then he built a wooden “scale model” of wagons for an accurate reference for the painting. The figures and horses in the piece are painted from life, real horses and real people.

“Being granted the opportunity to create the artwork for the 2015 Calgary Stampede poster was an honour,” says Stavrowsky. “Western art is my passion; there are so many aspects of western heritage that I could capture. I chose to paint the chuckwagon to represent the spirit and the action of the Calgary Stampede.”

Stavrowsky, an American born artist, came to realize his love for western art, following a visit to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1969. “My passion for painting has since become my life, income, joy, my everything,” says Stavrowsky. In August of 2013, Stavrowsky was one of the first artists to become a member of the Russell Skull Society of Artists, a new elite group of contemporary western artists.

Ultimately, the 2015 original artwork will be on display at the Western Oasis until it is sold during the Western Art Auction on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Palomino Room, BMO Centre. Tickets for the auction can be purchased from the Western Art Sales Desk located in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre.

The Calgary Stampede has been creating posters for more than 100 years. Although they have now become a collectors piece, they were original used as the primary form of promotion for the event.

Riverbank restoration on Stampede Park

The banks of the Elbow River on Stampede Park are busy with trucks and construction activity as the Calgary Stampede gets ready to break ground for Riverfront Park this summer and reclaims the flood-damaged riverbank.

In preparation for Riverfront Park construction, the Calgary Stampede is required to remove approximately 50 trees from the east side of the river. Two hundred ten trees will planted in this area by the time Riverfront Park opens in 2016. Prior to the flood, the Stampede had planned to recycle these trees, however many of them have been approved to help with the riverbank restoration which happens to coincide with their removal.

Riverfrontparkwatercolour1

The Calgary Stampede has been working closely with our environmental consultant AMEC on the riverbank restoration since the flood. The project includes removing debris from the Elbow River and replacing vegetation vital to the river valley eco-system. The reclamation also requires that live trees lay in the river (length-wise) with their roots placed to the water’s edge. The live trees prevent further erosion as well as preserve the natural ecology of the fish habitat. This is where we are able to re-use many of the trees mentioned above.

In addition to re-using these trees, approximately 30 new trees will be planted on the south riverbank.

“The river valley is our home and we take the care of this land seriously,” said Warren Connell, vice-president, park development. “We feel very fortunate to be able to give these trees a second life as we work to restore the riverbank.”

The government has approved a footbridge that will replace the blue bridge lost in the flood. Construction began on Monday, March 10.

Major construction on Riverfront Park  is scheduled to begin after Stampede 2014. New trees and grass will be planted starting late fall 2014, with completion scheduled for the summer 2015.

RiverfrontParkWatercolour2

2014 Chuckwagon canvas auction full of surprises

Spectators are on the edge of their seat watching and listening to see who will come in first. The action is fast. So fast that if you were to blink you could miss a big move. It seems head to head between two competitors but right at the last minute an unsuspected competitor joins the lead. The contest is now between these top three. The stakes are high and they are laying everything they can give before them. With a final bid, one of 36 chuckwagon canvases has officially sold.

The Calgary Stampede chuckwagon canvas auction is a lot like watching the actual chuckwagon races; it is fast paced, an intense and excited mood is in the air, and it is always full of surprises. This year was indeed full of surprises as there was a guest appearance from the Calgary Stampede A Band of Outriders and the 2015 Calgary Stampede Poster was unveiled. However, what shocked the audience the most was when MJ’s Water Hauling purchased Jason Glass for $170,000, the highest bid of the night, outbidding Glass’ 20 plus year partner, Shaw GMC. The evening brought in $3,542,500 in total proceeds with an average bid price of $98,402.78.

Jason Glass 1

ABandofOutriders

“The relationship between driver and advertiser at the Calgary Stampede is one of those unique win–win experiences” describes Gordon Atkins, chair of the Chuckwagon committee. “Over the years, the chuckwagon advertising experience has led to the development of close friendships and even extended business relationships between drivers and advertisers” Atkins continues, “and a number of advertisers have partnered with the same driver for many years leading to relationships that extend far beyond the 10-days of racing at the Stampede.”

The auction, which is held annually in March, gives businesses the opportunity to purchase the right to advertise on a driver’s chuckwagon canvas for the 10 days of the GMC Rangeland Derby. Along with the right to advertise on a driver’s chuckwagon canvas, the successful bidder receives special perks and the exclusive opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes hosting experiences, such as:

  • hosting up to 40 friends and business associates each night in the hosting space adjacent to the chuckwagon barn area
  • visiting with the driver and outriders to learn more about chuckwagon racing
  • meeting the real stars of the show – the equine athletes
  • receiving daily gate admission into Stampede Park
  • enjoying complimentary grandstand/tarmac access
  • participating in chuckwagon barn tours

Canvas Auction

Atkins explains that the barn tours “include commentary from drivers, outriders, grooms and veterinarians, giving participants an opportunity to see the exemplary training and care given to the horses.” The committee takes great pride in the care of the chuckwagon horses as they exercise both the Fitness to Compete program, which ensures all horses are fit to complete in the races each evening, and the Outfit of Excellence program, which recognizes the all-star equine athletes.

The Chuckwagon committee plays a large role in organizing and delivering both the canvas auction and the 10 days of racing at the Stampede. Originally, this function was delivered by a combined Rodeo and Chuckwagon committee; however, as volunteer commitment increased, a separate Chuckwagon committee was established in the mid 1990’s. Currently the committee consists of 37 very dedicated volunteers that devote hundreds of hours to the organization and to the delivery of many activities involved with the promotion and execution of chuckwagon racing.

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Stampede Spirit Surrounds Us

So…the Canvas Auction was last night.  Am I still a little bit jazzed this morning?  Maybe…  Ok, definitely.  That is one of those events that signals that Stampede is approaching rather quickly, and we are all super excited about it.  We’ve been up to our eyeballs with Stampede this week, from the AGM to the Canvas Auction, and it reminds me of what a phenomenal organization the Calgary Stampede is.  At the AGM on Monday, we met past royalty, long time volunteers, and people who were attending their first Stampede AGM.  It was amazing to see the array of people who all gathered under the Stampede umbrella, and it really made me proud to be a part of this organization.  They are people who dedicate countless hours all for the love of the Calgary Stampede.  It’s humbling, and reminds me that the worth of something cannot always be quantified.

Volunteering to teach us where to stand for the Canvas Auction

Volunteering to teach us where to stand for the Canvas Auction.

 

 

Continuing with the theme of volunteerism, we went to the second annual Marit Cup, a fundraiser put on by Calgary Christian School that was held in memory of Marit McKenzie, an amazing girl who passed away last year.  She was a student at CCS, and was actively involved with the David Foster Foundation during her final year of high school.  She continued to give after her passing, by donating all of her organs and tissues.  Seeing the legacy that was left by Marit made me realize that age has absolutely nothing to do with helping others.  At 18, she was able to do more than most people do in a lifetime.  She gave all that she could, and then some.

With Bruce McKenzie and a teacher from CCA at the Marit Cup

With Bruce McKenzie and a teacher from CCA at the Marit Cup

 

What I saw Wednesday should not only make her family proud, but her community as well.  Although she was not an official volunteer of the Stampede, what she left behind was the true embodiment of the Stampede spirit; generosity, hard work, and helping your neighbour. It just goes to show that the spirit of Calgary Stampede can be found everywhere, in everyone.  This city, and the people in it continue to amaze me with their depth of character and commitment to community.

The Princess Shootout at the Marit Cup

The Princess Shootout at the Marit Cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am proud to be a Calgarian, and a part of the Calgary Stampede.

 

The Promotion committee paves Happy Trails for seniors

There’s something infectious going on – the symptoms? Happiness, laughter and singing. The result? Seniors line dancing. There have been reports of the Indian Princess jingle dancing; there have been speculations of Harry the Horse, committee members and the Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses laughing and chatting. So what’s going on? It’s Happy Trails, a program the Promotion committee runs every year from September until May. The committee spends these months visiting nine different seniors’ lodges to entertain and interact with the residents.

Group Line Dancing

The visits to the lodges are filled with singing, dancing and a lot of fun. Large print song-lyric books are handed out, although most of the residents can sing along by memory to A Bicycle for Two, On Top of Old Smokey, The Happy Wanderer and The Calgary Song. Over the years, volunteers have shown off many talents to the residents such as performing trick roping to delight the crowd. During the visits, the Promotion committee volunteers hear many amazing stories as most of the residents have fond memories of visiting the Calgary Stampede.

Harry singing

Jeanette Turner, chair of the Promotion committee, beams “it is great to see [the] residents enjoy singing the songs, clapping along with the music and laughing at Harry’s antics”, while adding, “[the] residents always thank us for coming to visit and ask us to return soon.”

Jack Hildebrand at Happy Trails

The Promotion committee is constantly working to heighten western hospitality and promote urban-rural connections in and around Calgary in new and creative ways. Here are 15 more reasons the committee is awesome:

  1. A committee that has 205 active members sure knows how to get the party started.
  2. This committee was first established in 1975.
  3. Committee members get to perform a good-cowboy/bad-cowboy showdown on a moving train that goes from Banff, AB to Calgary, AB to entertain the guests aboard as part of the Trains subcommittee.
  4. The showdown above ends in a good old-fashioned faux gun fight when everyone is off the train in Calgary.
  5. Their griddle skills are uncanny as the Batter Brunch subcommittee can prepare breakfast for up to 500 people.
  6. They’ve got a concrete piece of history: the Mobile Stage subcommittee possesses the original stages used in the 1988 Olympic torch relay and still uses them to this day.
  7. The Promotion committee is super social and collaborates with other committees. For example, the Mobile Stage subcommittee shares their stages with the Caravan committee for Stampede breakfasts.
  8. They’ve got the whole western hospitality thing down pat as the Spirit Award subcommittee annually awards businesses that have put up western-themed decorations.
  9. The award? A plaque!
  10. The Promotion committee literally demonstrates western heritage by lassoing unsuspecting visitors and airline crews at the international arrivals in the Calgary airport.
  11. Do you ever get bored waiting around in airports? This isn’t even an option when the local band ‘Larry and Garry’, part of the Airports subcommittee, are there entertaining.
  12. They support young up-and-coming cowboys in the rodeo industry by awarding the winner of the Novice Bareback event of six grassroots rodeos with a beautiful silver engraved buckle.
  13. The winners truly appreciate this gift and the Buckle subcommittee hopes to encourage these young men to continue in the event and possibly become professional cowboys.
  14. They have the official mascot of the Calgary Stampede, Harry the Horse.
  15. Harry attends numerous events year round but starting the May long weekend until the last day of the 10-day Stampede, he attends 100’s of events!

Band entertaining at Happy Trails

Get To Know Your Chicken Farmers

This week our Featured Exhibitor is the Alberta Chicken Producers, so let’s learn about chicken farming! Guest blogging today is one of my Calgary blogging friends, Jo-Anna, who is a brand ambassador for #ChickenDotCa. Jo-Anna is a career-gal-turned-busy-mom!  In her quest to raise a family at home, she traded power lunches for play dates, and fast food for fresh food!  She is the blogger behind A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, an online hub where she writes about things she loves to cook, bake, create and decorate.  Through her blog, Jo-Anna hopes to inspire a love of living life in a simple and delicious way! You can connect with her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.
Jo-Anna

Let’s get to know a bit about our Canadian chicken farmers and the chicken they raise!

Chicken Farmers of Canada

When you sit down to a chicken pot pie or a bowl of chicken noodle soup, or a good old fashioned roasted chicken, have you ever wondered where your chicken came from? Have you thought about the families and farmers behind the scenes? The farm to table process?

If you ate chicken this week (or if you’re planning to), thank a Canadian chicken farmer.  In Canada, we have over 2,700 chicken farmers from coast to coast, who pride themselves on raising safe, fresh, high quality chicken that Canadians can trust.

A snapshot of some of our Canadian chicken farmers!

A snapshot of some of our Canadian chicken farmers!

We live in a time where people want to know more about their food, where it comes from, and it’s safety. Thankfully, we can rest assured that our Canadian chicken is safe, fresh and well cared for! Here are some good-to-know facts about our Canadian raised chicken:

  • From the moment chickens arrive on the farm, to the time they’re shipped to the consumer, the quality and welfare of the chickens is the farmer’s biggest concern.  Chickens are given nutritious food, clean water, and are set to roam freely around the barns.
  • To ensure good flavour and high nutritional value of our chicken meat, chickens are over 88% grain fed. That is, the main ingredient of all chicken feed (over 88%) is grains and grain by-products, protein-producing seeds, and meal made from them such as canola or soybean meal.  In much smaller quantities (around 10%), various other protein sources such as meat and bone meal/vegetable fats, are added to improve the nutritional content, taste and texture of the feed. In much, much smaller quantities (1.5%), mineral and vitamin supplements are commonly added to prevent any nutrient deficiencies.  Click here if you want to know more about what chickens eat.
  • Chicken farmers across Canada are subject to an auditable Animal Care Program, which monitors and enforces the high animal care standards on Canadian chicken farms.  Our government-recognized, mandatory, on-farm food safety program also emphasizes animal health, cleanliness and safety throughout each step of the production cycle.
  • No chickens are ever given hormones or steroids in Canada. The practice has been illegal since the 1960s.
  • The chicken that you buy in grocery stores or in restaurants does not contain any antibiotic residues. Government-verified withdrawal times and random testing ensure this. The chicken industry proactively manages antibiotic use in order to provide continued confidence to consumers and government.  Antibiotics can be used help to maintain healthy birds or treat sick ones, thereby ensuring a safe food supply for consumers and to prevent any potential food safety problems.  More information on antibiotics can be found here.

Safe. Fresh. Well cared for. That’s Canadian chicken.

I hope you enjoyed this information, and maybe learned a bit about your chicken farmers that you might not have known before!

It Takes 21 Days for a Chicken to Hatch

Visit www.ChickenFarmers.ca or follow the Chicken Farmers of Canada on Facebook or Twitter.

The 2014 Calgary Stampede Annual General Meeting

Community, constancy and change were the themes of the night at the 2014 Calgary Stampede Annual General meeting held on Tuesday, March 18. Citing the flood, a dedication to western heritage and values and the Stampede Park development plan, Bob Thompson and Vern Kimball reflected on the past, present and future of the Calgary Stampede.

“The response to the flood uncovered new levels of spirit across our city and throughout our organization…an entire community came together to create a rallying point during very difficult circumstances,” said Bob Thompson, president and chairman of the board.

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CS board of directors: Sitting L to R: Bill Gray, vice-chairman; Bob Thompson, president and chairman of the board; Dave Sibbald, vice-chairman; Second Row L to R: Toni Dixon; Will Osler; Kate Thrasher; Mike O’Connor; MLA Yvonne Fritz; Garry Holbrook; MP Joan Crockatt; Bob Taylor; Jackie Engstrom; Steve McDonough; Back Row L to R: Tom O’Leary; Ted Haney; Councillor Andre Chabot; Roc Spence; Maggie Schofield; John Third; Byron Hussey; Mike Casey; Allen Hagerman; Paul Polson; Dana Peers; Teri McKinnon

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Calling all Calgary foodies!

Whenever I tell family & friends that I am a Calgary Stampede volunteer on the Western Showcase, Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre committee I generally receive the same response.  What’s Kitchen Theatre? 

Short answer – great local chefs and food lovers prepare fabulous food on stage in the Western  Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E during the 10 days of Stampede.  

Kitchen Theatre has evolved over the past 60 years from its roots as a kitchen display of the “past, present & future” to the current stage where you will find the very popular Dueling Chefs competition, the Kids’ Chili cook-off and the Police and Firefighter cook-off with Angela Knight of CBC as our MC. 

Police_Firefighter_2013
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