Calgary Stampede visits CALGARY

Well, it’s been one heck of a month.  It seems like we were just in Toronto, came home, and then bam, we were in Victoria (I’m going to invest in teleportation research ASAP).  We were there to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the H.M.C.S. CALGARY, one of the frigates in the harbor there.  The first thing we were to do was to go on a tour of the ship, which we headed to immediately.

As we pulled in, we were met by the Lieutenant Commander to give us a guided tour.  As we got into the vehicle to go through security, I immediately put my foot in my mouth (which I am sure surprises no one), “How many boats are stationed here?” If you know anyone in the Navy, you will know why this is bad.  If not, let me tell you what it’s like: it’s sort of like somebody coming to Calgary and saying, “so, do you always have this little rodeo?”  It was a little bigger than that…  As we pulled up to CALGARY, I understood why the word ‘boat’ was ridiculous.

On board CALGARY

On board CALGARY


She was a beauty of a ship; everything had been designed for a purpose, and she was HUGE.  (Let me offer a point of reference: I used to consider houseboats ‘huge’.) I was seeing the Calgary Stampede of ships.  I was in awe from the moment that we were greeted by the Commanding Officer, to when we were invited below to exchange hats (I hope his white Smithbilt is getting as much use as my ball cap) to when we were taken on a tour of the command centre.  The H.M.C.S. CALGARY is the first frigate to be completely updated and refitted with the most cutting edge technology in Canada, and it was mind-boggling.  The three of us were like little kids, with so many questions that I’m sure they wanted to institute quiet time.  But seriously.  That ship was crazy.  In Calgary, I have always taken space for granted, but being aboard that ship showed me just what you can do with a small space if you design the entire thing with a purpose in mind.

CALGARY with our Tour Guides!  Thank you!

CALGARY with our Tour Guides! Thank you!

Thank you again to the crew of Our Majesty’s H.M.C.S. CALGARY, and know that getting to help you celebrate your 19th anniversary was one of the most amazing things that I have been a part of, and that the three of us are incredibly honoured to have been there.

Today’s dose of cute as well as history from the Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Show

There is nothing better than seeing spring foals running through the green pastures. Galloping on new legs, learning new horse habits and having a snooze with their proud mothers, these are the visions of Spring that we were yearning for all winter.  However, when you’re driving past do you ever think to yourself, was that a baby moose/giraffe or was it a horse?  Draft horse foals are usually all legs and can be compared in stature to other animals known for being a little leggy!

There is a little Percheron filly, with long black legs, that is near and dear to the hearts of Eaglesfield Percherons and has miles of Calgary Stampede street cred!  Eagesfield Bridgette is her name and she was born not long ago and is headed to the Calgary Stampede this July in hopes of carrying on her family’s successful tradition at this prestigious event.

Eaglesfield Bridgette with her mom Robinlawn's Cadence Clarissa

Eaglesfield Bridgette with her mom Robinlawn’s Cadence Clarissa

Bridgette’s mom (dam) is Robinlawn’s Cadence’s Clarissa and she was the champion Percheron mare in Calgary in 2009. Her dad (sire) is Eaglesfield Brigadier was Champion Percheron Stallion and Supreme Percheron in Calgary 2011.  Brigadier’s dam was High Hope Heather, 3 times Best of Show at Calgary 1999, 2004 and 2007.  Clearly Bridgette has some distinguished breeding from one of Alberta’s great Percheron breeders Brian and Colleen Colemen of Eaglesfield Percherons.

Be sure to stop by their stalls and come and say hi to Bridgette!  The crew would be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Regardless of Bridgette’s standings in the show, she clearly wins at cute everyday!

Sheila Kernan of the Artist Ranch Project

Today we have an interview with Sheila Kernan, one of the five artists participating in the Artist Ranch Project. Her work will be on display at the Western Art Show in the Western Oasis during the 10-day Stampede.

Calgary Stampede: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

Sheila Kernan: I was born and raised in Saskatoon Saskatchewan in a large family. As one of six children I was encouraged to follow my passions. At the tender age of three I began drawing and painting. It was through spending hours upon hours creating that I discovered my love for the arts. So it was no surprise that I would seek out the life of an artist. I enrolled in the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003 and completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006. In 2008, I was given the amazing opportunity to showcase my work at the Calgary Stampede, where I was the featured artist of the Stampede Rotary Dream Home. Over 100,000 people were exposed to my work and it was because of this experience that I decided to take the leap and become a full time practicing artist. Continuing to showcase my work through the Stampede Western Showcase programs.

Sheila Kernan

Fast forward to 2014 I am now represented by five elite Galleries across Canada. Achieving exposure through multiple sold out solo exhibitions, national awards, and media publications. My work can be found in many private, public and corporate art collections across Canada, US, and overseas.

Through continual development, exploration and innovation my work explores my passion for experiencing, observing and interacting with our world. I am excited to transpose my vivid imagination in to one-of-a-kind works filled with vibrant colour, flat shapes and unusual patterns.

CS: As an Artist, what inspires you?

SK: I am always excited to see what will inspire me next. For the world is filled with an endless array of fascinating subjects. With my camera on hand I am always eager to explore and document my surroundings for future studio use.

Along The Way I Stopped To See You Oil on Canvas 30 X 60 2014 $3305

I pay close attention to the many different characteristics of each unique environment. Absorbing the ambiance. I feel compelled to reflect my love for such moments on canvas. I draw upon sketches, memories and photographic references when producing my work. It is pure delight transcribing my many whimsical visions through paint gliding across the canvas. For a multitude of patterns and reflections form from the paint squishing, oozing and blending together. Surfaces become filled with thick impasto marks melding together to create conversations and ultimately a recognizable image. It makes me see the world in a new and exciting way. My work celebrates this. For I believe paintings should be alive. Filled with energy and excitement. I paint to share with you my understanding of the world. I paint to emulate the calmness of nature. I paint to create images where you can choose to let your imagination fill in the gaps. I paint to experience life. The world is breathtaking and I just have to capture it. The possibilities are endless!

CS: Why did the Artist Ranch Project appeal to you?

SK: I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Stampede Western Showcase. I strongly believe that if it was not for the opportunities I have had through the Stampede, I would not be where I am today in my art career. So when I was invited to participate in the Artists Ranch project I was incredibly excited. I would get to see a real working ranch and get up close to the animals. Something I had never really experienced. I am always up for new experiences.

You Caught My Eye Oil on Canvas 48 X 24 2014 $2255

CS: Tell us about your visit to the OH Ranch last fall. What was the most surprising/made the biggest impression on you?

I came into the project with a very open mind not really knowing what to expect and I truly had a blast. Getting to see how a real working ranch operates was incredible. I was fascinated by the history of the OH Ranch and found myself really trying to understand what life would be like on the Ranch both from a historical and modern day perspective. WOW, Is all I can say. Working on a ranch would be a tough job! I was instantly mesmerized by the vast diverse landscape the rolling hills, fresh water, and many varieties of grasses. I became especially interested in the wildlife. Although I had a close call with a bull who apparently was a little camera shy!

CS: How did your visit influence your work?

SK: It’s hard to say exactly how the visit influenced my work, but I would say that my colour choices in this body of work pay closer attention the amazing golden prairie hues. As well, each painting I produced for this show documents my time at the ranch and acts as exclamation point highlighting prominent scenery that really struck a chord with me.

CS: Anything else you’d like to tell us about being a part of the Artist Ranch Project?

SK: I just want to thank the Artist Ranch committee for giving me the opportunity to experience something new. I really enjoyed the whole process and want to give a big Thank You to all the committee members for all your hard work and dedication to this project. It’s truly a unique project. I hope you all enjoy my Stampede showpieces.

Calgary Stampede Lotteries – 2014 Loyalty and Early Bird Prize Draws

Purchasing the Stampede Lotteries Ticket Package before April 20, 2014 gave Brenda Burton a very pleasant surprise. On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the Loyalty Prize Package draw took place and her name was drawn! After a few days of back and forth messages, Brenda was able to connect with the Lotteries Committee.

When asked what her first reaction was when she got the message, Brenda said, “I thought there was a problem with my payment! I honestly had no idea there was a loyalty draw winner.”

Brenda looks forward to being able to give her kids the opportunity to enjoy even more of the Stampede: “The Stampede Bucks will buy a lot of corn dogs!”

…and she’s still eligible for the 2 Early Bird trips and the Dream Home and Wheels prizes!” exclaims Calgary Stampede Lotteries chair Rick Kuzyk.

Brenda Loyalty Winner

Rick Kuzyk, Stampede Lotteries Chair; Winner – Brenda Burton; Theresa Howland, Director, Consumer Sales & Sponsorship; Mike Leu, Lotteries Manager

Here is what Brenda won, her prize valued at over $5400!

  • 4 infield seats to Stampede Rodeo
  • 4 Lazy S tickets to TransAlta Grandstand Show
  • 4 tickets to Shania Twain on July 10
  • 4 tickets to Keith Urban on July 12
  • $500 in gift certificates to the Stampede Store
  • and much more!

There are still two early bird prize draws coming up! Don’t wait, the first early bird deadline may have also passed but there is still plenty of time to get in the second early bird and be included in the draws for the rest of the prizes available.

Prize 1 – European Cruise

Stampede Lotteries Ticket Packages purchased on or before Friday, May 16, 2014 are entered to win this incredible Early Bird prize experience valued at $16,700! Cruise the legendary Rhine & Moselle Rivers for 12 days, south from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. Featuring an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds, this romantic trip for two includes high-season air fare from Calgary, with sightseeing in Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, and other historic cities, as well as cruising through the Rhine River Gorge, a guided visit of Heidelberg castle, and much more.

The first Early Bird draw date is Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Prize 2 – Western Caribbean Disney Cruise

Stampede Lotteries Ticket Packages purchased on or before Friday, June 6, 2014 are entered to win this luxurious getaway Early Bird prize valued at $9,950! Take the family on a magical Western Caribbean cruise for five nights aboard the Disney Wonder. Soak up the sun on this tropical getaway with this fun-filled package for two adults and two children at high-season rates from Calgary to Miami, then Cozumel and Castaway Cay, and return back to Miami. Have a family vacation you’ll never forget!

The final Early Bird draw date is Monday, June 23, 2014.




All told, there’s over $1.2 million in prizes to be WON including -

  • The Rotary Dream Home is valued at $820,125
  • Kinsmen Wheels including a 2014 GMC Sierra 3500 HD 4X4
  • 2014 Prime Time Crusader Fifth-Wheel Trailer
  • 2014 Regal 2100RX Sport Boat

Man Eating Chicken

One of the best parts about working for the Stampede is all of the unique stories you hear from such a variety of perspectives. Everyone has their own story to tell, and they are great to listen to because they are usually pretty funny!

Scooter Korek, Vice President – Client Services from North American Midway Entertainment has shared a few great stories with me, and they are always so entertaining. Scooter has worked with Conklin Shows and now North American Midway since 1977, and is looking forward to another Stampede.

Here is his story…


Back in the inception of the North American Carnival, around the turn of the 1900’s, the midways were primarily filled with Sideshows as there were not very many people manufacturing rides yet. A typical midway in the 1930’s consisted of a Merry Go Round, Ferris Wheel, Chair-o-Plane, Whip, Tilt-a–Whirl and 20 Side Shows comprising of  Illusion Shows, Freak of Nature Shows, Oddities Shows and more than likely a Girdle show,  30 or 35 games and 10 food stands.

The Sideshows were the staple of any midway and the entertainers were the vast majority of the shows employ’s. These shows garnered mass appeal and some greats that traveled Canada were; Dainty Dora the 700 pound women; Andre the Giant, Wrestler and Giant whom also holds the world beer drinking record; Zambora the Gorilla Girl, girl turns into Gorilla, you know the deal; Suzie Wong the Snake Girl,  Face of a beautiful women, but the body of an ugly snake. Ernie and Len, Siamese Twins;   Ten one One, which was a show that featured 10 freaks or oddities or illusions in one show for one price, The Sword Swallower, Pin head, Fire breathers; Knife throwing etc.; sometimes there would be Lif  e Shows which featured embryos at one month, two months to birth and War Shows, with guns and tanks. Once I saw Billy Reid and Horrors of Drugs Show, Billy was just a dimwitted kid that smoked too much pot, but the show did pretty good.

The Talkers out front (barkers) would create a buzz about the show.

“Alive, Alive. Alive on the inside, first time in Calgary, Suzie Wong the Snake girl!   From the back alleys of Hong Kong to the rice patties of China, it’s Suzie Wong The Snake Girl! How can it be, with the head of a beautiful woman to the body of an ugly snake – it’s Suzie Wong, Alive on the inside!”

Side shows did very well for show owners and provided a very good living for people with deformities that would otherwise struggle to find employment elsewhere.

Around the mid-1970’s the taste for entertainment changed, and public outcry that midway’s were exploiting people with deformities became exhaustive. Soon, fairs were feeling public pressure to do away with these types of attractions, which in turn, forced midway’s to abandon this type of presentation. Too bad, really – we sent a ton of good people to the unemployment line, without resource to find other employment. Where does a guy that drives 6 inch spikes into his head everyday for a living look for new work?


By the end of the 1970’s, Side Shows had been all but abandoned at the Calgary Stampede and Conklin Shows, Western Canadian tour.

In 1979, we decided to poke a little fun at the Canadian public that demanded the closure of the Side Show and developed a new show called “The Man Eating Chicken”. The show was billed as the “6 Foot Tall – Man Eating Chicken”


We promoted the Side Show in advance of each of the Western Canadian Exhibitions and as expected, the phone calls and letters started pouring in. The people were aghast that we would present such an attraction and we should be ashamed of ourselves.

The Edmonton Journal actually produced an editorial that ran prior to the opening of Klondike Days, condemning the exhibition of Side Shows in general and naming the Man Eating Chicken as a example of this type of damnation.

The only .25 cent show had a talker that promoted the oddity inside, and soon crowds flocked to the exhibition. Inside the customers were seated in a tent and the talker prepared the audience, with much anticipation, for what they were about to witness.

The lights dimmed, the spot light shone on stage and the curtain opened. Before their eyes was a 6 ft. tall kid sitting on the stage eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Beautiful really.

The people generally laughed and the show prospered as the people whom had witnessed the event, told their family and friends that they must attend a viewing of the Man Eating Chicken.

This was the swan song for the Side Show culture.

- Scooter Korek


Take Over The @CalgaryStampede Instagram Account During Stampede 2014!



Do you take amazing photos?  Do you love attending and experiencing the Stampede?  Do you want access to the best Stampede events?  If you answered yes to all three, you should enter our #InstaStampede contest!

We’re looking for the best Instagrammers in Canada to take over our account in July and showcase The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth! As part of the contest, 10 talented photographers will be chosen to run the @CalgaryStampede Instagram account for a day each during Stampede 2014.  This could be you!

Of course, to best capture the thrill of the Stampede, the chosen Instagrammers will need access to all of the excitement.  That’s why each winner will receive:

  • two (2) Rodeo Tickets
  • two (2) Evening Grandstand Show Tickets (or concert tickets on select nights)
  • $100 of Food & Drink Vouchers redeemable at the Stampede Park
  • $50 in Stampede Bucks
  • $100 Store Merchandise Gift Card
  • two (2) Midway vouchers
  • two (2) Nashville North Passes

As an added bonus, if one of your pictures is judged the best overall during Stampede 2014, you’ll win an iPhone 5 – 32GB.  This might just be the best gig in Canada! We can’t wait to see your entries.

How to enter:

Between May 22 and June 8, tag your Calgary Stampede related photos on Instagram with the #InstaStampede hashtag. We know you’ve got shots of the performances, the Rodeo, the Parade, and the food that make the Calgary Stampede special.  We can’t wait to see them!

The ten winners will be picked by a panel of judges using the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Creativity
  3. Aesthetic and graphic value
  4. Consistency with the theme of the competition; the Calgary Stampede, the festival, the performers, the animals and its values.


We’re excited to see your photos!  Please see full contest rules below.  Good luck!

Full contest rules

Calgary Stampede Flood Mitigation and Reclamation

Over the past year, the Calgary Stampede has been working to ensure the safety and preparedness of the Calgary Stampede’s people and buildings through numerous flood mitigation efforts. We have also been reclaiming sections of riverbank along the Elbow River and protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.

The efforts have come together through the hard work of a dedicated team of Stampede employees and external Stampede partners. “This team has done a great job,” says Steve Foster, risk management director. Along with specific flood reclamation and  mitigation projects, the Stampede has renewed its 2014 insurance and has re-written our incident-specific flood response plan.

The response plan is part of the Stampede’s corporate response and resilience program, which defines specific employee roles on how to react to emergency incidents. In 2013, the flood response plan contained some general plans but has now been fleshed out and includes all of the Stampede’s first-hand flood knowledge including detailed lists, procedures and inventory. This June, all key players will participate in a tabletop exercise to practice flood scenarios, which will provides these employees an opportunity to analyze and improve the plan.

“We are in constant communication with subject matter experts,” says Foster.  “The information provided from the experts is shared with key Stampede personnel that play a role in our flood response plan.” The Stampede enjoys positive working relationships with Calgary Police Services, Calgary Fire Department, Alberta Health Services and Calgary Transit, to name just a few.

Flood Mitigation

For all riverbank reclamation and flood mitigation plans, the Stampede applied to the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and the City for respective regulatory approvals. With 11 different permits in hand, the Stampede received permission to start the mitigation and protection works on April 6, 2014. As part of the reclamation process, the Stampede and our consultants worked with the various environmental departments to ensure the reclamation was appropriate for each of the sites and repaired the environmental damage sustained during the flood.

Flood Mitigation1

The key sites in Stampede Park’s flood mitigation and reclamation efforts  are:

Horse Bridge: This is the bridge across from Barn G beside the Nat Christie Bridge. The repairs were completed in early May by hardening of the riverbank to protect the west foundation.

Flood Protection Wall: The Calgary Stampede began flood protection measures on the south side of Stampede Park in 2000 to reduce damage from overland flow. Currently, construction is underway on the completion of the floodwall, which is located outside the floodway.

A flood protection wall is being constructed along the south end of the track. Many studies and government reviews were done to ensure the structure did not affect either the up-stream or downstream home owners or properties. The wall is a continuation of mitigation work the Stampede began in 1999 along the southern boundary. The wall is scheduled to be completed by June 1, 2014.

River Wall 10

River Wall 07

Riverbank Restoration: The riverbank reclamation work includes the removal of debris from the Elbow River and the replacement of vegetation important to the river valley eco-system.

For reclamation on the north side of the river, live trees were laid in the river and inserted into the riverbank to preserve the natural ecology of the fish habitat. This procedure also secures the riverbank from further erosion.

On the south side of the river bank, the Stampede took a slightly different approach. To provide shade for the fish habitat, live willow cuttings were placed in the river’s edge. This area of the bank is very steep will be planted in July after the expected high waters have subsided. The willows will then have a year to grow before next spring, when it is expected that the river will typically run higher.

River Bank Bridge 09

River Bank Bridge 11

Bridge Construction: A new bridge will replace the former “Blue Bridge” that was washed away during the 2013 flood. It is being reconstructed in a slightly new location that will connect the main part of Stampede Park to the future Riverfront Park. The bridge’s new clear span (no supports in the waterway) will improve water flow and thus help create a better environment for fish and other wildlife. This bridge is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in spring of 2015.

H Barn: The H Barn is one of the largest structures on Stampede Park, with a footprint almost twice as big as the Grandstand! The interior of the barn will be paved and 664 new flood-resistant stalls will be installed. The barn will also be equipped with flood-resistant materials anywhere flood waters are likely to reach. The south wall has been reinforced with concrete to prevent river flow from affecting the building. All of these measures make the H Barn highly resistant to flooding.

As the largest private landowner along the Elbow River in the city, the Calgary Stampede takes matters relating to the environment very seriously, and we ensure the best possible care is taken when we work in the river valley environment. Should Calgary face another flood, our efforts will help ensure Stampede Park  - a year -round gathering place for Calgarians and visitors  - will be as prepared as possible.

River Bank South Track 06

Everyone loves chocolate

Did you know that fine chocolate, like fine wine, has terroir, the flavour of the soil, weather and region where it is grown? When Debra Fleck, of Epiphanie Chocolate is on the Kitchen Theatre stage you can just feel her love of chocolate and the wonderful chocolate aomas quickly draw you into her world. She is passionate about freshness, purity and creativity.

Debra Fleck will be presenting on the on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage (July 6 at 3:30 p.m & July 13 at 5:30 p.m.) in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website

Calgary Stampede (CS):  Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Debra Fleck:  I am a chocolate lover who eats, sleeps and dreams chocolate. From the day I was born I have loved chocolate.  My day starts with prepping my molds.  Then I temper my chocolate and pour the chocolate into the molds. Next step is to get the various fillings made which we make from scratch using the best ingredients.  Once the filling is made we pipe the ganache into the molds and then allow the filling to set for a few hours or overnight.  Once the filling is firm enough we add the chocolate backing on top and once the chocolate has set we can take the chocolates out of the molds.


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Toronto Takeover

We came to Toronto with one mission and one mission only; to spread and share Calgary’s and the Stampede’s unique brand of western hospitality to the people of Toronto. How did we accomplish such a feat? With the help of a climbing wall symbolizing the rocky mountains, one troop of cowtown opera singers with songs featuring such Calgary landmarks as Ranchmans, world class Calgary chefs of Top Chef Canada Fame and the world’s largest floating white Cowboy Hat of course!


Before we even arrived in Toronto we had heard rumours from our event partners Tourism Calgary of something synonymous with Calgary that would be a key aspect of our takeover. What could it possibly be? Was a life-sized Harry the Horse statue going to be towering next to the CN Tower? or a Nenshi banner proudly waving from one of Toronto’s skyscrapers? We speculated and wondered as we headed down to Toronto’s Harbour front to see what our symbol of Calgary could be. As we looked out into the harbour, much to our surprise out of the mist and fog emerged something large, floating and white- it was a large floating white cowboy hat! In fact, as we later found out, the world’s largest white cowboy hat and it made quite the impression on Torontonians!


With the buzz around town of Calgary landing and bringing a large white hat, the stage was set for our takeover to continue. Throughout the week we continued to spread our world famous brand of hospitality with our “Random Acts of Calgary” throughout Toronto’s downtown. One morning we bought nearly 200 early morning commuters their coffee and then we took to the streets of Toronto greeting people as they made their way to work. I’ll admit we did get a few strange looks-I’m sure it was shocking to see cowboy hats and western dress that early in the morning!

Random Acts of Calgary

One of my favourite aspects of our takeover was being a part of the Tourism Calgary/Calgary Stampede booth at Toronto’s Harbour front. #underthehat invited Torontonians to experience all the wonderful things that Calgary has to offer as a tourist destination. Karine Moulin and Pierre Lamielle both contestants on Season 4 of Top Chef Canada brought a taste of Calgary with their culinary delights of bison corn dogs and saskatoon berry cheesecake pops that were delicious and featured all locally sourced Calgary ingredients. Crowds were serenaded by the three lovely ladies of Cowtown Opera with crowd favourite from the movie Frozen and a few classic opera songs with the words changed to all things Calgary. And of course of beloved Harry the Horse was on hand to shake hands and kiss babies! Our role in the festival was to hand out 1000+ Smithbilt white cowboy hats. They were so popular that people lined up 45 minutes prior just to get their symbol of Calgary!

Though the world’s largest white cowboy hat has begun its cross country trip home and we have said our goodbyes to Toronto, I know the lasting glow of Calgary’s western hospitality will continue to remain on the minds of Torontonians for some time to come.

Until next time,

Happy Trails!

Princess Shannon

Community Round Ups to set the Stampede mood

Hot pancakes, cowboy hats, square dancing, photo ops with Harry the Horse and the swinging sounds of the Stampede Showband. Sound like the Stampede? It’s as close as you can get before July—at the Community Round Up events on June 7 at Westside Recreation Centre and June 14 at Genesis Centre.

“Calgarians love to take part in Stampede [Community Round Up] and also connect with their neighbours. What a terrific way to kick off another Stampede season!” says Norma-Jean Hogg, managing director, Westside Recreation Centre.

The Community Round Up events bring the Stampede right to the community. Kids can learn to milk a cow, see how much weight they can pull with the Incredi-Pull, make First Nations traditional crafts and hop up on a chuckwagon. The community centres also bring their own cultural programming to the stage. For example, Genesis Centre will feature young Punjabi Dancers and the teen Bhangra Dance Group.

Incredi-pull“’The Calgary Stampede Community Round Up…gives friends, families, and neighbours the opportunity to celebrate their own cultures while discovering Calgary’s western heritage,” says Brad Anderson, business development manager, Genesis Centre. “For many in our community, it’s the first time they’ve experienced a pancake breakfast.”

The Community Round Ups are unique in that they bring together several Stampede volunteer committees. The event is spearheaded by the Community Development committee, who organize and coordinate efforts from Blacksmith, Caravan, Chuckwagon, Downtown Attractions, Draft Horse Town, Historical, Promotion, Indian Events, Next Generation, Queens’ Alumni, Rodeo, Royalty, Stampede Band and Western Showcase committees.

Little Girl Milking

The Community Development committee was created during the Centennial and initiated the Four Corners events—which brought the Stampede to the far four corners of Calgary. The committee’s mandate is to “strategically and proactively identify, develop, coordinate and execute initiatives to engage targeted community groups, deliver exceptional experiences and engage Calgarians in their backyards.”

“Our committee is dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to connect to with the Calgary community,” says Justin Heskes, chair of the Community Development committee. “As the Calgary community grows and evolves, we want to make sure everyone feels like they can be a part of the Stampede.”

Event details:

Saturday, June 7, 2014
9 a.m. – Noon
Westside Recreation Centre, 2000-69 Street SW

Saturday, June 14, 2014
9 a.m. – Noon
Genesis Centre, 7556 Falconridge Blvd NE


Foundation Donor Spotlight: committee members working together to help build the Stampede’s future

The 10-day Calgary Stampede is like a puzzle in that each piece is whole and unique on its own but when they come together they create a masterpiece. Numerous events happening on Stampede Park simultaneously may give the impression that they were created by a sole committee when in fact, collaboration at the Stampede is key.

We can look to one married couple, Kari Gordon and Craig Smith, who recently shared this experience. The couple both contributed to the Youth Campus as a part of the Calgary Stampede’s We’re Greatest Together Capital Campaign. Gordon is on the Grandstand Show committee, and her husband Smith is on the Chuckwagon committee. Collaboration between these two committees has been fairly limited in the past but the two committees have recently been bridging this gap.


An example of the cross-committee meetings occurred when Smith invited the Grandstand Show committee to share a meal and tour the chuckwagon barns to learn a little more about what they do. Karen Whiteman, pictured above, is a Grandstand Committee member who had never been to the chuckwagon barns before. She was ecstatic to meet one of Wayne Knights outrider horses.


Aside from planned cross-committee meetings, Gordon explains how her and Smith’s paths cross in the most unexpected and unusual ways. Above is an image of the rare meetings between the Grandstand Show committee and the Chuckwagon committee when they both had to check things out in the Infield at what happened to be the same time. Below is a picture of Smith in the Eye in the Sky and “luckily I have access to the eye as well” explains Gordon.

Hosting in the Eye in the Sky is just one of the many tasks the Grandstand Show committee partakes in. The committee also manages many aspects from the taxi arrivals/departures of the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede nightly, organizes stage tours for media and travel/tourism partners. As with any live show, “the potential for the need of “something” is always there” Gordon explains. The Grandstand committee duties begin at 5 p.m. and carry through until they load the last of The Young Canadians in a taxi, usually around 1 a.m.


Gordon has always been one to promote stepping out of your comfort zone and trying and learning new things. “From years as Junior Young Canadian, witnessing the tears of happiness and defeat that come with the audition process, [being in the] barn crew for Wayne Knight, a Cattle Trail interpreter, flipping pancakes for the Downtown Attractions school program – I enjoy every minute,” she explains of her time spent with the Calgary Stampede.

Smith first came to the Stampede at age 10 and immediately fell in love with it all, “the sights, the sounds, the celebration of the cowboy and western culture,” he reminisces. “Upon moving here I learned of the volunteer nature of the organization and was bound and determined to make the Stampede a part of my everyday life. I was fortunate enough to get on board as a member of the Parade committee in the late 90′s and then moved to the Chuckwagon committee.”

Their long lasting commitment with the Stampede led both husband and wife to separately donate to the Calgary Stampede Foundation We’re Greatest Together Capital Campaign. In regard to her and Smith’s donations, Gordon explains, “it was a natural commitment to an organization we want to help for future generations. Stampede volunteers spend a tremendous amount of hours supporting the organization, however we feel it’s important to contribute to the infrastructure to ensure the Stampede home continues to evolve.” Smith adds, “when the slogan “Here All Year” was introduced to the community a number of years ago it struck a chord with us; as an iconic brand around the globe we are strong believers in the vision that the Stampede should serve as a year-round gathering place for residents and visitors. When the opportunity was presented to contribute to a facility like the Youth Campus we were easily sold.”

Stampede Park is considered home to many in Calgary, Alberta and beyond, so we thank all of those who have donated to the Calgary Stampede Foundation and for believing in our vision of creating a year-round, world class gathering place in the heart of our great city.

To make a donation to the We’re Greatest Together campaign please go to:


(As tradition dictates, the Grandstand Show committee is under the stage on the last performance night when the cast comes through for high fives! Last year Mayor Nenshi joined us in showing appreciation for all the performers.)

Calgary Stampede to participate in the Celebration of Excellence

The Calgary Stampede is stepping out into the community to showcase Canada’s Olympic athletes! The Stampede has partnered with the Celebration of Excellence, a three-day event that celebrates the tremendous success of our Canadian athletes at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. The event begins in Ottawa, ON and finishes in Calgary, AB.

The Downtown Attractions committee is excited to participate in this celebratory event. Known for their involvement with the City of Calgary and bringing the Stampede to the community, it is no surprise that the committee will be on-site flipping pancakes once again. They are prepared to host 4,000 people at the Olympic Plaza event (details below).

One of the events of the Celebration of Excellence is the Parade of Champions (details below). A parade in Calgary wouldn’t be complete without a horse-drawn carriage to showcase our western spirit so the Downtown Attractions committee will also be bringing their old-time rig, complete with wagons and horses.

Come celebrate our Olympic athletes, Western and Canadian pride! The Celebration of Excellence takes place from Wednesday, June 4 to Friday, June 6 has four main events, three of which occur in Calgary:

On Wednesday, June 4 in Ottawa, Ontario, the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams will be making public appearances starting on June 4 at Ottawa-area schools and hospitals as well as the House of Commons.

From Wednesday, June 4 to Thursday, June 5 the Heroes Tour, consisting of school and hospital visits, will be making its way through Calgary, Banff, Red Deer and Edmonton and surrounding areas.

On Friday, June 6 RBC presents the PARADE OF CHAMPIONS brought to you by Coca-Cola. In celebration of Canada’s participation in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is hosting a parade which will run through downtown Calgary to welcome back and honour our Canadian Olympians and Paralympians.


Proceeds from the Hall of Fame Gala in Calgary will go to the Canadian Olympic Foundation as well as a legacy coaching program in Calgary to support the next generation of Olympians. The 2012 Hall of Fame Gala in Toronto raised more than $3 million for high performance sport and athletes in Canada. If you are interested in purchasing a table or donating to the Canadian Olympic Foundation click here. The gala takes place on Friday, June 6 here in Calgary, AB.

The Calgary Stampede is proud to be involved with this event as a way to appreciate Canada’s great athletes. So, if you want to practice your parade-watching or pancake-eating skills, be sure to come on down and support Canada’s athletes with us! See you there!


Calgary Stampede Next Generation Committee Excited to be Back at the Lilac Festival

Lilac Fest 

Lilac Festival is a fun and vibrant street festival that takes place on 4th Street SW, each year in May. In fact, this is the 25th anniversary for the 4th Street SW festival. This year’s Lilac Festival takes place on May 25, 2014 from 10am to 6pm. The day begins with a parade that runs from 25th Avenue SW to 13th Avenue SW. Following the parade you can peruse the over 500 vendors that set up along 4th street including food and beverage vendors, retailers, artisans and community organizations.

The Calgary Stampede Next Generation Committee has participated in Lilac Festival for the past three years and we are so excited to come back for a fourth! We love Lilac Festival as it is a great way for us to connect with so many Calgarians from different walks of life to share information and our excitement for the Calgary Stampede. We are planning a fun and interactive booth for this year’s Lilac Festival that will feature a Photo booth with opportunities for you to meet Harry the Horse and the beautiful and talented Calgary Stampede Royalty and Indian Princess.

We are also very excited to announce our Lilac Festival Concert Contest!! This incredible contest features a grand prize including 2 tickets to see Shania Twain, 2 tickets to see Keith Urban, 2 tickets to see Reba McEntire and 2 Calgary Stampede belt buckles. And this massive prize package will go out to one lucky winner! To enter, simply tweet or Instagram your favourite Calgary Stampede picture to @CS_NGC using the hashtag #cs2014concerts. Please note the contest only runs on May 25, 2014 from 10 AM to the end of the day, so save your tweeting and Instragramming for then.

We look forward to seeing you at Lilac Festival! Come down and take a photo with us.  Who knows, maybe that will be your new favourite Calgary Stampede picture!

Calving Season on OH Ranch

It’s calving season again at the OH Ranch. We learned a lot from last year and have applied those learnings this year which is making calving season much smoother this time around.

This year, we turned the bulls out about a month later, so we haven’t had calves born in -22 degree weather. When a calf is born in those temperatures a lot of them will freeze their ears.

To prepare for calving season this year, our foreman Rob built a hot box—a plywood box with a mesh floor heated by a ceramic heater– for the calves. If a calf is born in extremely cold weather, we bring them in from pasture, put them in the hot box to dry off and get their circulation going. Then we get them back to their mothers. It’s important they get the first drink of colostrum from the mother, which contains natural antibiotics for the calf.

OH Ranch Blog

We also purchased a portable wind fence and calf shelters. Calves can lie down in a straw bed in the calf shelter to get out of the elements and mom can find protection behind the fence.

OH Ranch Blog_2

We’ve also made changes to calving grounds. This year we are calving on the east side of Steer  flats and as the cows calve we move pairs the  west side  of the flat and then once the calves are old enough we move the pairs to Home Coulee.

So far, 161 calves have been born and we have 47 to go. No major problems to date, so the season is off to a good start.

Agrium Western Event Centre: Information of Interest

After years of planning, 22 months of construction and much anticipation, the keys to Agrium Western Event Centre have now been turned over to the Calgary Stampede.

Our team’s hard work continues to install equipment, commission, clean and prepare the building for our human and animal guests. The building will open with a flourish with a ribbon cutting ceremony and community open house on Saturday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plan to join us in celebrating one of the largest projects in the Stampede’s history.

As we await an inside view, we would like to share some information of interest:

-The building took 22 months to build. Sod-turning was July of 2012, completion May 2014.
-The building construction was completed about one month ahead of schedule.
-More than 3,700 cubic metres of concrete were used in its construction.

-The barrel-vaulted curved trusses span 200 feet across.
-The seating for the arena’s 2,500 guests is more steeply pitched than most, allowing guests to wear cowboy hats without blocking views of those seated behind.
-For added comfort, the arena’s seats are wider than industry standard seats.
-Guests can enjoy a view of the action from any spot on the open concourse, such as while waiting for food at the concessions.
-The arena features five VIP suites with preferred seating, separate washrooms for VIP guests and hosting rooms that offer views of both the arena and the racetrack.



 -The rotunda doubles as a classroom for Agrium’s Journey 2050 program – an inquiry-based education program on agricultural sustainability.
-The magnificent rotunda was designed to echo the shape of grain silos.
-Two-hundred-year-old reclaimed wood featured on the wall alongside the rotunda’s escalators was sourced from a former grain elevator.
-The rotunda’s custom floor tiles depict a map of the globe:

  • The tile was cut using a waterjet cutter in Italy. The dark chocolate tile (land) and beige tile (water) were cut as individual pieces and then put together like a puzzle.
  • Each of the five foot by five foot tiles weighs about 70 pounds.
  • This is the largest tile that the manufacturer has ever cut and the largest tile that our tile contractor has ever installed.

Animal-friendly features:
-The ground floor animal areas feature performance-grade dirt or slip-resistant rough concrete flooring on a level surface with no steps or changes in elevation.
-Six-foot-high solid arena walls improve animal and competitor safety, and eliminate visual distractions for animals during competition or performance.
-The larger 250’ x 125’ arena performance floor reduces the need for hard braking during events such as show jumping, creating opportunities for more diverse events to be hosted.
-Under-the-stand holding pens with a traffic lane around keeps animal and foot traffic flowing and herds in place.
-A secondary show-ring or warm-up arena with performance dirt is standard in the adjacent Exhibition Hall, meaning streamlined warm-up, no cold muscles and better performance potential for animals.
-Outside roof overhangs on the south and east portions of the building offer sun and rain protection for herds stalled in outdoor livestock pens.
-Direct access from participant entrance to animal stalls in the Agriculture Building reduces animals crossing traffic.