Stampede Fan Photos – Stampede at Night

The sun goes down, the lights come on, and Stampede has a whole new energy and feel. The neon lights from the rides, the glamour of the Grandstand Show, and the fire from the Bell adrenaline ranch light up the night sky before the fireworks do. The bright lights create a whole new atmosphere and create a picture perfect moment. Here are some of our favourite nighttime photos captured by you and showcased in our Official Fan Gallery.

The Calgary Stampede Showband lends a hand in Brazil

The Calgary Stampede Showband, currently in Brazil preparing to compete in the 2014 World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) championships, took a break from rehearsing today to spend some time volunteering at a local school for underprivileged children in Atibaia City. Portal do Saber – Portal of Knowledge – is a private school and does not receive any funding other than what the students pay; approximately 70% of students attending the school pay little or nothing for the high level of education they receive there. 100% of the funds raised for the school go toward hiring the very best teachers. Other staff, including administration and maintenance, are volunteers. Building upkeep comes only with donations and the help of volunteers and this is where the Showband comes in!


Showband members spent the morning painting buildings and classrooms, gardening, landscaping, and hanging doors, among other tasks. Some of the walls in the school had not been painted since the school first opened, more than 10 years ago. The Showband also donated the paint and other supplies for the work done today. Volunteer principal Vivian said that renovations like this bring motivation and excitement for the students and the staff. The school’s volunteers have a profound passion for education; Vivian expressed, “I don’t care about not being paid. It’s about seeing a student grow and develop a passion for learning.”IMG_2571

The Showband also had the opportunity to give a brief performance for hundreds of local children. Members performed some hometown favourites and had the chance to interact and share their love of music and performance with the students. The Brazilian children had a great time – many asked for autographs and took selfies with Showband members!186A4932This weekend, the Showband will compete in pursuit of its fifth (and third consecutive!) world title. Check out more photos of the Showband’s volunteerism on their Facebook page, read more about the WAMSB competition here, and follow their adventures in Brazil on Twitter, and Instagram using @ShowbandCS and #wamsb.

Accepting nominations for the Western Legacy Awards

Time is of the essence and so is the dead line to submit your nominations for the Western Legacy Awards! We encourage you to shine light on the unsung heroes of Calgary that make a difference and demonstrate a commitment to community, pride in place, integrity and western hospitality. The three award categories of the Western Legacy Awards are: Sustained Contribution for both individual and group, Innovation and Youth.  If you know someone whose actions have made an impact within the Calgary community please place your nomination in before July 31, 2014. Follow the link below to the quick and easy nomination application. Thank you in advance for taking the time to acknowledge special unsung heroes — by nominating them you have made their song heard!

* Click here to nominate.

Some thoughts on the Western Legacy Awards from one of last year’s winners, Rick Smith.

Western Legacy Award for Sustained Contribution Individual on Vimeo

Preserving and promoting Western Heritage, values and Way of Life have been my Life’s passion…Receiving recognition from the Calgary Stampede by winning the prestigious Western Legacy Award is an honor I will forever cherish.

We all know people who typify and live by WESTERN VALUES and who appreciate Western Heritage, and by doing so, usually in a quiet way, make the community in which they live a better place.  They do not seek or expect recognition, however, acknowledging their contributions, through the Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy Awards deservedly shines a light on them and expresses the community’s gratitude.

The community may be big or small, urban or rural, on the map or off the beaten path, however it’s home and its quality of life is measured by the activities and attitudes of its residents.  The presence of WESTERN VALUES and all it entails is always an asset.

Step aside soccer fans, marching bands are bound for Brazil!

This year, the Calgary Stampede challenged Calgarians by asking them, “What kind of champion are you?” For Calgary Stampede Showband members, the answer was easy: We’re WORLD champions. The Showband is currently the only marching showband in the world to ever win the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) world championship title four times and next week they’ll compete in Brazil with the aim to bring the total to five with their 2014 field show, “Aurora”.10417746_10152205525380334_4696523686268832438_nAfter a year of hard work (over 200 performances and nearly 800 hours of rehearsal!) Showband members travel to Bragança Paulista this weekend, an area just outside of Sao Paulo, where they’ll spend more time rehearsing to perfect their performance and compete in the WAMSB Brazil world championships from July 30 to August 3. Other marching show bands competing next week include ensembles from Germany, Poland, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil.10489945_10152216751141616_2459543265072823860_nThe Showband is also the only marching ensemble to ever win back-to-back WAMSB titles. In 2012, they won at home in Calgary with a field show called, “The Legend Continues”, which paid homage to the Calgary Stampede’s centennial. Last year, the Showband won in Japan with their field show titled “Momentum”, earning a score of 94.94 – the standard of distinction for marching show bands.10470923_10152216748571616_3858421127900549049_nAurora”, a stellar production inspired by the Roman goddess of dawn and the lights of the northern sky, is designed by the Showband’s local staff and elite show designers from around North America. The Showband’s Director, Aaron Park, says that tours and competitions like WAMSB are an amazing experience for Showband members. “”I am so proud of the band’s hard work. We are excited to take the Calgary Stampede’s western hospitality to Brazil and share our passion for music with fans from around the world.”

You can follow the Showband’s adventures in Brazil by following on social media. Visit the Showband’s Facebook page and follow @ShowbandCS on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates and to send messages of support!

Post-Stampede Chill-out at the Ranch

With the Stampede done for another year, employees and volunteers are enjoying  much-needed downtime and quiet days.

So, too, do the bucking star horses that brought the Stampede rodeo to life. Five days after Final Sunday, I visited Stampede Ranch by Hanna. I was accompanying Gabriele, a photojournalist from Germany on a round-the-world tour to capture images and stories of horses in their most natural elements. An experienced rider and horse breeder, she marveled at the Stampede Ranch herd’s health, pride, natural herd social dynamics, and healthy curiousity about the people who came to visit them.


Bucking horses from the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program enjoy  the most natural herd setting of any domesticated animals – with natural mixed ages herds raised on open pasture with minimal human contact beyond being halter-broken to receive regular medical treatment. Ranch-hands keep an eye on them, watching for injuries or illness and ensuring they get grain to supplement their grazing as needed. But otherwise, the herds generally roam unencumbered and freely across the ranch’s vast 23,000 acres and open skies.

When we arrived at Stampede Ranch, we hopped in the truck with ranch hand Trevor and drove to the expansive pasture where one part of the herd was relaxing – a mere 150 horses or so. There are another 450 in other pastures father afield, including the stallions, breeding mares and colts and bucking bulls that are kept separate from the general population.

In the distance you could see clumps of horses grazing. A few honks of the truck horn and the herd perked up and headed our way, lured by the promise of grain trailing from the truck with the push of a button. Soon the herd was strung out in a long looping line, munching contentedly.


This herd included current bucking stars, up and comers, retired bucking horses, and horses that never made it on the rodeo circuit, but contribute as members of a healthy herd mixture of ages and temperaments.

We hopped out of the truck and snapped photos. At first the horses sidestepped around us. But as the grain was eaten and they began grazing, they all edged closer and closer, their curiousity about the newcomers in their midst overcoming their natural shyness. Soon we were surrounded by the curious gentle giants, nudging in closer to get a look at us, and in some cases, get a pet from us.


Trevor rolled off the names of bucking stars – past and present, pointing out which horses had a bit more thoroughbred, quarter horse or heavy horse blood in the mix. There was the semi-retired Gin Neat, a name well-recognized in rodeo circles. I spoke a soft word and current bucking star Nightmare Rocket strode straight up to me for a cuddle. We’ve met before several times and he’s always eager to have his nose and cheeks petted, whether in the pasture or in the pens prepping for his performance. He was equally happy for a scratch and pat from Gabriele.


There was Lynx Mountain and Loadstone Jade, two long-time stars who are still bucking strong and kicking cowboys into the dirt. Suddenly Loadstone Jade was right up close, curious and looking for a bit of a pet from Trevor, who was happy to oblige.


With reluctance, we shook off the 100’s of horses and headed back to the pens to visit the bucking bulls, stallions and some of the new baby colts with their mares. Here, we opted to stay in the truck to avoid raising any maternal defensiveness, and simply marveled at the baby buckers from afar.


Wistfully, we thanked Trevor for his time and headed back to town, pausing at the ranch gates to share stories of late greats such as Coconut Roll and Cindy Rocket, legendary Stampede bucking stars buried in this place of honour when age and declining health claimed them at last.

But they live on within the ever-increasing power, strength and pride we see in their offspring. What a rare treat to enjoy this peaceful day, photographing just a small slice of the wonderful, natural quality of life these incredible horses enjoy all year-round at the Stampede Ranch.


All Dressed Up and a Show Place to Go! UFA Steer Classic

outsider1This handsome steer (pictured to the left) may be called Outsider but he is certainly no stranger to the pomp and pageantry that comes with the “show” process.

Outsider’s owner, Lane Konrad, explains the one to two hour process of preparing a steer for the show ring:

After a proper washing at the wash racks in the ag barns, Outsider is combed and blown dry with a special blow dryer. Clipping and blow drying is strategic.

“I want to make the legs look thicker and bigger-boned,” says 19-year-old Konrad from Abbotsford, B.C.

lane and outsider 03

The steer is intentionally clipped a bit closer up front (head, chest) with thicker hair left in the back of the animal. According to Lane, this is done “…to give the illusion of ‘meat’…”  The finishing touches to Outsider include the application of Pink Oil to shine up the hooves.

And while the outside of the animal matters a great deal in the show ring, it can largely be a reflection of the steer’s inner health. So, diet is important. Lane Konrad feeds Outsider a blend of beet pulp, oats and corn in addition to his daily intake of hay.  The overall goal for preparing the show-ready steer for the UFA Steer Classic is to optimize the conformation and demonstrate the health of the animal.  And Konrad succeeded. He and Outsider placed fourth in the Simmental Class (190) at this year’s UFA Steer Classic event.

feed mix

Outsider’s feed mix of beet pulp, oats and corn

You don’t have to come from a large cattle operation to participate and be successful showing steers. It is a hobby for Lane Konrad and his family.  But it still requires the drive and interest of a young competitor. This is Lane’s 10th year in 4-H and he credits that experience for his success at the 2014 Calgary Stampede.

“I really like the high calibre of the competitors at the UFA Steer Classic, “ says Lane. “This is my first experience competing at the Calgary Stampede and it has been a great learning experience. I look forward to coming back again!”

Barn Brings Family Together

The barn brings the McLeod family of Cochrane, Alberta together. “It’s the place where we come together and work together,” says Rod McLeod.

And that work has paid off. McLeod’s daughter Megan walked away a Grand Champion with her Charolais steer Cruise at the UFA Steer Classic during the recent Calgary Stampede. And five years ago, her brother Colby was also a winner with his Charolais steer.


It was a dream for Megan, 18, to be at the Calgary Stampede competing with her 1,320-pound steer Cruise. Megan bought Cruise from a Bowden, Alberta Charolais breeder and says she likes to support local breeders. The country duo Florida-Georgia Line’s hit song, Cruise, was the inspiration behind her steer’s name.


Megan participated in the Summer Synergy youth livestock program leading up to Stampede. Summer Synergy provides a collaborative venue to showcase youth in agriculture by combining traditional elements with innovative approaches for personal achievement and development. In the program, participants are judged on various elements including showmanship, conformation, marketing, show team judging and multi species judging. Each participant is scored and the top achievers receive scholarships.

“Synergy is an amazing competition,” says Megan. “You meet amazing people and learn valuable leadership skills.” And being at the Stampede exposes rural youth to an urban population and teaches them how to talk about livestock with the urban public, she adds. All these skills will benefit you later down the road, she says.

Megan is a member of the Jumping Pound 4-H Club, president of the Alberta Charolais Youth Association and a director on the Canadian Charolais Youth Association. She will be headed east in the fall to study at the University of Saskatchewan.

To learn more about Summer Synergy visit

The Best Caesar in Town winner, Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey won The Best Caesar in Town contest on Sunday, July 13 at Nashville North with his Back Yard BBQ Caesar. Brandon was a bartender and DJ while in school at Mount Royal University where he graduated with two degrees in business. He has worked for the past three years as a financial advisor for Investors Group in Calgary.

Calgary Stampede: What was your plan/strategy going into the Best Caesar in Town contest?

Brandon Bailey: Just to have fun.

CS: How long have you been working on your recipe?

BB: In a way, for more than a year. But really the couple weeks leading up to the contest, I was pretty dedicated to it. I had some friends and people around the office try it –everyone said it was the best Caesar they’d had.

Best Caesar in Town_1

CS: Do you infuse your own vodka? Can you tell us a little bit about the process?

BB: The process can take up to two weeks. I take quality of vodka , drop the ingredients—like lime—in, let it sit for two weeks, then I filter it, so the vodka is clear.

Best Caesar in Town_2

CS: What was your approach for this recipe?

BB: My philosophy: Sometimes people over-complicate things. I try to stick to the basics—the recipe is for the drink itself is quite simple for a cocktail and it uses quality ingredients, but takes a lot of time and prep work. It’s also unique—not many Caesars require fresh and muddled ingredients. Also, rather than putting the Sriracha right into the Caesar and compromising the texture, or needing to mix it – I infused the vodka so it would maintain the original Mott’s™ texture, while still being able to flavor the entire drink.

All of the ingredients work together. Some people overlook the rim. I made sure the rim complemented the rest of the ingredients in the Caesar.

Best Caesar in Town_4

CS: How was your experience at the contest?

BB: It was a little overwhelming. I was confident I had a chance at winning, but was surprised when I did. Sort of felt what it was like to be a celebrity for a night. A bunch of friends came out to support me and the bartender was a good friend of mine, so we had a great time. I was the wild card as the only competitor not from a restaurant or bar, so I felt like the odd man out, but there was good camaraderie among the other competitors.

CS: What’s next?

BB: I’m headed all over Europe for six weeks. Winning the competition was the perfect send off!

Following is Brandon’s winning recipe. Don’t forget the Mott’s™ Clamato™!

Best Caesar in Town Winner

88-year-old Rhona Fraser checks Calgary Stampede off her bucket list

Sipping a 7-up, Rhona Fraser and her friend Brenda Rolinson flashback to four years ago, while sitting in the International Agriculture Room; at 88 years old, Rhona, currently residing in Featherston New Zealand, has never been to Canada, let alone the Calgary Stampede although it has always been on her bucket list of things to complete before she passed away. Suddenly, her bucket list became quite a priority when she had a near death heart attack four years ago. Ending up in the hospital, doctors told her and her family that IF she were to survive, she would never live independently again. A tough pill to swallow for such a strong women, and that’s why she wouldn’t let that get to her!

Rhona Fraser

While in the hospital, Brenda, her friend of about 20 years  visited her. Seeing her friend in such poor health didn’t sit well with her and she knew exactly what she needed to say to get Rhona to pull through. Those magical words, you ask? “Rhona, you can’t die…We haven’t been to the Calgary Stampede yet!” Apparently, that was all that needed to be said for her to gain the strength to become healthy once again. Not so surprising for Brenda though, as she describes Rhona as the “bravest person I’ve ever met”.  Rhona went on to say “most people have pain somewhere in their body after having a heart attack…. I have none” , which gave her the ability to make this long trek to Canada.

Prior to her heart attack, Rhona had lived an incredibly interesting and influential life. In the 1960’s she was the only woman welder in an auto factory in New Zealand, she is also a founding member of the New Zealand Women’s Aviation Society, has raised Arabian horses and Angus cattle and ran a riding school for children. Where she found the time for all of this, is beyond us!

Arriving via airplane by herself from Auckland to Vancouver, she then met up with Brenda, where they flew together from Vancouver to Calgary. A trip not most 88 year olds would dare to make, but for Rhona, it was nothing! A highlight for her was upon landing here in Calgary, the pilot invited her into the cockpit. With her aviation background, she was ecstatic to get that opportunity on a commercial flight. She then went on to say that through her time here in Canada, she has never been “so well received”, and that the western hospitality here at the Stampede has been next to none. According to her, the Stampede has lived up to their motto, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

Back at home in New Zealand, Rhona owns 50 acres of land, takes care of 28 acres herself  raising Angus beef and leases out the other 22 acres. A pretty large feat for someone who was told they wouldn’t live independently ever again!

Next on the list? Hopping a flight with the International Ninety-Nines, a group that was founded in 1929 by 99 licensed women pilots for the mutual support and advancement of aviation.

Good-luck, Rhona!

New public art installation: 100 Years of Champions

Today, the Calgary Stampede officially unveiled the spectacular art installment 100 Years of Champions, honouring the champions of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and chuckwagon races. Champions_1

The oversized aluminum horseshoes represent the strength of the iron that protects the animals from harm; six to honour the six disciplines of rodeo and chuckwagon racing: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping and chuckwagon racing.


If you look closely, you will notice some gaps in the years between 1912 to 2012. Some history: The first rodeo took place in 1912. Following a hiatus, the Stampede returned in 1919 to honour soldiers returning from World War I. The festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, now known simply as the Calgary Stampede.


100 Years of Champions was funded in partnership by the Calgary Stampede and the Government of Canada through a contribution by Canadian Heritage through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage, Legacy Fund.

And the Dueling Chef Winner Is

Chef  Xavier Lacaze, Concept Chef Briggs Kitchen and Bar!

Xavier winner 2014

It was a very close competition with Ian Smith, Executive Chef Swine & Sow Wine & Ale House within a point of Xavier when the judges completed their tally.

Dueling chef 2014 Ian Xavier

Consider this:  you have invited 5 guests for dinner, you don’t know what ingredients you are going to have on hand to make 5 courses and you have 75 minutes to prepare and serve.

Also your food plating has to be artistic, you’re not working in your own kitchen and if you are given Orange Crush and Nutella to use in your black box of ingredients you have to make them taste delicious. Without the benefits of recipes you will have to create dishes using pomegranates, cod filet, lobster, whole duck liver, prime rib, dandelion greens, butternut squash, Canadian maple cheddar, Kefir lime yogurt, dried ancho chilies, Wonder bread, espresso sea salt and Barbados rum.

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And of course you have 200 strangers in your kitchen watching you make everything and your 5 guests are going to fill out a scorecard judging your meal.

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Pictured:  Garth Brown, Chef Xavier Lacaze, Chef Ian Smith, Dave Rutherford

If you have not had an opportunity to see one of the Dueling Chef competitions put it in your Stampede planner for next year.  This is the 5th Annual Dueling Chef competition and the Kitchen Theatre team, which does a fantastic job, is already planning for 2015.

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Thank you to all our competitors (Ian Smith, Nicole Gomes, Robin Bowen) and congratulations Xavier Lacaze!

Introducing 2014 Stampede Talent Search Champion — Layten Kramer

Last night was the night for Layten Kramer to shine at the 2014 Stampede Talent Search finals. Kramer was awarded the title of 2014 Stampede Talent Search Champion, $5000 cash, a customized performer development pckage as well as the President’s Trophy and a commemorative one-of-a-kind custom silver belt buckle.

Photo credit to our sponsor Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo.

Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photography. A generous sponsor of the Stampede Talent Search.

Kramer stood out from a field of over 300 contestants from across Canada who auditions for the show in May of 2014, and by a panel of judges was selected to be this year’s winner.

“I am so shocked,” says Kramer. “It was such an amazing experience to play an original song on this stage, and tonight, everything came together perfectly”

“The Stampede Talent Search is often the first to shine the spotlight on rising Canadian Talent,” says Stampede Talent Search Committee Chair, Scott Henderson. “This year’s audience will no doubt brag about some of the artists they’ve seen on our stage in 2014″.

The first runner-up was Emma Rose from Calgary, AB.

Lizzy Munson from Calgary, AB was the second runner-up.

The third runner-up was Kaleigh Jo Kirk from Cochrane, AB who also received the Don Welden award for Most Promising Performer.

Kyra Brynne Lake, also from Calgary, received the “Fan Favourite” award, which is chosen through texts and tweets.

The 2014 Stampede Talent Search was made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. The Calgary Stampede, The Calgary Herald, PSAV, CTV, Lammles, Up! 97.7 FM. And, Benjamin Laird Arts & Photography.

The 2015 Stampede Talent Search Canada-wide auditions will open in March, 2015. So if you know of a young talented performer between the ages of 6 and 21 please send them out next year!

Dueling Chef Finalists Have Been Determined

Let the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre final cooking duel begin!

Friday night Ian Smith, Executive Chef Swine & Sow Wine & Ale House  edged out Executive Chef Robin Bowen of Rodney’s Oyster House in a very close competition.

Dueling chef 2014 Robin Ian


Tonight, Saturday July 12th Chef Ian will meet Chef  Xavier Lacaze, Concept Chef Briggs Kitchen and Bar to determine who is the Calgary Stampede Top Dueling Chef for 2014.
Dueling chef 2014 Ian Xavier

The competition starts at 5:30 on the Kitchen Theatre stage in the Western Oasis, BMO Centre Halls D & E. Dave Rutherford is our fabulous MC

Dueling chef 2014 Rutherford

Secret ingredients in the Friday night black box:

Dueling chef 2014 menu.

Sunday will be our final shows and there will be some great Presenters to watch and food to try.  See you there!