Remembering Gordon Crowchild

On January 12, 2015 the Calgary Stampede lost a valued member of its family with the passing of Tsuu T’ina Lifetime Chief and famous cowboy Gordon Crowchild.

Crowchild was born on the Tsuu T’ina Nation Reserve in 1929. He competed in his first Stampede at the age of 15 in the Boys’ Steer Riding competition. Crowchild grew up admiring Aboriginal cowboys Jimmy Wells, Fred Gladstone, Frank Many Fingers and Tom Three Persons, and he “wanted to grow up to be a cowboy.”[1] Later in life, he recalled that he “used to watch the Calgary Stampede from the Grandstand side across the race track and when I [saw] the Cowboy[s] compete I always thought in my mind someday I’m going be like that man[,] because many Indian Native boys took part in the Calgary Stampede.”[2]

He followed his father, Tsuu T’ina Chief David Crowchild, into the chuckwagon races, and rode as an outrider for his dad’s team. Then from 1950-1953, he drove his own chuckwagon team with his half-brother Edwin Crane. In those years, Crowchild also began competing in rodeo events, which over his career included Wild Cow Milking, Steer Decorating, Steer Wrestling and the Wild Horse Race. In 1971 he was named the Stampede High-Point Champion, and he was honoured by the Stampede as a Pioneer of Rodeo in 1995.

Gordon Crowchild 2

Calgary Stampede Wild Horse Race 1982
Courtesy of the Huish Family

Crowchild was Chief of the Tsuu T’ina Nation during the 1970s, and throughout his life he was an advocate for Aboriginal cowboys. Longtime Stampede Indian Events committee member Fred Saunders remembers Crowchild as being, “very supportive of First Nations rodeo cowboys and willing to share advice and interesting stories from his vast experience and knowledge of the sport.”[3] In 1962, Crowchild helped found the All Indian Rodeo Cowboy Association, which is known today as the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association (IRCA). He was both founder and competitor, and in 1971 was the IRCA Steer Wrestling Champion.

Gordon Crowchild 1

Gordon Crowchild b. 1929 d. 2015

Gordon will be remembered for his stories, his sense of humour, his love of rodeo and his commitment to his Tsuu T’ina Nation. He was a cowboy through and through, and embodied the true spirit of the sport. He once said that when his cowboy hat wasn’t on his head, it was sitting turned up, because then “you’re open to the world showing your love.”

Gordon Crowchild competed in rodeo events well into his 60s. A number of years ago he spoke to one of our Stampede School classes about his history and connections with rodeo, where he told them: “Children, I’m a Cowboy. One thing… when I leave this world, I’ll leave it as a Cowboy.”[4]

He will be missed.



[1] Stampede School, “Gordon Crowchild talks about competing,” Our Roots,

[2] Fred Saunders to Author, January 14, 2015.

[3] Jim Goodstriker, “Veteran cowboy still champ in pro Indian rodeo,” Windspreaker 11:5 (1993).

[4] Stampede School, “Gordon Crowchild growing up,” Our Roots,

Romantic Breakfast for Valentine’s Day

Not sure what to do for Valentine’s Day? The Calgary Stampede is here to help. Below you’ll find the shopping list and step-by-step instructions to help you whip up a romantic breakfast for two.

Eggs Benedict with Lemon Hollandaise sauce
Rustic Potato Cakes
Fried Red Tomatoes

Grocery List

1 dozen eggs
1 package English muffins
1 package sliced back bacon
1lb of butter
1 bunch green onion
1 lemon
2 potatoes
2 tomatoes
1 Container of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or black berries
1 bottle of flavoured oil-your choice (Soffrito is fabulous if you’re in the south part of town)
1 small bottle of cranberry juice
Lavender Sugar (visit the Silk Road Spice Merchant on 9th avenue)
1 bottle of Cava (Willow Park Wine and Spirits  has great selections)
1 Bouquet of Flowers

Lemon Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup clarified butter
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In heavy-bottomed saucepan or in stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks until thickened and pale. Whisk in water and lemon juice.

Set saucepan over low heat or place bowl over saucepan with  1 1/2- inches (4 cm) barely simmering water;   whisk until bottom of pan can be seen between whisks and wires of whisk become lightly coated, 2- to 4 minutes.

Slowly, whisk in enough of the melted butter to thicken to consistency of whipping cream. Increase amount of butter slightly, whisk in remaining butter. Season and cover keeping warm.

CS Kitchen 3     CS Kitchen - Eggs Benedict

One of our great Stampede chefs slicing and dicing and finished eggs benedict

Rustic Potato Cakes

  • 2 large new potatoes
  • 2-3 Tbsp. oil- (Flavoured oils are a nice touch – you can purchase yours at one of Calgary’s many olive oil bars.)
  • A couple green onions – chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash then grate your potato. Place grated potato on a paper towel to remove some moisture.

Heat up a fry pan; add oil and then your potato ensuring it covers the bottom of the fry pan.  Sprinkle with green onion, salt and pepper, fry on medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and repeat. The potato should be golden brown on each side. If you prefer to do smaller potato cakes you can.

CS Kitchen - Potatoe cake      CS Kitchen

Rustic Potato Cakes and there’s lots of room in the Stampede kitchens

Eggs Benedict with Lemon Hollandaise sauce

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 2 English muffins
  • 4 pieces Canadian back bacon

Fill a sauce pan 3 cups of cold water, place onto the stove at high heat and bring to a boil. Add 3 Tbsp on white vinegar to pot and turn down to a simmer. Crack 4 eggs into the water and simmer for 4 -6 minutes based on desired consistency. Remove egg from water with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl.

Turn oven on to 250F

Place your English muffins into the toaster and quickly pan fry back bacon in a fry pan. Butter your English muffin and place the back bacon along with 1 egg on each piece, place onto a tray a keep warm in oven.

Fried Red Tomatoes

  • 2 hot house red tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

This is last thing you do- quickly pan fry ¼ inch thick cut tomato on each side

CS Kitchen - Fried Red Tomatoes CS Kitchen 2

Some fried red tomatoes and a look behind the scenes in one of the Stampede’s kitchens

For the table:

  • Flowers
  • 2 knives , 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 napkins, salt and pepper
  • Berries should be washed and dried- sprinkle on lavender sugar- these can be place in a small glass for presentation
  • Cava and Cranberry- get your best crystal, 3oz of cold cava and 2 oz of cranberry juice and mix – leave the bottle on the table as you will finish it!
  • Grab your 2 warm plates – place your potato, 2 slices of tomato, 2 English muffins and cover them in the buttery lemon hollandaise sauce.

No doubt, you will enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Creston BC Refugee Comittee           CS Kitchen 4 - table

Derek Dale pictured above with a suggested table setting


The Calgary Stampede Food and Beverage department serves more than 175,000 meals per year including catering, premium seating venues and concessions. They’ve served people of all kinds such as The Queen of England, the Calgary Flames, Garth Brooks, Chris Hadfield, Martha Stewart, Temple Grandin, Steven Harper, George Bush and more. In just one year, they use enough burger patties to equal eight Clydesdale horses in weight. In one year they also use 18,000 lbs of hot dogs, 2,500 lbs of salmon and 125,000 lbs of potatos/french fries. They recycle approximately 730,000 beverage containers and 4,000 kg of deep fryer oil per year.

 ChefsTwo Stampede Chefs pondering what recipe to make next




Stampede Showrider auditions; here’s why you should apply

Do you know someone who has what it takes to be a Calgary Stampede Showrider? The Stampede Showriders are a dynamic group of young equestrians with a distinctive western flair. They perform across southern Alberta and have travelled to destinations in the United States and Europe. The Showriders are holding 2015 auditions on Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8 at the Barron Barn in Turner Valley. They are looking for prospective members between the ages of 14 and 21 who own their own horse. To be part of the Showriders, it is beneficial to have some previous riding experience.

Thinking about auditioning but not sure if you’re the right fit? Twenty-two year old Calgary Stampede Princess and Showriders alumna Haley Peckham told us what it is like to be part of the Stampede’s unique youth riding ensemble. Hayley was a member of the Showriders for six years before being crowned Calgary Stampede Princess in September 2014. She credits the program for enhancing her self-confidence and making her a better rider.

Showriders 1

Peckham as a Stampede Showrider

Most will recognize the Showriders from the Calgary Stampede Parade and their musical ride performances in the Infield before the GMC Rangeland Derby every night during Stampede, but many aren’t familiar with the full range of Showriders’ performances or the work that goes into preparing for those appearances. The Showriders also perform in the new Agrium Western Event Centre and make other appearances in the community, such as the Alberta Children’s Hospital Parade. They have also had the opportunity to travel to, perform, perform and compete during Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming and the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

 Showriders 2

Stampede Showriders at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Parade

The girls and their horses rehearse approximately twice each month during the spring leading up to their summer performance season. Haley says rehearsals are an incredible learning experience for both riders and their horses. Rehearsals include time learning about different horses’ personalities and honing performance skills. The Showriders also hold clinics to further improve the girls’ riding and the horses’ resiliency. For example, they participate in an extreme trail clinic every year. Additionally, while riding is typically an individual activity, the Showriders are part of a team, something Haley calls one of her favourite parts of being involved with the group.

And the riders? They come from many backgrounds. Haley’s family has a ranch west of Bowden and grew up around horses. As a little girl, she saw the Showriders on television and knew that she wanted to ride in the Calgary Stampede Parade one day. Some girls come from ranches near Calgary, while others grew up in the city and board their horses out of town.

As Peckham testifies, being a part of the Showriders is a lot of fun and a great opportunity for personal growth.

Prospective members should email for more information or to register for auditions. We hope to see you at the auditions.

Stampede History Moment presents the Stampede Corral

When the New York Islanders practiced in the Stampede Corral recently, they blogged about their experience. The building is no stranger to professional hockey, but it has been more than three decades since a National Hockey League team called it home.

Stampede Corral 1

The Stampede Corral when it was first built

In 1944, the Calgary Stampede bought the Stampeders, an amateur men’s hockey team. The Stampeders originally played at the Victoria Arena, which was a fixture of Stampede Park until it burned down in the 1960s. The arena’s seats were originally colour-coded by price, likely to help people find their spots easily, but this feature was quickly changed. The original 6,450 wooden seats remain in place and are now bright red.

Stampede Corral 4      Stampede Corral 5

        Photo of the current all-red seats                        Victoria Arena during the fire  

The first puck drop occurred on Boxing Day in 1950, in a game between the Edmonton Flyers and the Calgary Stampeders (resulting in a 5-0 victory for the home team). The Stampede invited the standing-room only crowd of 8,729 to pick a new name for the arena from five options: the Coliseum, Stampede Gardens, the Stampedium, the Rodeodrome, or the Corral. The people chose Stampede Gardens, but the Stampede opted to keep the Corral as the official name. For many years after the decision, newscasters and fans alike refused to use the official name and only referred to the building as “the new arena.”

In addition to Stampeders hockey games, the Corral –  then the largest arena in Canada west of Toronto – hosted many major events. Roy Rogers held 10 sold-out performances there and it was home to Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling for several decades until 1984. In the 1950s, the Ice Cycles were a big draw with their figure skating shows.

 Stampede Corral 2      Stampede Corral 3
The Ice Cycles performing two routines

The Corral hosted the Calgary Flames after they moved from Atlanta in 1980 until the Saddledome opened in 1983. During the 1988 Olympics, figure skating and hockey events were also featured at the Corral. Today,it continues to host amateur hockey games and, as the Islanders experienced, occasional NHL practices in addition to many on-ice events such as Disney on Ice. It has become a popular concert venue as well, hosting bands such as Billy Talent, Metric and Arcade Fire. During the annual Stampede time, the arena hosts popular shows such as 2012’s TAILS and 2014’s Peking Acrobats.

The Corral will turn 65 this year and it continues to be a significant landmark both at Stampede Park and in the City of Calgary.


Information courtesy of the Calgary Stampede archives.


Upcoming Event: “Ranching Women in Southern Alberta 1880-1930”

Calling all Western history lovers! Next Tuesday, January 27, there is a free talk at Fort Calgary about the history of ranching women.

Rachel Herbert is a fifth-generation Alberta rancher. She has an MA in history from the University of Calgary, and owns and operates a ranch outside of Nanton, called Trail’s End. That name may ring a bell for many of you, as Trail’s End has a long lineage. Herbert is the great-granddaughter of Fred and Edith Ings. Fred Ings ran cattle on the open range in the late 1800s. He was the second owner of the OH Ranch, which the Stampede Foundation now owns and operates in collaboration with the National Conservancy of Canada. After selling the OH Ranch to his brother James Walter in 1908, Fred and Edith operated Midway Ranch, Sunset Ranch, and Trail’s End near Nanton in the early 1900s.  Edith continued ranching after Fred’s death in the 1930s, and also ran a dude ranch at Trail’s End from the 1930s to 1950s. Rachel will be speaking about the unique challenges and opportunities facing ranching women in southern Alberta from 1880 to 1930, and “dismantle the notion of an entirely masculine ranching culture.”

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Herbert Poster2

Click here to see a list of other talks hosted by the Chinook Country Historical Society.

Kimberly Stewart’s reflections on the past year

Hello there!

The trio and I were able to break for Christmas and got to spend some good quality time with our families before gearing up for what the New Year may have in store for us. I would just like to take a minute to reflect on the past few months as a member of the trio.

I have been given some incredible opportunities so far this year and one of the big highlights of my 2014 would be attending my very first Grey Cup celebration and riding in my very first parade! It was an amazing experience I won’t soon forget, and was a great precursor for what the Calgary Stampede Parade will be like.


It was incredible working with the Calgary Grey Cup Committee, they brought an energy to the breakfasts that they put on which made them the biggest hit on the strip. The band that they had brought with them, High Steppin Daddy, was also a fantastic addition and they were troopers playing for many hours over many days on some rather chilly mornings! I can’t say enough about their committee and to top it all off we brought home the cup and got to meet one of the men responsible for that, none other then Mr. Bo Levi Mitchell himself!


Its hard to pick an event that was my favourite of 2014 because they were all really fun and all taught me something about the Calgary Stampede, or the people who run this incredible organization. One that is stuck in my mind was an event put on by the Queens’ Alumni Society, which is the past royalty of the Calgary Stampede. It was their annual Giddy-up Christmas, which is an event they put on for families with disabled children. I’ve started to recognize some faces and all the kids have a great time.

This event was extra special because of one little girl, who couldn’t have been more then two years old, and she had these big blue eyes and curly blonde hair. I was sitting at her table and she climbed down off her chair and waddled over to me and started climbing up onto my lap so she could colour with me. We sat there for about half an hour and she was smiling the whole time. It’s things like that that make the day so special.


These past few months have been an incredible end to 2014 for me. From events like happy trials, and Winter Start in Lake Louise to the few I’ve mentioned, I couldn’t have asked for a better year. I’ve worked with some incredible people and animals. My advisors, our wonderful sponsors who have dedicated much of their lives to this program, and of course my four legged partner in crime, Kansas.


I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for myself and my fellow trio mates and our IP. Since I’ve missed the boat before the holidays I will finish off by saying I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Kimberly Stewart CS 2015 Princess.

The Showband’s top 10 apps for marching band and music teachers

Wondering what technology a world champion marching band uses to be its very best? Here’s a list of apps that Calgary Stampede Showband staff members use regularly and would recommend for marching bands, drum corps, and other music ensembles. Know of any other great apps? Tell us about them in the comments!

olympic parade 5

1. Coach’s Eye

The Showband uses Coach’s Eye to help with its marching, percussion, dance, and color guard evaluations.  Director Aaron Park loves its video analysis tools; staff use the camera on their mobile device to take video during rehearsal and add visual and audio feedback through the app, which can be shared with the student via email and Dropbox (another one of our favorite apps, see #6!).

2. Charms Office Assistant

Charms is an organization management tool that helps you keep track of student information. The Showband uses it to track students’ contact information, forms, uniform inventory, and attendance. You can even record attendance and track inventory by scanning barcodes with your mobile device. The Showband’s parent group, the Calgary Marching Show Band Association (CMSBA), also uses Charms to coordinate its fundraising efforts and both parents and students can log-in  the app to see and update information.

3. Tempo Lite, Tempo, and Tempo Advance

Tempo is a metronome app that allows you to program an entire song, so it will automatically switch between different meters and tempos. Brass instructor Chris Bourne uses Tempo Advance and says it’s ideal for complex music, which changes meters more often. Chris also uses it to share the songs he creates with the Showband’s drum majors, so that they can connect it to the loudspeaker and practice conducting all of the different patterns.

4. iStroboSoft

iStroboSoft is a digital strobe tuner that is accurate and easy to use. The app’s strobe feature bars that move until your instrument is in tune, clearly showing your accuracy to different levels of precision. It even has a noise filter to remove background noise.

5. Notability

Notability is a PDF reader that allows you to upload music and drill in PDF format. Showband Assistant Director and percussion instructor Ryan Hancock uses Notability to make edits with pencil, text and highlighting tools before sharing updated documents with others.

6. Dropbox

Dropbox lets you upload and share files including photos, videos, and other documents. Best of all, you can access your files offline, which is essential when your rehearsal is at a remote location lacking internet access. The Showband’s music writers and visual designers also use Dropbox to collaborate while creating Showband productions.

7. Weather Network

It’s tough to plan for a 12 hour rehearsal day when Calgary’s weather can change on a dime. Will you need to bring a sweater? Sunscreen? An umbrella? The Weather Network’s app gives you reasonably accurate forecasts for the morning, afternoon, and evening.

8. SmartMusic

The Showband uses SmartMusic to conduct its music evaluations for wind players. Students complete assignments at home by recording audio through the app on their iPad or on their computer. Our woodwind coordinator, April Waterbury, loves that she can assess students’ work and provide feedback through the app on her phone, so students see what they are doing well, as well as areas for improvement.

9. Tiny Piano

The Showband’s brass section sings a few songs in its warm-ups, but doesn’t usually have a large piano nearby, so Showband brass coordinator Jeff Waterbury uses Tiny Piano to teach pitch instead!

10. Voice Memo

Showband staff use Apple’s built-in Voice Memo app to make recordings of rehearsals for later review, to record conversations and ideas during design meetings, and to prepare for rehearsals.