Aggie Days and Dairy Cattle accommodate special needs children

The 30th anniversary of Aggie Days has me reflecting on how much the Agriculture Education committee has accomplished throughout the years. I’d like to share a few of my top memories with you today.

First, let me introduce myself. I have been involved with Aggie Days almost from the very beginning. Although not actually on the Agriculture Education (Aggie Days) committee at the time, I was involved with the Dairy Committee and Aggie Days shared the barn with the Dairy Show. So in 1986, during the first Aggie Days, I helped bring in Jersey calves for the school program. I joined the Aggie Days committee shortly after that. I have been doing the cow milking demonstrations for many years with the help of my whole family.

One of my favorite memories of Aggie Days was when we invited Paul Brandt to come and sing for the special needs children as their lunch time entertainment. My daughter Danielle, who was 10 or 11 at the time, wrote him a letter asking him to come to Aggie Days as he was going to be in Calgary for a CBC televised concert in the Saddledome. She mentioned how much her younger brother Jeff loved dancing to his songs and that Jeff was developmentally handicapped and would be at Aggie Days. Paul’s manager contacted us and said that Paul would try to come and sing. Paul did come and sing for the kids in the Victoria Pavilion and the kids danced and clapped along. Paul also took some extra time to meet Jeff and Danielle and gave us tickets to his concert. It was truly a memorable experience!

Aggie Days _blog1

Children at Giddy-Up Aggie Days getting to know the dairy cattle inside the pen.

One of the best accomplishments with Aggie Days was getting special needs schools their own time at Aggie Days. My son Jeff attended a school program for special needs children and we invited them to come to Aggie Days. The handibus dropped the kids off at the barns about 45 minutes before the regular school buses arrived. Our exhibitors welcomed the wheelchairs into the pens with the animals, which let the kids come up close to touch, see and smell. Everyone really enjoyed the extra special time they spent showing these kids their exhibits and animals without a crowd. It was decided the following year to have Aggie Days Wednesday morning dedicated to the special needs schools and children. Now the Queens’ Alumni Giddy-Up Aggie Days for special needs children and their families is held on the Saturday of Aggie Days.

Aggie Days _Blog2

My daughter, Danielle, introducing one of our Jersey cows to the kids during Giddy-Up Aggie Days.

Out of the cows that we brought to Aggie Days, one particularly memorable one was Bluebell the Jersey cow, who attended for at least 10 years. Bluebell was brown, with a few black highlights, but her most distinctive feature was a white heart on her face. She absolutely loved people she would have. Most of the time Bluebell’s pen would be open so the kids could go in and pat her. Quite often you would see her laying down, happily chewing her cud and surrounded by kids. Some would have their ear to her stomach listening for her baby, some would be laying on her and some would be hugging her.

Aggie Days _Blog3

My daughter, Danielle, opening the pen so children in wheelchairs can touch, smell and feel the dairy cattle up close.

We would also take kids in wheel chairs in to see Bluebell and she was very still and patient so the kids were able to touch her.  She loved every minute of it. Every year in the barns, we would unload her and she would walk right into her pen. In the mornings she would be watching the entrance to the barns from the Victoria Pavilion, because that is where the kids came in. At home she would come to the gate of the corral when she saw the trailer that she rode in, and walk in without hesitation. Bluebell also came to Country Critters at Stampede time as part of Ag-tivity in the City for many years. She was such a special cow that kids would come back to visit her year after year. Bluebell’s legacy lives on as Bluebell, the hand milking cow, was named after her, (even though the plastic Bluebell is a Holstein).

Aggie Days _Blog4

Bluebell, the plastic handmilking cow used for interactive learning displays. (Named after Bluebell the loveable Jersey cow.)

People of all ages should come to Aggie Days every year because the animals change from year to year, there are always a few new displays, and everyone can learn something each and every year. It is extremely important that everyone understands where their food comes from. Over the years, I have had people with young children come to Aggie Days and tell me that they watched me milk the cows when they were in school and now they are bringing their children to see it. It makes me feel old but proud that I have had such a part in teaching people about agriculture and specifically dairy cattle.

Aggie Days is open to the public on April 11-12 and takes place in the BMO Centre, Stampede Park.

Win a VIP Tour of Aggie Days!

It’s that time of year again—Aggie Days is getting close! Every year we host a family on a VIP behind the scenes tour with special accesses that only our VIP family gets to see! Last year’s family had a blast and we hope that you enter to win our giveaway to get the same experiences they did. The tour will be on Saturday April 11 and hosted by our volunteer, Teresa.

Enter To Win VIP Tour

Click here to enter

Good luck!

Supply Management – It’s A Good Thing

Today’s guest post is from Agatha Smykot. She is the Producer Services Administrator at the Egg Farmers of Alberta. She was born and raised in Edmonton and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Alberta. She has worked for a poultry processor and global animal health company and has a passion for agriculture and poultry production. Agatha is also an avid snowboarder, foodie, and indie music lover. She lives in Calgary with her boyfriend, their rambunctious dog, and a deaf cat. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

At the Egg Farmers of Alberta, I’m responsible for processing all quota transactions between registered egg producers in Alberta. It goes without saying that I have an intimate relationship with supply management. I believe in supply management, and I believe it benefits both consumers and producers.

First, let’s take a step back – what is supply management? Supply management is a uniquely Canadian system that balances demand and supply.

It operates on three pillars:

  1. Production discipline – the number of eggs produced matches demand to limit market fluctuations and maintain price stability
  2. Pricing mechanisms – ensures that Canadian egg producers receive a fair price for their products
  3. Import controls – borders are open to a predictable number of imported products

Supply management was first introduced in the late 1940’s, but it wasn’t fully implemented in the egg industry until 1967. For over four decades, producers have worked together to keep Canada’s egg industry stable and free of government subsidies. Canada’s egg industry is completely self-sufficient.

Supply management is good for consumers, because it ensures that consumers have access to fresh, locally-produced eggs and egg products. When you purchase eggs at the grocery store, you’re directly supporting a local farmer. If you ask me, that’s great news!

Supply management encourages producers to invest back into their farms. For example, a producer can suspend production for one year to build a new barn – producers earn quota credits and increase production for subsequent cycles to make up for lost time. This and other programs encourage producers to make continuous improvements to animal health and welfare. Alberta is a leader in this regard. In fact, a producer in Alberta was the first producer to install an enriched/furnished housing system in Canada, and one of our producers won the inaugural Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award.

eggs

 

Continue reading

2015 update!

Oki (hello)! These past few months for myself have been very busy and sort of a whirlwind! So instead of giving a detailed story about everything I’ve been up to I’ve decided to give a favourite memory from each month. My favourite memory in January would have to be the visit to Big Rock school in Okotoks. I really enjoy school events and the enthusiasm that the children have.

 

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess dancing at Big Rock school

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess dancing at Big Rock school

 

I danced for the children as well as told them my best Napi story of Napi and the rock. This Blackfoot story tells of how the location where Okotoks is was orginally formed. I also spoke of the importance of story telling in Blackfoot culture and how it helps us keep our culture and teachings alive! School events such as this where I can share with younger generations and educate them a bit on my culture is very rewarding for me and it makes me feel like I’m fulfilling my role in a good way. A big thanks to Big Rock school for having me.

In Feburary I attended the Indspire awards!! This is an awards show that recognizes indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate achievement in their community. It was such a great experience, I definitely want to go again! It was truly inspiring to see all of the accomplishments of First Nations people of all ages! The show itself was so entertaining and beautiful. I also got to meet actors Lorne Cardinal and Kyle Nobess, who are both great role models! I’m a huge fan of Lorne and I think he is hilarious and represents First Nations people in a positive way so it was a real treat to be able to meet him.

Lorne Cardinal, Maya Many Grey Horses, and Kyle Nobess

Lorne Cardinal, Maya Many Grey Horses (CSIP), and Kyle Nobess at the Indspire Awards

Last but not least my favourite memory of 2015 and March I was privileged enough to go to Berlin Germany! I went to represent the Calgary Stampede at ITB which is the worlds largest trade show where countries, tour operators, hotels, and many other service providers were able to showcase their services to consumers and business operators. What an amazing experience that was! The conference took place at a huge convention centre and it hosted over 180 countries. There were so many different cultures being represented, it was beautiful. You can bet in my sparkly purple beadwork and bright dresses I wasnt the only one to stand out!

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess infront of Brandenburg Gate

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess in front of Brandenburg Gate

The city itself was very interesting and historical! I enjoyed roaming the streets of Berlin and taking in all that the city had to offer. This was my first time to Europe and I’m very thankful to have had this opportunity. A big thank you to the people who made this once in a life time trip possible; Calgary Stampede, Tourism Calgary and our wonderful host Lindsey Jardine.

 

Alberta Chicken Producers – Who Are We?

Today’s guest post is from the Alberta Chicken Producers. Who are they? Read on to find out and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

DSC_1758

Alberta Chicken Producers is a provincial ‘farmer-run’ organization, representing our 245 registered chicken farmers in Alberta. Our chickens are raised for meat consumption.
Our farmers are local families who are passionately committed to providing consumers with safe, high quality, locally produced chicken, raised under the highest standards of animal care and food safety.

  • 100% of chicken farmers in Alberta are certified under national Animal Care and On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Programs as a condition of their licenses to market chicken.
  • Our farms are audited and certified annually by a third party auditors.
  • Our farms are 100% family owned and operated
  • By looking for the “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” label in your grocery store, you know you are getting fresh chicken. In fact, the majority of fresh chicken sold in Alberta was raised in Alberta.

DSC_1633

Our industry is growing sustainably.

  • Our 245 farms produce over 128 million kg live weight of chicken annually, with a farm gate value of over $203 million. All of this is accomplished without subsidies or taxpayer dollars.
  • 69% of Alberta’s Chicken farmers are between the ages of 18 and 49. In 2013, Alberta saw 9 new entrants into the chicken industry.
  • Our unique combination of youth and experience has cemented our place in Alberta’s dynamic economic environment for years to come.

We place high value on the partnerships that define our industry.

  • We are part of a community, an integrated value chain, working closely with hatcheries, processors, feed companies, researchers, and agriculture boards at the provincial and national level.

DSC_1762

Alberta Chicken Producers values our relationships with industry stakeholders, as exemplified by the Shared Industry Vision:

“To continue to grow, be profitable, and satisfy consumers by providing safe, high quality chicken products.”

In support of this Shared Industry Vision, Alberta Chicken Producer’s Mission is:

“To serve our producers by collaboratively providing an environment for profitable chicken production and encouraging a competitive, consumer-focused chicken industry.”

Our booth will be operated by the best experts in the chicken industry….our farmers!! We will have baby chicks, a chicken barn display unit and plenty of give-aways. Our farmers look forward to answering any of your questions.

DSC_1875

Chicken is the most popular protein in Canada, and we look forward to sharing our story!

Horsemanship at the heart of Aggie Days Extreme Cowboy Race

The Calgary Stampede is excited to be hosting an Aggie Days Extreme Cowboy Race on Sunday, April 12.  The race, which is a multi-faceted equestrian sporting event that showcases both horse and rider as they maneuver through a series of obstacles, shows amazing horsemanship and incredible speed. The event coincides with Aggie Days, an exhibit-style event geared to help youth learn about agriculture.

David Cowley, an extreme cowboy competitor, is eagerly waiting for this spring’s competition. “[The race] is a lot of fun,” he says, “and having a competition that focuses on the trust and relationship between horse and rider is great.” His first extreme cowboy race was in 2010 during Stampede time at the Cowboy Up Challenge and he has been a competitor in the Aggie Days Extreme Cowboy Race since last year.

CowboyUpv1

Cowley adding a little extra flair to the competition by standing on his horse to rope the dummy at last year’s Cowboy Up Challenge during Stampede time

Cowley is well-known in Calgary for bringing his horse to the top of the Calgary Tower during Stampede time. “There’s nothing better than seeing peoples’ faces when I walk out of the elevator at the top with my horse,” he says with a laugh. Cowley has trained and taken six different horses up the tower over the past 15 years. This year, he will be bringing Tucker, a palomino quarter horse. Cowley appreciates the opportunity to promote the Stampede and western hospitality. “People don’t often understand how strong the bond can be between horse and rider,” Cowley says.

CowleyAtopCalgaryTower

Cowley crouching on the glass floor at the top of the Calgary Tower with his horse Tucker

Training a horse to feel confident and comfortable enough to ride the elevator all the way up the Calgary Tower, then walk around and take photos with guests, is a big task and requires a strong bond between horse and rider. Cowley loves strengthening this bond and is thrilled to participate in a competition that focuses on this trust.

Continue reading

Aggie Days then and now

Aggie Days, taking place from April 8 – 12 at Stampede Park, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. This educational program, which features displays, exhibits, animals and more, has grown significantly over the years.

In 1986, the first Aggie Days program was created for school children to experience agriculture up-close and learn where their food comes from. Aggie Days took place in a small part of the Agriculture Barns and featured a few exhibits and animals, mainly dairy cattle. The school classes were accompanied by a tour guide that took them through the exhibits, through the show cattle at the dairy classic, and made sure the students arrives at their scheduled demos on time.

In the years following, the Aggie Days team added to the animal experience by providing sheep shearing, cow milking demonstrations and wagon rides pulled by heavy horse teams. The experience of what life is like on a farm was beginning to round out. All of the demonstrations showcased the importance of agriculture and the various types of agricultural roles that shape our world.

Aggie Days’ success thrived; the classes returned, year after year, and the committee was eager to exceed their expectations. The interest youth had in agriculture was a driving force to heighten their Aggie Days experiences; even more exhibits were added. Cattle presentations, rope making demonstrations, butter making, wheat grinding and bread making were new highlights of Aggie Days. At this time, Aggie Days grew to occupy half of the Agriculture Barns and expanded into the Victoria Pavilion, which was used for the cow milking and sheep shearing demonstrations, and the noon hour entertainment.

Aggie Days 1993 - Holstein kid and calves (2)

Aggie Days dairy exhibit in the Agriculture Barns 1993

Continue reading

Harry the Horse turns 30!

Harry the Horse made his first public appearance on March 14, 1985 at Rodeo Royal, and he has been charming Stampede audiences ever since. During Stampede time, Harry makes about 100 appearances every day. He spends the rest of the year attending events all over Alberta and throughout the world.

Harry the Horse - March

Harry posing in a jet outside the Scotiabank Saddledome

Harry’s Predecessors: Jim Dandy and Nellie

The Stampede’s first mascots were Jim Dandy and Nellie, an old-timer riding his trusty mare with a bushy tail. One year, Jim and Nellie attended the President’s Ball of the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver. They gave the event some much-needed western spirit.

Unfortunately when Jim and Nellie turned to leave, Nellie’s bushy tail knocked right through a table, sending wine and more onto guests! Poor Jim and Nellie were put out to pasture shortly thereafter, and Harry the Horse was called to step in and take over.

harry 1

Jim Dandy and Nellie entertaining the crowd

Continue reading

Agriculture in the Classroom

We are excited to have a new guest post on our blog today, especially because Aggie Days is all about teaching school kids about agriculture. Allison Ammeter is a grain farmer and Director with Alberta Pulse Growers.  Alongside her husband of 28 years, Michael, Allison operates a third-generation grain farm southwest of Sylvan Lake, Alberta. The Ammeters crop approximately 2,000 acres in a rotation of canola, wheat, barley, and peas, with occasional oats or hay in the mix, practicing minimum tillage and using variable rate seeding technology. Based in agricultural zone 2/3, with grey wooded soil, the farm experiences an extremely short growing season every year by North American standards. You can follow Allison on Twitter.

I was asked to write a blog post for Aggie Days about Agriculture in the Classroom, and my first thought was that of course I’d like to promote Ag in the Classroom, it’s an amazing program, but these readers would know all about it, right?  I mean, these are people who organize another amazing program, Aggie Days. My second thought was that maybe people reading this blog would just like to know what is being taught their children in school. I’m writing this for that second group. I’m a farmer – 100% of my yearly income comes from growing crops, and I’ve lived on a farm all but about 5 years of my life (single female years). I absolutely love agriculture and Canada’s ability to feed not only so many Canadians, but also so much of the hungry world. When I realized there was an opportunity to tell my story to 10 year olds who likely knew very little about the agriculture around them, I jumped at it. That is how I got involved in Ag in the Classroom.

The Classroom Agriculture Program (CAP) was started by Vickie King, a member of the Alberta Women in Support of Agriculture, with funds from the Alberta Cattle Commission. I got involved in 1987, was set to teach in a local school, and was given curriculum that told all about raising cattle and all the various consumer products that eventually come from the animal. I couldn’t do it – I felt like as a grain farmer, I was really not speaking about anything I knew, so I backed out. Flash forward 25 years, and I find out that CAP is now supported by the Alberta Beef producers, but also the Barley Commission, Canola Producers Commission, Chicken Producers, Egg Producers, Pulse Growers Commission, Veterinary Assoc, Irrigation Assocs, Olds College, and Agrium. Farmers of all types are encouraged to speak to children about what they, as producers, know and understand. I’m back in!

Classroom Agriculture Program
CAP’s mission is to provide students with quality, comprehensive agriculture learning experiences that lead to a greater understanding and support for the agriculture industry in Alberta. It is presented to Grade 4 students across Alberta at no charge. Volunteers deliver the program story-telling, engaging props and fun activities, and leave behind fun student booklets for the children to learn more about each of the main agricultural products in Alberta.

When I go into a classroom, I am prepared to talk to the kids about crops in our area, because that is what I know. When a chicken farmer goes in – they talk about raising poultry. When a vet goes in, they talk about their work. That’s the beauty of the program, the children (and their teachers) learn about agriculture from people who are doing it and loving it. So, what do I do when I go in? I take shoe boxes full of samples of all the main crops grown in Alberta – wheat, barley, oats, canola, peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. As I’m passing them around, I ask the kids what they had for lunch, and point out what they ate that is made from what I grow (always enlightening for them). I give each of the kids a small handful of wheat for them to “make wheat gum, just like a farm kid”. I get one of them to grind wheat for me (with a portable hand grinder), to show them how flour is made. I roll out canola and show them the oil and the meal, explaining its use and purpose. I take hummus and show them the chickpeas it started as. I narrate a YouTube video from a friend’s farm of the growing season, answering questions as it plays.

Above all, I spend the hour interacting with the class (teacher included), answering any and all questions that are thrown at me.  My goal is to be a link between them and agriculture, and I always leave my contact information, telling them I’m available any time they have any questions or need any information. So much of Alberta’s population is no longer directly connected to our critical industry of agriculture, and I truly want to be a resource in my community for the teachers!

2015 Dairy Classic Championship Show

Last weekend, crowds gathered to the Calgary Stampede Agriculture Barns for the 2015 Dairy Classic Champion Show.

2015 Dairy Classic Show: Summer Yearlings.

2015 Dairy Classic Show: Summer Yearlings.

On Saturday, March 21, I attended the Dairy Classic to learn about what it takes to raise award-winning milk cows. Those in attendance saw dairy farmers reaping the rewards of decades of labour and generations worth of effort. The cows featured at the Dairy Classic have been selectively bred for milk production and type– the udders shown in the show are noticeably larger and the bodies are more streamlined than beef cattle you’re likely to see on your drives outside Calgary.

2015 Dairy Classic Show: Summer Yearlings.

2015 Dairy Classic Show: Summer Yearlings.

Continue reading

2015 Canvas Auction

There was a lot of excitement and great energy at the 2015 Canvas Auction last night. More than 160 organizations attended the auction in hopes of being one of the lucky few who will become part of Calgary Stampede history.

Jamie Laboucane, professional Chuckwagon driver.

Pictured: Jamie Laboucane, professional Chuckwagon driver.

The annual Canvas Auction is known as an exclusive Albertan experience—an opportunity for advertisers to become a part of one of Canada’s most iconic events, the GMC Rangeland Derby.

Since 1923, Chuckwagon racing has been a part of the Calgary Stampede’s DNA. The auction, an annual tradition since 1978, helps to sustain this unique western Canadian heritage sport. Today, the GMC Rangeland Derby is enjoyed by a live audience of more than 190,000 and broadcasted nationally.

The 2015 Canvas Auction stage is adorned with beautiful Chuckwagon bronzes of  Calgary Stampede past.

The 2015 Canvas Auction stage is adorned with beautiful Chuckwagon bronzes of Calgary Stampede past.

Continue reading

Stampede School students explore the meaning of truth and cowboy poetry

Stampede School is an exciting part of students’ school year; students come to Stampede Park and participate in many hands-on learning activities. Most recently, Stampede School was thrilled to host Roxane Oster’s fourth grade class from Brentwood school. Throughout the week, the students explored union cemetery, met and learned about horses, participated in a Treaty 7 cultural presentation, and met a very special guest lecturer. The special guest was Bryn Thiessen; together Thiessen and the class explored the concept of truth and cowboy poetry.

BT2
Bryn Thiessen

Theissen, a rancher and a preacher, finds inspiration for his poems all around his ranch near Sundre, Alberta. Known locally as a poet and historian, Thiessen began his teachings with questions of “what is truth?”

Through a collaborative discussion, Thiessen and the grade four students decided that the truth is the same for all times, places and people; it never changes. Next, was the term wise counsel, which is advise given from a person who is widely trusted and known for having great knowledge. Wise counsel is not the same everywhere, so cannot be true at all times. Finally, there is personal preference; this isn’t considered wide truth, but is true to individual perspective.

Bryn ThiessenStudents participating in Thiessen’s lesson

Continue reading

Around the World in five Days

Well, these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for the trio! We have been travelling fools lately, both literally and metaphorically speaking. We have recently returned from Berlin, Germany where we attended the ITB travel show.

KS1

Kimberly Stewart, Mick Plemel and Haley Peckham with representatives from around the world

ITB Berlin is the largest travel trade show in the world. This show hosts booths from every country in the world, with representatives present to answer consumers questions about destinations and also to meet with other travel agents to set up travel alliances. There were 26 exhibit halls in total and each hall held anywhere from two to around 10 countries in each room. When we were able to walk around, we caught a glimpse of every country in the world; it was a very cool experience.

KS2

The Stampede Queen and Princesses at the trade show

Continue reading

The Showband Announces its 2015 Production: The Edge

With a successful winter performance season winding down, the Calgary Stampede Showband is excited to announce its 2015 production titled, “The Edge”. For those who aren’t familiar with the marching arts, these productions are typically 10-12 minutes and tell a story through music, movement, and theatre – very different than what you typically see from marching bands in parades. These productions are part of how the Showband provides outstanding performance and educational opportunities for its members, which include brass and woodwinds players, percussionists, a colour guard, and dancers. Last year, the Showband won its fifth world championship in Brazil with its 2014 field show, “Aurora”.

The Showband performing "Aurora" during Showbands Live! at Hellard Field.

The Showband performing “Aurora” during Showbands Live! at Hellard Field.

Inspired by popular children’s literature, “The Edge” will depict the journey from reality to imagination. As a young girl travels down a city sidewalk, her mind wanders as she plays at the edge. Like any young child, she plays with objects in reality and builds a whole new world in her imagination; she’ll leave dreary city streets and be transported to a world filled with adventure, joy, and hope. The edge of the sidewalk represents that journey of the mind, that moment or place where we drift away into that world of imagination.

The Showband’s visual coordinator Jacqueline Meyler, who has previously worked with Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps from Atlanta, Georgia, and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, says it will be a very visually-driven production. As explained by Jacqueline, “the marching members are learning to remove themselves from their comfort zone, and will be learning creative choreography that will help depict the storyline. The idea is that the ensemble removes itself from ‘the status quo’ completely and transforms into a world of imagination”.

Music for the field show, arranged by Michael Klesch, will include “Frozen Cathedral” and “Xerxes” by John Mackey and “Plastic Satin” by Ryan George. Assistant Director Ryan Hancock reveals that “Xerxes” will represent one of the darkest moments of the show and that the band finally embraces hope and imagination during “Frozen Cathedral”.

The Showband won a world championship title with its 2012 production, "The Legend Continues".

The Showband won its 3rd world championship title with its 2012 production, “The Legend Continues”.

Continue reading

Stampede Queen’s top three memories of 2015 so far

Well hello again! I hope the winter hasn’t been too rough on you and that you are looking forward to the spring and upcoming rodeo season as much as I am!

These past few months have been packed full of fun adventures and it is hard to believe that the Princesses and I are almost at the halfway point in our reign. There are already countless stories that I could tell you about what has happened, but I will narrow it down to the top three.

The first very memorable incident took place a few months ago while I was on a family trip in Mexico. We all went out for dinner one evening to a small restaurant that had a picturesque patio overlooking the beach. I am sure you can imagine my surprise when I noticed three Calgary Stampede posters hanging on the wall, so out of curiosity I had to ask the waiter (who was also the restaurant owner) if he was a fan of the Calgary Stampede. He replied that yes, he was a big fan and that one day he and his wife would love to make the trip to Calgary to go to the Stampede. Well, he was just as surprised to find out that I was the 2015 Stampede Queen as I was to see the CS posters hanging in his restaurant. So naturally, we needed to have our picture taken together. I think this moment stuck with me the most because I have always known of the international fame of the Calgary Stampede, but had never directly experienced it until one evening on a family trip.

MP5

Mick Plemel with restaurant owner and waiter in Mexico

Continue reading