With only a few days until the start of Stampede, Executive Chef Dale is probably everywhere  on the grounds but on Monday he dropped by Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre to  check out our new digs in the BMO Marketplace, Hall A. Chef Dale is doing two special event cooking shows for Kitchen Theatre during Stampede. Derek and Suzanne

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Here comes Stampede 2015

It’s the end of June and Stampede is around the corner!  Besides the calendar here are five other reasons why it’s easy for me to feel Stampede is in the air:

1. CS Headquarters has been buzzing the last 10-days. Whether it’s our hard-working volunteers having one last committee meeting, the employees running to and fro finalizing last minute details, the phones ringing off the hook constantly and best of all, a constant hum around the ticketing office, HQ is an incredibly busy place these days.

2. Whether you are reading a newspaper, listening to the radio, watching TV or participating through social media, Stampede is being talked about everywhere. Our marketing people are doing a great job.

3. Setup on park is, if anything, ahead of schedule. Check out these photos I took yesterday on a quick tour around the park:

Pictured: The Great FUNtier set up four days before The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth

Park 2

Pictured: Midway set up four days before Stampede time

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Sharing the local love

We’ve seen some really good online discussion on local products at the Calgary Stampede, and wanted to provide some context about the nature of local at the annual Stampede and some of the local initiatives we have running year round…

With our origins as a fair, festival and exhibition it’s always been a mix of showcasing our community to the world by highlighting local talent, businesses, farmers, producers, artists and artisans and bringing entertainment, products and services from outside of Calgary to our community.

We’re thrilled that the Stampede is more than just what happens at Stampede Park. It’s the Amber Approved breakfast at Hotel Arts, it’s the Citadel community barbecue, and it’s the Calgary Ismaili community’s sunset breakfast. Stampede is the sum of all the different celebrations, barbecues, concerts, customs, pancake breakfasts and community connections that make Calgary extra awesome in July.

Back at Stampede Park, when we organize the annual Stampede we are always balancing things: old and new, tradition and modern, local and global.

Pictured: downtown Calgary

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25 Years of Preserving Agricultural Heritage

For 25 years the Calgary Stampede Farm Equipment committee has been preserving our agricultural heritage for young and old by bringing vintage tractors and equipment back to life and showcasing them to the public during Stampede.

The 25th annual Vintage Tractor Pull, presented by Cervus Equipment, takes place on Sunday, July 5 at 7 p.m. and Monday, July 6 at 5:30 p.m. The event is organized by the Calgary Stampede Farm Equipment committee.

Don Ellingson quote

The 25th anniversary of the Vintage Tractor Pull will feature 25 competitors from across Alberta with each one hoping to claim first in their class. There are six different weight classes – featherweight followed by Class #1 through #5, beginning at 1,000 lbs up to 9,999 lbs. The winner of each class is determined based on the highest aggregate pull over the two days.

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Calgary top chefs prepare for their Stampede duel

The Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre Dueling Chefs are back!  Sharpening their knives are Rogelio Herrera, Owner and Corporate Chef Alloy Restaurant and Candela Lounge, Ceci Gutierrez, Chef de Cuisine, Pasta at Centini Restaurant & Lounge, Kelly Palmer, Executive Chef, Vintage Chophouse and Tavern, and Pierre Lamielle, Illustrator and Chef. It’s fun, it’s inspirational and you will be amazed at what these local chefs can create when the heat’s on.  Don’t miss it!


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

Quarter horsing around at Horse Haven

The Calgary Stampede is proud to once again partner with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)! The AQHA has impacted the lives of horsemen and women around the world–ensuring the unique qualities of this breed does not parish. The AQHA strives to provide beneficial services to both their members and their American Quarter horses.

If you’ve been to Stampede Park during Stampede time, you may have seen the AQHA booth in Horse Haven in the Agricultural Barns!

Pictured: Working Cow Horse Classic Open Bridle Champion 2014– Maximum Echo, ridden by John Swales, owned by Flo Houlton

Pictured: Working Cow Horse Classic Open Bridle Champion 2014– Maximum Echo, ridden by John Swales, owned by Flo Houlton

AQHA members are passionate about the care of the American Quarter Horse and the vast lifestyle created by the world’s most popular horse. The Stampede shares this passion for horses by presenting exceptional equine experiences year-round and during the Greatest Outdoor Show in July.

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Stampede School, what’s that?

Stampede School coordinator Bev Copithorne joined the Calgary Stampede last year to lead our Stampede School program. As the school year comes to a close, Copithorne reflects on her thoughts of her first year:

I came on board with the Stampede right after Stampede time last year. With a background in both teaching and agriculture, Stampede School was truly a great fit for me. Being able to combine two things that I am passionate about really is amazing, I have the best job on Stampede Park! I am frequently seen with my posse of students, teachers and volunteers, traipsing through Stampede Park, as we uncover school curriculum in a hands-on experiential way.


Bev Copithorne, Stampede School Coordinator, with Stampede School participant at the Calgary Hitmen education night

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Introducing the brand new Blacksmith Showcase and Classic

Guests at this year’s Stampede can take part in Blacksmith events all 10 days with the new Blacksmith Showcase and Classic. Here’s a premiere of what’s in store for you when you visit the blacksmith programs.

During the three-day Blacksmith Classic competition and daily demonstrations at the Blacksmith Showcase, the blacksmiths will create many types of shoes for our equine friends. Each shoe is different and tailored specifically for the type of horse and what the horse will be used for.

Each horseshoe is designed specifically for the type of horse it will fit

  • Light draft horse/beveled cob shoe: These shoes are designed to support smaller, “lighter”, draft horses in their tasks. Light draft horses are generally used to pull carriages of people or small wagons.
  • Draft horse shoes: These shoes are sturdy and heavy, made to fit the largest breeds of horses, such as Percheron and Belgian. The main job of draft horses is to pull large wagons. Originally, draft horses were often used to pull the materials needed to build roads and buildings and they still do so on ranches and farms today.
  • Saddle horse shoes:  These shoes are designed for “saddle horses” whose main role is to carry people on their backs. These horses are usually not as heavy as the light draft horses and the draft horses, so their shoes’ materials are reflected accordingly.
  • Pony shoes: These shoes are the smallest, meant to fit ponies. Ponies are often associated with pulling children in wagons or carrying children on their backs.

Part of the competition is to “shoe the horse” after the shoe is made

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Free attractions included with your Stampede Park admission

There are many world-renowned performances, events and attractions that are all included with your Stampede Park admission! Be sure to take advantage of these exceptional experiences for an action-packed, fun-filled day at Stampede Park.

ENMAX Corral Show PRESENTS Cirque Éloize iD: Stampede Edition – Cirque Éloize is one of today’s leaders in contemporary circus arts.This world-renowned troupe, from Montreal, Québec, will present an original Stampede edition of its critically acclaimed touring production iD. Combining circus acts, urban dance and technology, this captivating show features breakdancing, acrobats, contortionists, juggling and a trampoline wall.

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New display at the Calgary Public Library examines Calgary & Stampede History


Come visit the Central Branch of the Calgary Public Library between June 15 and July 23 to meander through the Stampede’s past and present. Learn about the origins of the White Hat (hint: it has to do with Calgarians taking over Toronto during a Grey Cup game), arts and culture (did you know that the Calgary Stampede Showband holds five world championship titles?), sports at Stampede Park (the Big Four once held the world record for the number of curling rinks under one roof) and more.

There is also a showcase of items from the Calgary Stampede Archives. These include nosebands from past rodeo horses Glazed Honey, Tuffy, Deliverance and Zone Along. Glazed Honey was born in 1975 on the Stampede Ranch and bucked between 1988 and 1996 as a Saddle Bronc. Zone Along won many awards. In 1973 he was voted Champion Saddle Bronc for Canada as well as best Saddle Bronc of the Calgary Stampede. Eleven years later, he was the champion Saddle Bronc horse at the National Finals Rodeo.


Zone Along with rider John Picray

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The endless topic of food

Chef Darren Nixon has been a regular on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage and this year he will be back presenting for Grainworks, a family-owned farming operation which grows, mills and distributes certified organic, non-GMO grains and legumes near Vulcan, AB. As the former chef/owner of the aptly named Divine Restaurant in Okotoks, AB, Darren knows the importance of great and wholesome food.

Come by and see Darren on the Kitchen Theatre stage Friday, July 3 at 7PM and Saturday, July 4th at 1PM.

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.


Darren Nixon: My day starts early. At 5 am. I manage the seafood and gourmet department in a local grocery store. My day is filled with good production and talking with customers about food ideas and general foodie conversation. When it comes to food I have a gift for gab. In the evenings I teach in home cooking classes for 6 – 12 people. This allows me to continue to research and develop good ideas and feed my passion. Previously the chef/ owner of Divine restaurant in Okotoks, AB.

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2015 Aboriginal Awareness Family Day Festival and Pow Wow Competition


The 2015 National Aboriginal Week festivities included an exciting full day of cultural exchange on Stampede Park. On Saturday, June 20, Indian Village hosted a family day Pow Wow. For First Nations peoples, the Pow Wow is a chance to connect with family and old friends, in addition to making new friends.


The day began with a free pancake breakfast, followed by the grand entry and opening remarks, a pow wow, Métis jigging and hoop dancing. Former Grand National Chief Phil Fontaine, and the comedian Don Burnstick also spoke to the crowds. 


Pictured: a buffalo float contribution to the 2015 Parade. The first Stampede Parade took place on September 2, 1912. It was lead by 1,800 Treaty 7 First Nations people in full regalia. Today, it’s one of the largest parades in North America, second only to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.





Pictured: Indian Princesses-in-training practicing their fancy dance moves.

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Etsy Debuts at Stampede Market

The newly designed Stampede Market is your shopping and entertainment destination.  This year, for the first time, we are excited to welcome Etsy to the halls of the BMO Centre. A Market within the Market, Etsy will provide an exclusive niche for individuals seeking all things handcrafted, locally made, and one-of-a-kind.

Etsy, the online marketplace for all things handmade and vintage, has served as a pioneer in its unique capacity to connect buyers and sellers across the world. Founded in 2005, Etsy has grown exponentially in the past ten years, now with over 32 million items for sale worldwide. Truly embracing the meaning of global community, Etsy allows full-time artisans and weekend hobbyists alike to pursue their respective crafts, and make their creations available on a global scale.

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Queen Mick’s June Update

Hello again! Are you ready for the 2015 Calgary Stampede? The Princesses and I have been gearing up and anxiously counting down the days until July 3rd when the big Show is set to begin! Mind you, it feels like the days have been flying by, so the counting hasn’t been hard. I have noticed that the City of Calgary has started to buzz with Stampede Spirit, as all sorts of pancake breakfast have already taken place and many more are to come! You might also notice window murals painted in a decidedly western fashion on the store fronts of many businesses, as well as a few more folks in cowboy hats in and around town. This really is a great time of year in our city and I have heard more than one person mention that “Calgary feels more like a small town rather than a big city during Stampede”. If you’re not from Calgary, I really hope that you will come visit us during July and experience the Stampede Spirit for yourself! Just this past weekend we were invited out to the Village of Beiseker (which is approx 1 hour North East of Calgary) to participate in the 97th Beiseker Lions County Fair. We had a great time riding in the parade and awarding ribbons at the 4H sale. The townspeople were all so friendly, welcoming, and hospitable! All of us were so grateful to be treated so kindly, and it really was a privilege for us to share in the Village’s celebrations. 019


At the Beiseker Parade.

We also had the opportunity to stop in at a Calgary Stampede Showrider’s practice and meet this year’s team. All the young ladies riding this year are very talented and enthusiastic. I have no doubt that they will do an outstanding job during Stampede, and I am looking forward to seeing them perform! The Princesses and I gave the team a brief presentation on the Calgary Stampede Royalty Program, as the applications for next year’s contest are already open! Our program truly is a fantastic opportunity for young women. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the opportunities this program offers are second to none. The amount of support and diverse training the Trio receives during their reign is a uniquely empowering experience that will serve as a solid foundation for achieving future goals. If you are (or know a young lady who might be) interested in entering the competition to be a member of the Royal Trio, I really encourage you to do so! It is an experience like no other!


2016 Contest Poster.

With that, I will say so long for now! Hopefully I will see you at the 2015 Calgary Stampede! Love, Queen Mick