October is Disability Employment Awareness month

Disability Employment Awareness month (DEAM) was established to spotlight the positive outcomes of hiring persons with disabilities in Canada.

complete mural

Pictured: In A DEAM World

Five employees from the Calgary Stampede Food & Beverage team helped to bring attention to this great cause on Monday, October 26, 2015. Twelve local organizations were invited to join Mike Montgomery, from the Prospect House placement agency, as well as representatives from Studio C, to help create an inspiring 15 foot by five foot canvas mural, entitled In A DEAM World. Continue reading

Win a Special Date Night!

kevin hart pic

We’re thrilled to be giving away 2 tickets to the Kevin Hart “What Now Tour” show at the Saddledome coming up on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 7:00PM, as well as a $75.00 gift certificate to Melrose Café & Bar.  Everything you need for a perfect night out!

All you have to do is tweet something that really made you laugh to @cs_ngc and you’re entered to win.

The contest commences at 5:00PM (MDT) on October 27, 2015 and concludes at 11:59PM (MDT) on November 8, 2015.  You can find the official rules here:  Stampede Date Night Contest Rules.

Good luck!  We can’t wait to hear what makes you laugh!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter so that we can message you if you win, and keep an eye on our account all year round for fun contests and other Calgary Stampede information.

*Please note that due to the 10:00PM show being cancelled, the contest winner will now receive tickets to the 7:00PM show. Our apologies for any inconvenience. 

Curious about Cow Sense? Come see what it’s all about at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler

A natural partnership. Instinct in action. There are many ways to describe what you will see at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler. Each horse and rider is faced with a herd of cattle and two and a half minutes on the clock. Working together they must select, or cut, a single cow from of the herd. It’s then up to the horse to use its instincts, also known as cow sense, to keep it from returning to the herd.

Pictured: Dustin Gonnet riding This Cats Max in 2014

For those unfamiliar with the sport, local horse trainer Doug Reinhardt uses hockey as an analogy. He says watching a horse develop the cow sense needed for cutting, and then move through the different classes, is like watching a rookie work his way up through the ranks to the NHL. And the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity is the Stanley Cup of cutting.

“You want to peak the horses for Calgary, you’ve got to peak them at the right time. You want to keep building and then go show them in Calgary.” Reinhardt says. It’s something the Irricana-based trainer knows well, with a string of successes at Stampede Park. But he knows a trainer and rider can only do so much, and the rest is up to the horse. “It’s the most natural of all the horse events, and once you put your hand down if the horse doesn’t want to cut he’s not going to cut. It’s a partnership.”

Pictured: Doug Reinhardt riding Light Up Pepto in 2014

Pictured: Doug Reinhardt riding Light Up Pepto in 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler, takes place in the Agrium Western Event Centre October 14-18. More than 240 of the best cutting horses in North America will be competing in seven classes for more than $375,000 in prize money. Admission is complimentary throughout the weekend, with the public invited to come see what cutting is all about.

The highlight of the exciting, family friendly event is the Saturday night Cut of the West, featuring live music from Canadian country music artist Drew Gregory, a western marketplace, and silent auction. There will also be a new event this year, a celebrity cutting competition. Olympian Mellissa Hollingsworth, bareback rider Jake Vold, news anchor Amber Schinkel and professional rodeo clown Dennis Halstead will battle for celebrity supremacy. The Saturday Night Cut of the West kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on October 17, and will be action packed!

A lot of work is still going on behind the scenes to get ready for the start of the competition on October 14, led by Western Performance Horse Committee Chair, Angela Pipe. “We have so many volunteers working on this that are dedicated and passionate about both the Stampede and the sport of Cutting and they bring with them such a wealth of knowledge and experience in all the facets that make this event such a tremendous success” says Pipe, adding “It’s exciting to see all the things that we have been planning for months come to fruition. The cherry on top of everything is having the opportunity to showcase the best of the best in the Agrium Western Event Centre.”

Doug Reinhardt is also hoping to see all of his hard work come to fruition, in the form of success for the horses he’s been training, saying “When you’ve spent all that time with the horse, and you’ve had a really nice run, that’s an accomplishment.”

Fall reflections

Because the run up to and the 10 days (actually now more like two weeks) of Stampede are so busy it is no real surprise that August is a relatively quiet month around Stampede Park as many of our employees and volunteers take holiday time. One of the biggest stories of the summer was the Calgary Flames’ announcement of their proposed Calgary Next project in West Village. I think it is clear that the public consultation process for this project will be measured in years and not weeks or months and even if the project goes ahead the Flames are likely to be playing in the Saddledome for the next five years and possibly longer so we look forward to working with the Flames for at least that period.

Once September started, it was clear that everyone involved with the Stampede was back and working hard.  Lots has happened already this fall, including the following:

 

1. I attended the crowning ceremony for our new Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses on September 28 in the Agrium Western Event Centre.  It was a great event and congratulations to our new Royal Trio, Calgary Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt and Calgary Stampede Princesses Chelsey Jacobson and Bailee Billington. I want to commend the outgoing Royal Trio, Mick, Kimberly and Haley, for being such great ambassadors for the Stampede and a fun bunch to work with.

206 Calgary Stampede Queen, Maggie Shorrt (middle), and Princesses, Chelsey Jacobson (left) and Bailee Billington (right) immediately following the crowning ceremony.

2016 Calgary Stampede Queen, Maggie Shorrt (middle), and Princesses, Chelsey Jacobson (left) and Bailee Billington (right) immediately following the crowning ceremony in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

 

2. I also had the pleasure of attending the Indian Princess crowning ceremony on Sunday, October 4.  It was an excellent and well-attended event and it was great to see five talented ladies vying for the position.  Congratulations to Vanessa Stiffarm who I know will be a great addition to our Royalty and a terrific representative of Indian Village.

2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Vanessa Stiffarm receiving her crown.

2016 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Vanessa Stiffarm receiving her crown.

 

3. On Monday, October 5 I was proud to unveil the original artwork for the 2016 Stampede Poster at an event at the Calgary Public Library.  The painting is titled “Born to Buck” and it represents and honours a stock breeding program carried on under the same name at the Stampede Ranch in Hanna, Alberta, as well as our successful rodeo stock contracting business, which services rodeos all across North America.  The artist, Michelle Grant, did a fantastic job of capturing the concept and she created a beautiful piece of art by any standard and the painting translates into an excellent poster.

Bill Gray, president and chairman on the board, artist Michelle Grant and the Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses with the 2016 Calgary Stampede poster artwork. Visit a Calgary Public Library between October 6 and 11 to take a selfie with the 2016 Calgary Stampede poster and you could be entered to win a pair of tickets to the Rodeo or Evening Show and #Stampede2016. Visit www.calgarystampede.com/win2016poster for more details.

Artist Michelle Grant, the Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses and me with the 2016 Calgary Stampede poster artwork. Visit a Calgary Public Library between October 6 and 11, 2015 to take a selfie with the 2016 Calgary Stampede poster and you could be entered to win a pair of tickets to the Rodeo or Evening Show and #Stampede2016. Visit www.calgarystampede.com/win2016poster for more details.

 

4. On a serious note, there is no question that many businesses and individuals in Calgary are facing tough economic times, as evidenced by the now almost daily announcements of job cuts.  Certainly the Stampede is not immune to the economic climate and you may be aware that we are revising our volunteer committee budgeting process accordingly. For the first time that I am aware of, a member of our Audit and Finance Committee Budget Group will be meeting directly with the Committee Chairs and staff liaisons to discuss and review the Committee budgets prior to their finalization.  The goal is to hopefully find some opportunities for savings but most importantly we wanted to involve the Committee Chairs in the decision-making process as I believe the Committees themselves know how their programs work and they are the best equipped to determine where cuts might be made and where they should not be made. I hope all the Committee Chairs will take the opportunity to provide their valuable input into this process.

Bill