3 new unexpected adventures on Stampede Park

Looking for something new to do on Stampede Park this year? How about escaping from jail? Or taking a nap?! Or starring in your very own animated GIF?

1. Locked Room – Wild West Jail Escape


You’ve been framed for a robbery and locked up in an ol’ western jail! You have 10 minutes to figure out what was stolen, who framed you, where the real criminals are hiding and find the dynamite that will blast you out of the sheriff’s office.


The Locked Room team repurposed an oil field trailer to look and feel just like an old western jail wagon, with barnboard paneling and jail bars. If 10 minutes sounds quick to solve all that, don’t worry. Clues will guide you along as you progress through the game.

2. Take a nap in the Casper NapmobileNaptour_Vehicle_1

You’ve walked 10 km. You’ve watched the Rodeo. You may have eaten some mini donuts. And all you want to do is get a quick nap in before you two step on the Nashville North dance floor.

This year, your wish has come true. One our sponsors, Casper—maker of mattresses, sheets and pillows designed for the best sleep ever—is bringing their Napmobile where you can hunker down for a snooze when you need it. And just to be clear, it’s one person per bed, folks.


Stop by the Napmobile (across from Nashville North beside the GMC activation) to sign up for your 15 minute nap (but if there’s not a line, you might get to sleep a little longer). Napmobile will be with us from July 7 to 10.


The National Film Board (NFB) is bringing their GIFnTAKE booth where you can put yourself inside an animated sequence from a NFB film. The final product is yours to send through your social media channels.


Check out the GIFnTAKE booth in the Western Oasis. It will be just beside the Sales Desk. And it’s totally free.

Come see what the buzz is all about: Live honeybees on display at Stampede

While Stampede is always buzzing with activity, this year a new kind of buzz will be heard thanks to some small but feisty honeybees.

The Calgary and District Beekeepers Association will be bringing their engaging and interactive bee display to the Calgary Stampede for the first time.

Liz Goldie, one of approximately 40 volunteers from the association, said they’ve participated in the annual Calgary Stampede Aggie Days event held in April for about 10 years and thought it was time they also bring their exciting and educational display to Stampede.

“We are excited by the opportunity to educate people about bees and beekeeping,” says Goldie, noting that hobby beekeeping is becoming popular in Canada and it’s important that people understand the role of bees in the ecosystem.

Bee display at the recent Aggie Days event.

Bee display at this year’s Aggie Days event.

Goldie says Stampede goers will learn the difference between bees and wasps, as well as ways to help bees flourish.

The bee display will feature an observation hive that includes worker bees, drone bees and a queen bee. The display will also include products of the hive such as beeswax candles, mead and honey.

Photo courtesy Stephen Bennett.

Photo courtesy Stephen Bennett.

The beekeepers association will also educate Stampede goers on the importance of beekeeping to the province of Alberta. Goldie says beekeeping is connected to much of Alberta agriculture through pollination, and Alberta produces more honey than any other province in Canada.

Photo courtesy Cherie Andrews.

Photo courtesy Cherie Andrews.

The honeybees will join their other Country Critter friends in the Agriculture barn. You can find them between the pigeons and the chickens. In this area you’ll also find the mini donkeys, dairy cows, ducks, goats, alpaca and lama, along with Bluebell the dairy cow, the hay toss and grain play box. Be sure to stop by and say hi to all the critters.

There’s lots to see and do in Agrium Ag-tivity, which takes place in the Agrium Western Event Centre and the Agriculture barn. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

And don’t forget to take in the daily agriculture demos, taking place every half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the outdoor stage in front of the Agriculture barn. It’s free fun for the entire family!

For more information on the Calgary and District Beekeepers Association visit www.calgarybeekeepers.com

What’s your Stampede style?

With Stampede just around the corner, we wanted to ask Calgary: What’s your Stampede style? There are so many ways to do western wear. Here are some of our favourites through the years. Don’t forget to top up your cowboy wardrobe at at Lammle’s Western Wear! Tag your photos of Stampede fashion #mystampedestyle #mywesternwear.

The Classic

Jeans, cowboy boots, belt buckle, button up shirt and hat. This is what the pros wear.

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn / Calgary Stampede

Sundresses with hat and boots

Perfect for ladies on a sunny summer day. Often worn with a jean jacket.


Matching and adorable


Matching Kids

The Hipster

Embracing classic western with a modern twist. Preferably worn with an ironic mustache.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede

Clothes with horses

Like this shirt. Solid.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede


Stampede Royalty lead the way in western fashion, and here they are wearing fringe with style. Also, 2014 Indian Princess Carly Weasel Child’s skirt: beautiful.


Double denim, a.k.a. the Canadian Tuxedo

You may not be able to get away with it for the rest of the year, but during Stampede double denim is a rite of passage. Embrace it. Like Bobby Wills.

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede


Who wouldn’t want to wear leather chaps over their jeans when it’s 31 degrees outside? A bold, iconic look.

Calgary Stampede, Friday, July 11, 2014 Photo by Mike Ridewood

T-Shirt and jeans

A more casual take on the classic. Here, Aaron Pritchett shows us you can add your boots and hat to any outfit and you are Stampede ready!

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede

Suspenders and/or Sheriff badge

2014 Parade Marshal William Shatner rocks the leather suspenders and his sheriff badge with confidence.

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin / Calgary Stampede


The bandana looks good and is great to have on hand when you’re getting a little sweaty from walking around on Stampede Park. Win. Win.


Bolo tie

The bolo tie is authentic western and not just for gents—try it, ladies! Harder to see but also note this gentleman’s amazing leather beaded jacket (and sheriff’s badge!).


Check out the Vintage Tractor Pull at this year’s Stampede!

Watch for the vintage tractors in the Stampede Parade on Friday, July 8. The good ol’ days will be brought back to life by past Stampede Vintage Tractor Show and Shine Champions Jeremy Moore, Neil Bertsch and Ken Wood!

For 26 years and running the Calgary Stampede Farm Equipment committee has been showcasing our agricultural heritage by curating a selection of restored vintage tractors and equipment from across Alberta and beyond.

Vintage tractor

The 26th annual Vintage Tractor Pull, once again presented by Cervus Equipment, takes place on Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. and Monday, July 11 at 5:30 p.m. These family- friendly events are free to attend and a must see at the Calgary Stampede. Enter the doors of the Scotiabank Saddledome and instantly be transported back in time to see a piece of agricultural history at work!

The Vintage Tractor Pull will feature 31 competitors, including past champions Ed Penner, Allen Hazenberg, Ken Wood, Jeremy Moore and Randy Niemans. Each competitor’s tractor is weighed and placed into one of six different weight classes – featherweight, followed by Class #1 through Class #5, beginning at 1,000 lbs up to 9,999 lbs. The longest total distance on two pulls determines the winner of each class.

As an added bonus between the 3rd and 4th Class, sit back and take in the Metal vs. Muscle showcase where vintage tractors will square off against a team of powerful Percheron heavy horses – this is the original horsepower vs. mechanical horsepower at its finest.

Vintage tractor_2

Also on Park, the Tractor Show & Shine runs Sunday, July 10 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, July 11 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Country Trails between the Agriculture building and the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Vote for your favourite tractor on Twitter using the hashtag #vtpeopleschoice or this year vote by paper ballot!  The tractor that receives the most votes will win the People’s Choice award, which will be presented during the awards ceremony at the Monday, July 11 5:30 p.m. Vintage Tractor Pull in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Don’t miss the Vintage Tractor Pull and Vintage Tractor Show & Shine at the 2016 Calgary Stampede. For reminders closer to the date, follow @stampedeag on Twitter, @stampede_ag on Instagram and like the Calgary Stampede Agriculture on Facebook.

What does the Stampede mean to us as Calgarians? Author Aritha van Herk explores this question and more in her new book

 With the title of the book, Stampede and the Westness of West, I was trying to say that you can’t totalize the west or the westness of the Stampede celebration. This spirit is what this community is about, an essence that’s hard to define, almost impossible to capture, but we live it every day.

Aritha van Herk is a novelist, essayist, cultural commentator, editor and professor. She was the Stampede Artist in Residence in 2012, when Calgary was the Cultural Capital of Canada. The resulting book, Stampede and the Westness of the West, has just been published. Join Aritha this Sunday, June 26 at 10 a.m. at Rotary House on Stampede Park for a book reading and signing–and free pancakes for the first 80 people!


Calgary Stampede (CS): Do you remember your first Stampede? How old were you? What do you remember?

Aritha van Herk (AVH): I was not a child – I did not grow up in Calgary. I moved here in my twenties. So my first Stampede was around 1986. Before that, I didn’t realize the extent to which it takes over the city—that neighbourhoods all have their own celebrations and pancake breakfasts. Once I realized that, I thought, This is exciting. I had never lived in a city where this happens – I’ve lived in Edmonton, Vancouver, different places outside North America, but I had never seen a city embrace an event like Calgary does.

Then, the University, around 2005, offered a course on the Stampede. They knew I was interested in the Chuckwagon races, so they asked me to teach the Chuckwagon module. It was total immersion. That was when I began to really understand the Stampede as event. There’s a whole history, rules, culture behind not just the Chuckwagon races, but the Stampede itself.

van Herk, dreaming of driving

Aritha van Herk tests out a chuckwagon driver’s seat

CS: Tell us more about what you mean by you ‘really began to understand.’

AVH: Well, I was finding out the story behind the story. When I’m in meetings with people across Canada, everyone knows us as the Stampede city, while here in Calgary, some people wish we weren’t defined by the Stampede brand. But other towns say, with serious envy, “We would give our right arm for that indelible brand.” It is so compelling. So long lasting.

I don’t think Calgarians appreciate that Stampede has given us a flavour and a flair, and that it integrates our powerful history of ranching, animals, agriculture and indigenous culture, as well as our contemporary spirit of volunteerism and can-do-ism. All of those elements shape the character of Calgary—and Stampede gathers together those different facets of our character.

CS: What did you do as the artist in residence for the Stampede?

AVH: I would go down to Stampede Park every day. I would go to community parties and Stampede breakfasts, walk around with a notebook and my iPhone, which became my notebook when my notebook got full, which it did. I would inhale the flavour, pay attention, look behind the bleachers and behind closed doors. As a writer, you don’t write immediately. You soak up details. You go home and think about what you’ve observed. Then you start writing. And it takes a long time to write a book.

Writer in Residence

Aritha van Herk during her time as Artist in Residence

For me, that experience, those 10 days when we were the Cultural Capital of Canada, were an amazing source of ideas. I let myself be the observer, in the corner in every part of Stampede, everywhere in the city. Then I went back and did the historical research, spent time in Glenbow, read all the books, dug around in various other historical elements.

For example, I got so excited about the origin of pancakes and their appearance in literature and history. They are this completely portable food that can be cooked on the back of a chuckwagon, on a tailgate. Flour, egg, water, off you go.

Another example is that people think that Chuckwagon races are an invention, but they don’t realize that the races are a contemporary version of Roman chariot races, which go back thousands of years. It’s a human ritual that we have been engaging in for centuries. So I think we need to understand that our rituals adapt a long history. In that context, Stampede is not a one off carnival that happens every year – it’s an encapsulation of what humans have done for centuries. And in a strange way, it distills how we try to understand our connection to the land, our place within it, our connection to the sky, the weather, and all the other generous and renegade parts of our city.

CS: What surprised you the most?

AVH: There were so many moments that were just amazing. Sitting up in the box at the beginning of the chucks during the first call. You realize what a complex organization the whole production is – when the helicopter comes in with the flag, everything timed to the second. Often guests just don’t get it; they think it’s total chaos down in the infield, but it’s not – all the events are timed to the second, planned perfectly.

Another surprise, I loved the World Stock Dog competition. I could sit there every morning and watch Stock Dogs herding sheep. It’s the most peaceful and gentle competition. And once you get into Stampede Park, it’s free.

I knew that entrance gives attendees all kinds of events to take in, but during my time there I was reminded that Calgary works on a remarkable gift economy. Like the pancake breakfasts – I remember being down on Stephen Avenue – tourists looking at me asking “Do they do this every day?” Their mouths were literally agape. We don’t realize how blessed this city is by generosity, and how much volunteerism and generosity are parts of the Stampede.

CS: Tell us about the phrase “The Westness of West.”

AVH: With the title of the book, Stampede and the Westness of West, I was trying to say that you can’t totalize the west or the westness of the Stampede celebration. This spirit is what this community is about, an essence that’s hard to define, almost impossible to capture, but we live it every day. And Stampede is where it hits its peak, at least in a performative sense. Those 10 days distill who we are, even if we refuse to participate. Like Nenshi on a horse, we all change into a different character.

CS: Anything else you want to tell us about the book?

AVH: The book is an exploration. It’s not a critique, nor is it total praise. It’s not an advertisement. It’s an exploration of what the Stampede means to us. And that’s the way it should be read.

An inside look at the 2016 Calgary Stampede Lotteries prizes

Early Wednesday morning, the Calgary Stampede and Calgary Stampede Lotteries committee shared the 2016 Dream Home by Homes By Avi, as well as all the amazing packages that can be won. With more than $1.4 Million in prizes, it was a great turnout, highlighted by one of the first Stampede pancake breakfasts of the year!


At 1,883 sq. ft., the 2016 Dream Home is the most valuable ever at $924,975 and will be moved to the NW neighborhood of Harmony once Stampede ends. Harmony, a new community with a lake and Phil-Mickelson-designed golf course, might be one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the city. Featuring a light and airy colour palette, an open eating and kitchen area, and 150 sq. ft. private outdoor deck, the Dream Home will be open for viewers during Stampede.



The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sat at the entrance to the event and had everyone’s attention. Valued at $71,856, the Corvette has a seven speed manual transmission, direct gasoline injection and 455 horsepower.


Not only can you win a 2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab SLT, but it’s paired with two Kawasaki off road motorcycles, a Polaris Quad Ranger and trailer to carry around your new haul. The Truck and Toys, valued at more than $80,000, will be the ultimate addition to a lucky winner’s lifestyle.



If you’re over camping in tents or tent trailers, then you’ll want to win the Truck and Fifth-Wheel prize package. Tow around your spacious 2016 Keystone Montana High Country with a new 2016 GMC Sierra SLE 3500HD 4WD Crew Cab. Valued at $198,812, travelling and camping will never be the same.


Itching to get on the water? The Truck and Boat package is the ideal prize: 2016 Cobalt 200 boat to be towed by a 2016 GMC Sierra SLE 1500 4WD Crew Cab. The GMC includes an All-Terrain and Off Road Package, along with wireless phone charging and trailer sway control. The Truck and Boat package is valued at $158,954.


Longing to feel the wind in your face and cruise on the open road? The 2016 limited edition Harley Davidson motorcycle has a six-speed transmission and 6.5 boom box complete with GPS and Bluetooth. Customized in ‘Solar Eclipse’ paint style, making it one of 150 in the world, the Harley Davidson bike costs $45,600.


Simply looking for a truck? The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 4WD Crew Cab is an eight-speed automatic with active fuel management and direct injection and has full feature leather bucket seats. Get SiriusXM radio and AppleCarPlay with the new truck, valued at $68,848.


Want to win any of these great prizes? Visit http://www.calgarystampedelotteries.ca/ for the Advanced Ticket Campaign, which ends June 24. Need to see the house in person before you buy? Tickets are also available on Stampede Park from July 8-17, and those wanting to test their luck can also try the Split ‘Em 50 – with guaranteed winnings of at least $400,000, and as high as $1 millon.


International Year of Pulses: Cooking with Pulses

It’s time to talk pulses again. If you missed the first blog post where we talked about what pulses are, the International Year of Pulses and Alberta’s pulse industry, check it out here. 2016 has been declared International Year of Pulses (IYP) by the United Nations.

Today, let’s talk about the nutritional benefits of pulses. Did you know that pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans are high in fibre, a good source of protein, low in fat and packed with essential nutrients? That’s right! Three-quarter cup (175 mL) counts as one Canada Food Guide serving as a meat alternative. Pulses are also gluten-free for those with Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance. They pack a nutritional punch and taste delicious.

Many people around the world have known the nutritional value of pulses for thousands of years and incorporated them into their diets. International Year of Pulses (IYP) is a good opportunity to remind people of the goodness of this inexpensive source of protein.

Pulses are easy to incorporate into your family’s diet with the increased availability of pulse flours, packaged pulse snacks and even made-in-Alberta No Nuts Pea Butter that tastes just like peanut butter, in addition to canned or dry beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.

So why don’t more people eat pulses? It could be because they don’t know where to buy them and/or how to cook them. Pulses can be found in most grocery stores or ethnic specialty stores in both the canned and dry form. Pulses can be cooked on the stove top, in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and for certain recipes, in the oven.

The Pulse Canada website has a great resource on how to cook your pulses. Check it out: Pulse Canada: How to Cook Pulses.

To help you get started, here are two easy recipes featuring different pulses. Give them a try. Enjoy!

Quinoa, Chickpea, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Quinoa chickpea salad.


  • 1 cup quinoa (beige, red or black)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed

  • 1 chopped, unpeeled cucumber

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 cup chopped parsley

  • 1 cup sliced baby spinach leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • To taste salt and pepper


Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Tip: Do not overcook. Chill in the refrigerator to cool.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, spinach and about half of the feta. Gently toss in the cooled quinoa; do not overmix or stir. Whisk vinegar, honey and paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the combined salad ingredients; toss gently. Top with extra feta if desired; serve immediately.

Source: W Network


Hoisin Turkey and Lentil Lettuce Wraps

Lentil lettuce wrap.


  • Canola oil for cooking
  • 1 lb ground turkey (can substitute chicken breasts)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems chopped
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 green onions chopped
  • 1 head butter, romaine or leaf lettuce 
  • peanuts and fresh cilantro for garnish 


Heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the ground turkey and red pepper and cook, breaking up with a spoon until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro and lentils and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add 1/3 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender, any excess moisture has evaporated and the meat has started to brown. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce and green onions. Cook for another minute or two, stirring to coat well and heat through. Wash and prepare your lettuce, separating leaves. Serve turkey-lentil mixture in bowl with lettuce leaves for filling.

Source: Alberta Pulse Growers 

You can learn more about pulses during Stampede! The International Year of Pulses 2016 Travelling Exhibit will be on display in the Agrium Western Event Centre. Stop by and check it out!

More New Food in 2016

2016 New Food

As a food lover you’ve probably already made your Midway Meal Plan based on the 34 mouthwatering new foods we announced in May. With so many delicious options available we thought “why not have more?!” We are pleased to announce nine additional new foods for 2016!

Which of these do you want to try first?

Smoked Chicken and Waffles

Smoked and seasoned chicken breast strips are fried until they are golden brown and extra crispy. They are then nestled into a crispy buttermilk waffle cone and topped with maple syrup. The combination of smoky, salty and sweet flavours blended together is not to be missed.

Smoked Chicken n Waffles

The Donair Sausage

This is an all-beef donair sausage wrapped in a fresh pita with tomatoes, onion, and sweet sauce or tzatziki sauce, completing the new spin on the classic.

The Donair Sausage

Garlic Parmesan Poutine

Your garlic breath may scare off potential love later in the night, but your stomach will forgive you after just one taste of this new take on poutine. Fresh cut fries with poutine sauce, cheese curds, parmesan cheese and a fresh garlic purée completes it.

Garlic Parmesan Fries

Cheddar Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich

Slow cooked in bourbon, this pulled pork sandwich is topped with sliced old cheddar cheese and served on fresh ciabatta bun. Grab some extra napkins to avoid to BBQ sauce spill on your shirt.

Cheddar Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich

Cookies ‘n Cream Mini Donuts

The cinnamon sugar mini donuts that you love have been kicked up a notch! Mini donuts are glazed with creamy icing sugar and topped with Oreo cookie crumble.  So delicious you’ve got to try them!

Cookies n Cream Mini Donuts

Cup O’ Que

A parfait of BBQ perfection.  The Cup O’ Que has three layers of deliciousness with BBQ pit beans and pulled pork, topped with apple cider slaw.

Cup 'o Que

Apple Pie-Scream Sandwich

Creamy vanilla soft serve ice-cream is smothered with a tart and sweet apple pie filling, then drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce. All of that is sandwiched inside a puffed cinnamon sugar rice crisp. A sandwich with fruit – could this be a more complete meal?

Apple pie ice cream sandwich

Grilled Mac and Cheese

Do you like mac and cheese so much that you’ve always wanted it in sandwich form? Here’s your chance, with mac and cheese jammed between two pieces of fluffy whole wheat bread and grilled to perfection.

grilled mac and cheese

Perry’s Poppers

The list of deep fried foods keeps growing with Perry’s Poppers, which feature mac and cheese wrapped in wonton wrappers and fried. The cheesy goodness is hiding in the crispy pockets.

Perry Poppers

Missed out on the first 34 new foods? Check them out here:


To follow along with the rest of our Midway food series check the posts out here:


For more information on our food items or vendors, please contact Neil Hilts, media relations coordinator at 403.261.0242 or via email at nhilts@calgarystampede.com

Indian Princess alumna Amelia Crowshoe on the tradition of tipi design and the University of Calgary Campfire Chat


On Tuesday, June 21, National Aboriginal Day, the University of Calgary will present its inaugural Campfire Chat on St. Patrick’s Island. This will be a special event where the community can learn and experience our heritage and First Nations traditions. In addition to a talk by Elder Reg Crowshoe about the aboriginal history of our region, Stampede Indian Princess alumna, Amelia Crowshoe and her family will paint her tipi. We talked to Amelia about the tradition of tipi design and how her experience as Indian Princess has impacted her life. (Read more about the University of Calgary’s Campfire Chat after the interview!)

Calgary Stampede: Your tipi will be painted at the Campfire Chat–Why is your tipi being painted?

Amelia Crowshoe: My grandfather is transferring the tipi design to me. He had a dream about this design and surprised me a couple of months ago with the news that he would be transferring the design to me. In Blackfoot tradition, you can obtain a tipi design in a number of ways: a dream (from creator or spirit world); it can be passed down through the family; or you can approach someone for a transfer of a design.

Tipi painting 4

CS: Can you tell us about the tradition of tipi design?

AC: The Blackfoot people are one of few that still do tipi design transfer. Each design is special to the owners and each design has a story. The stories are sort of privileged information and there is a process to learn about the design. If you want to hear the story of the design, you make an offering to the owner—like tobacco—to honour the information and sharing of the story.

There are common themes in tipi designs. The top of the tipi represents the stars and constellations that are important to our people. The story of the design is told in the middle. At the bottom, the designs symbolize where the story took place. A flat line represents the prairies, bumps represent the foothills and peaks represent the mountains.

Tipi painting 3

On some designs there is a cross at the back that represents the moth. This indicates that the design came from a dream.

Different symbols indicate that the design is from the spirit world or from one of our origin or foundational stories.

CS: What is it like to paint a tipi?

AC: To paint a tipi in the right way, you have to be transferred the rite to paint a design. This is a process that we follow in our culture where the knowledge is passed in a way that maintains the integrity of the practice. In our family, my grandpa designs the tipi. He stretches out the tipi canvas, creates the design the way that he was transferred, and then we paint it as a family. It’s such a large undertaking but once you finish and set it up, it’s so amazing to see the work on the canvas. It’s an honouring of the stories of our people.

It’s special to me that I have been witness to a cultural practice that not a lot of people do anymore.

Tipi painting _2

CS: What will you be painting on your tipi and why?

AC: We will be painting a dragonfly design. It was a big shock to hear that my grandfather was transferring this design to me. When you get a tipi you always have a home, no matter where you are or where you will be.

My mom, sister and I were given a tipi design when I was young –but it’s a big deal to have a tipi design of my own. Having a tipi of my own is considered a rite of passage in our culture. I will have the privilege of taking care of the design and passing it on to my children or whomever it belongs to next.

CS: Where will your tipi go once it is painted?

AC: Most people only see tipis set up during Stampede in Indian Village. They don’t understand that these are our homes traditionally. When we have family gatherings, or if we want to camp out we set up tipis. We live in them when we go to sacred ceremonies. We set them up whenever we can.

Tipi painting

CS: Has your experience as the Indian Princess impacted your life in the years that followed?

AC: Big time. My year as the Indian Princess still follows me around, which is a good thing. I feel really honoured to have been the Indian Princess during the Centennial. The experience taught me a lot about myself and gave me lots of confidence. Living as a First Nations woman in Calgary, I am able to educate others about my people, our culture and build positive relationships.

The public speaking experience, in particular, has been a huge asset in my job. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I was hired!

CS: And what are you up to these days?

AC: I’m the communications coordinator for the Alberta First Nations Governance Centre which is a First Nations data and research organization.

CS: Have you heard about the new Indian Village in ENMAX Park?

AC: Yes, I’m really excited to see it. I grew up in the Indian Village at the south end of the Park, so I was a little sad to see it move, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the new space.

The University of Calgary’s Campfire Chat is part of their 50th anniversary celebration this year. It is going to be a very special way to recognize and celebrate National Aboriginal Day. Below is a schedule of the day’s events. If you would like to attend the chat by Elder Reg Crowshoe, make sure you register on their website.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1-8 p.m.

St. Patrick’s Island
1300 Zoo Road NE (access via 12 St. SE in Inglewood)
Rain or shine

AFTERNOON – Family-friendly event (come and go)

1 p.m. Triple tipi-raising
2 p.m. Tipi-painting demonstration
3 p.m. Traditional drumming and dancing supported by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary

EVENING – RSVP required

6:30 p.m. Campfire chat with Reg Crowshoe, former chief of
Piikuni First Nation


International Year of Pulses: Pulses in Alberta

As you gear up for Stampede, some of us get kinda excited about agriculture. There’s a lot you can learn on Stampede Park about how your food gets to your plate. For example: Pulses.

This summer as you venture outside the city and drive through rural Alberta, you may notice some different plants in the fields. You’ll see the usual beautiful yellow canola fields and golden wheat fields, but you may also see some pulse crops growing in Alberta fields.

Over 5,000 Alberta farmers grow pulses. So what are pulses? Have you heard of peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas? These are all known as pulses, the edible seeds of legumes. Each of these types of pulse crops comes in a wide range of colours and sizes.

Fun Fact: The name pulse is derived from the Latin puls meaning thick soup or potage.

Bags of pulse crops such as lentils and chickpeas. Photo courtesy Alberta Pulse Growers.

Bags of pulse crops such as lentils and chickpeas. Photo courtesy Alberta Pulse Growers.

And this year, pulses just happen to be in the international limelight. The United Nations has declared 2016 International Year of Pulses (IYP).

“IYP draws attention to important global issues like nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability,” said Sylvan Lake area farmer Allison Ammeter, chair of the Alberta Pulse Growers and the IYP Canada Committee. “It will leverage the international focus on pulses to build more demand for the pulses produced by Canadian growers, including those in Alberta. It also emphasizes the important role that beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas play in contributing to healthy people and a healthy planet.”

The Alberta Pulse Growers (APG), the industry association representing provincial pulse growers, has joined the festivities and is celebrating IYP in various ways.

In addition to joining with its counterparts across the country to promote IYP through national initiatives like the Pulse Feast in Toronto featuring IYP ambassador Chef Michael Smith, APG has ramped up its own consumer engagement efforts. These activities include the creation of a special IYP 2016 calendar, increased printed recipe resources and an amplified presence at food-related events.

IYP provides an ideal opportunity for the APG to further engage with chefs, who can then share the many benefits of eating pulses with a wider consumer audience, said Ammeter.

A major component of APG’s chef outreach during IYP is through a partnership with the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance (ACTA) to offer numerous dining events featuring beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. APG provided sponsorship to ACTA that included challenging chefs at various ACTA culinary events taking place throughout 2016 to use pulses in innovative ways, said Ammeter.

A special event that APG and ACTA are collaborating on is the Alberta Chef Pulse Development Day taking place now in June. Ten accomplished Alberta chefs from Calgary and Edmonton will participate in a tour that includes a crop walk to see pulses growing in the field, said Ammeter, and a tour of Alberta Agriculture’s Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc. The chefs also accepted the challenge to develop a pulse-based product that could possibly be scaled up at the centre for retail sale in the future.

As we celebrate International Year of Pulses this year, don’t forget that our province is home to many pulse crops.

Here are a few Alberta pulse facts: 

  • There are over 5,000 pulse growers in Alberta.
  • Field peas are the most widely grown pulse crop in Alberta.
  • Chickpea and lentil production occurs predominantly in southern Alberta where the growing season is the longest.

Source: Alberta Pulse Growers

Peas growing in an Alberta field. Photo courtesy Alberta Pulse Growers.

Peas growing in an Alberta field. Photo courtesy Alberta Pulse Growers.

Would you like to learn more about pulses? You can during Stampede! The International Year of Pulses 2016 Travelling Exhibit will be on display in the Agrium Western Event Centre. Stop by and check it out!

And don’t forget to visit the Alberta Pulse Growers and Pulse Canada websites.

10 things to see and do at Stampede 2016

Axe throwing, deep fried tequila shots, a 45-foot tall spinning ride, an international pavilion, a fire-lit tight-rope walker and a beautiful, new, 16-acre park are just a few of the new offerings to check out this Stampede. What’s your Stampede thing?

1. Ride the Stampede’s new ride

A new ride means a new opportunity for challenging yourself and your friends; Spin Out is a 45-foot tall rotating claw that spins you in every way imaginable – including spinning while you’re hanging upside down! For information on our other rides and ride packages, check out: http://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede/attractions/midway

Spin Out

Spin Out


2. Watch rescue dogs perform jaw-dropping tricks at the Dog Bowl

These rescue dogs and dogs adopted from shelters, of multiple sizes and breeds, prove that you can do anything you set your mind to, and overcome any obstacles in your way; watch as these dogs defy gravity through freestyle Frisbee disc, flyball racing and high jumping agility demonstrations. Be sure to stay until the end of the show for the exhilarating dock diving act. Canine Stars will motivate you to go home and train your pooch a new trick or two.

The Dog Bowl will feature six shows daily with room for more than 2,000 dog lovers per show. Daily shows are at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. In addition, on Suncor Family Day and BMO Kids’ Day, the first show will be at 10:30 a.m. Sneak-A-Peek on Thursday, July 7 will feature two shows at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Canine Stars

Canine Stars


3. Relax by the river in Indian Village’s new home in the brand new ENMAX Park

Stampede Park’s newest green space, a beautiful inner city public park and gathering space, is the new home to Indian Village presented by Penn West. Located by the MacDonald Entry, and across the bridge from Kids’ Midway, you can experience a number of activities at Indian Village including daily dance demonstrations and  tipi raising competitions, cooking demonstrations over a an open fire, and traditional arts and crafts created by Treaty 7 artisans. Don’t forget that the Bannok Booth has also moved with Indian Village to ENMAX Park so be sure to grab some doughy goodness and relax and enjoy it on the lush green grass.

Indian Village’s first event, the Opening Ceremonies and Camp Moving Ceremony on Friday, July 8, the first day of the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

Indian Village has moved to beautiful ENMAX Park!

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In It to Win It – Here Come the Bensmiller Brothers

It could be considered a pretty high-stress situation. But Kurt Bensmiller is keeping his cool about this year’s Calgary Stampede.

“I’ll be going there to win, just like every year,” he says. “Whether the cards are in my favour? We’ll see in mid-July.”

What Bensmiller and many others will be waiting to see, is whether he can capture a third straight championship at the Calgary Stampede’s GMC Rangeland Derby. Only three men have ever managed that in the event’s long and storied history. Rolling in to the first races of the season, Bensmiller is not letting that get to him.

“If there’s any pressure, it will be what I put on myself,” he says, adding he’s feeling good about the strength and depth of his barn with 16 new horses added to his team of veterans this spring.  But in Calgary, 35 other chuckwagon drivers will be looking to turn up the heat, setting their sights on knocking Kurt Bensmiller from that top spot. Among them – his younger brother, Chance.

(L) Chance Bensmiller (R) Kurt Bensmiller

(L) Chance Bensmiller (R) Kurt Bensmiller

“If anyone dethrones him, I hope it’s me.”  For years Chance Bensmiller has worked with Kurt, training  in the spring at his elder brother’s home.  But after getting the call from the Calgary Stampede this past fall, Chance decided to change things up.

“I decided to take a different approach on my own, to focus solely on my own horses. I had some things I had to work out.” Despite making the decision to train separately this season, Bensmiller still maintains a strong connection to all of his family in the sport, including father and former Stampede Champion Buddy Bensmiller.

Chance Bensmiller at the 2013 Calgary Stampede

Chance Bensmiller at the 2013 Calgary Stampede

“A lot of guys don’t have a big family like mine. Having my dad, Kurt and brother-in-law Vern (Nolin), that family support is huge.”  While Kurt is the recipient of much of their father’s assistance, Chance claims another family advantage – brother David, a talented and much sought after outrider.

“David’s my first call,” says the younger Bensmiller. “Words can’t even describe how much pressure is lifted off my shoulders knowing he is holding my lead team when the horn blows.”  For Kurt, family is a big part of what brought him into the sport, and what keeps him racing.

“That’s one of the biggest reasons I got into this,” he says, adding “Not many people can love their job as much as I do and be lucky enough to share it with family like I do.”

(L) Chance Bensmiller (R) Kurt Bensmiller

(L) Chance Bensmiller (R) Kurt Bensmiller

As for sharing the wagon box this summer at the Stampede, like they have in the past, both Bensmiller brothers are hoping it just won’t be possible.

“Hopefully we’re both in late heats, and too close” Kurt says with a smile in his voice. “We’ll be too close to help each other. That’s a good thing.”

Fun Fact:

The Bensmillers are among four sets of brothers set to compete at the Calgary Stampede in 2016. There are also four father-son combinations.

Stampede on a budget: How to Stampede in under $35

You could do this day in 100 different ways. You can see music, agriculture, western events, art, culture, fireworks and so much more at no extra cost once you are on Stampede Park. There are also tons of great Value Deals that you can purchase right now.

Don’t forget that every day on Stampede Park, you can buy standing room tickets to the Rodeo ($14) and to the Evening Show ($17).

This itinerary is based on coming for one of the Stampede Value Days, Suncor Family Day, which means you get free Park admission. Have fun!

6/7 a.m.: Arrive. Free pancake breakfast and admission!
Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn / Calgary Stampede

8–10 a.m.: Variety Show on the Grandstand stage.

11 a.m. – noon: Stroll the Agriculture Zone presented by McDonald’s: Catch Country Critters, Blacksmith Showcase, Draft Horse Town, Horse Haven, Miniature Donkey or one of the many Ag demos!

12:30 p.m.: The Dog Bowl Canine Stars!

1:15 p.m.: Mosey over to historic Weadickville for hot dog (about $5). Check out the Quirk Cabin to learn the history of women in the West. Thirsty? How about a refreshing lemonade on the Midway?! (about $5)

2 p.m.: Take a walk over to Stampede Park’s newest addition, ENMAX Park. Check the new piece of public art, Rainbow Trout at the MacDonald Avenue Pedestrian Entry. Visit Indian Village presented by Penn West in its new location. Tour a few tipis and the Arts and Crafts market.

3:30 p.m.: Catch the second half of the Cowboy Up Challenge in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Photo Credit: Mike Ridewood

5 p.m.: Head over to the International Pavilion in the Big Four Building. Explore the International Street Market.

5:30 p.m.: The Peking Acrobats in the International Pavilion.

6:30 p.m.: Time to chill out in the Western Oasis. Stroll the Western Art Showcase. Enjoy live music on the Window on the West Stage. Learn the story of Indian Village on Stampede Park by visiting the Southern Alberta Pioneers and Stampede Historical committee’s exhibit. Is it time for a glass of wine? Why yes, yes it is! Sip your choice in the Co-op wine garden and order up a pear and brie panini (about $25).

9 p.m.: Classified on the Coca-Cola Stage!

Coca-Cola Stage

11 p.m.: Fireworks from your chosen vantage point.

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Midnight: Still have energy after it all? Catch Jason Greeley at Nashville North.

Here’s some more information about how to Stampede on a budget.

Friday, July 8, Stampede Parade, 9 a.m. along 6 Ave and 9 Ave in downtown Calgary.

Value Days:

Thursday, July 7, 5 p.m. to Midnight, discounted admission

Sunday, July 10, SUNCOR Family Day. Free admission between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Free pancake breakfast for the first 20,000 guests.

Tuesday, July 12, Western Heritage day. Free admission all day for seniors 65 years and over. Free coffee and pastries on the Saddledome Steps while supplies last.

Wednesday, July 13, BMO Kids’ Day. Free admission for children under 12 and accompanying adults between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Free breakfast in the Grandstand Courtyard from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Included with your admission:

Indian Village: Experience the traditions and culture of Treaty 7 at the new location in ENMAX Park. Visit a tipi, attend a traditional Pow Wow and explore the Arts and Crafts market.

Shows and Performances: The Dog Bowl, The Peking Acrobats & Bell Adrenaline Ranch.

Music: All shows on the Coca-Cola stage and Nashville North. The 36th Annual Stampede Talent Search.

All agriculture exhibits and western events (including the Heavy Horse Show, Team Cattle Penning, World Stock Dog and more!).

And much more!

An Ode to the Band of Outriders

The Calgary Stampede Band of Outriders was formed in 1991 and is known for sharing their musical version of western hospitality to local crowds and thousands of Calgary visitors every day during the 10-day Stampede. Andrea Khoury, an Outriders alumna and founding member of the band, wrote this poem to celebrate the Outriders’ 25th anniversary. Enjoy!

There are strange things done in the name of fun by the geeks who toil in the band.

The Stampede trails have the oddest tales that have traveled throughout the land.

The midway lights have seen great sights but the greatest they ever did see

Was the group that was formed, out of old drums and horns, by people like you and me.

The Band of Outriders have been entertaining audiences on Stampede park and in the community for 25 years! Yahoo!

The Band of Outriders have been entertaining audiences on Stampede park and in the community for 25 years! Yahoo!


Now old Bobby E was from Calgary, where the marching bands twirl and blow.

Why he left his room at the school to groom new musicians we’ll never know.

He started with Round-up, then moved on to Showband with Stetsons to follow in time

And by ninety-one, Mr. Eklund not done, it was time for a new band to shine.


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