Where in the world is the Showband headed next?

The Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce that they will be travelling to compete in the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade, The Netherlands in summer 2017. WMC is the Olympics of music taking place over four weeks from Thursday, July 6 – Sunday, July 30, 2017. The event will feature more than 260 musical ensembles and 20,000 individual musicians. The Showband will be leaving right after Stampede to compete in the marching show band class on Sunday, July 30 against 60 other marching show bands from around the globe.

Photo credit: Kien Le

The Showband is a youth performance ensemble that rehearses and performs year round. Photo credit: Kien Le.

Continue reading

Vegas, Baby!

On a football field out behind the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, 13 Calgary Stampede horses and two bulls are settling into their temporary home for the biggest rodeo event of the year, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Invited to compete because they are among the best-of-the-best, they will carry some of the top competitors in the sport over ten days of rodeo action.

thomas and mack

The trip from the Calgary Stampede Ranch to the glitz and glamour of Vegas isn’t a particularly quick one when travelling with livestock. With frequent stops along the way, Calgary Stampede livestock coordinator Ken Rehill (better known in the rodeo world simply as Goose) made the trip with the stock in three days. Now in Vegas, he’s turned their primary care over to the NFR’s team of caregivers. The animals are housed in a secure area where stock from other contractors is kept as well. Their well-being and safety a number one priority, they are checked regularly as well as fed and cared for.

“They’re settling in well,” said Goose, in the lead up to the big event, “they’re all quiet and relaxed.” He points to the airport flight path as the biggest issue they’ve had to deal with, with planes flying overhead. While not something they’d see at home on the Stampede Ranch, the horses and bulls are pros and easily adjusted to the noise.

With a little rest and relaxation they will be ready to compete come the start of the rodeo December first. And here’s a fun fact about our bucking horses that will be competing this year. Nine of the thirteen horses are offspring of our six time world champion, Grated Coconut.

Grated Coconut competes at the 2009 NFR (photo courtesy PRCA)

Grated Coconut competes at the 2009 NFR (photo courtesy PRCA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Calgary Stampede Stock List for the National Finals Rodeo

Bareback horses

S-65 Shadow Warrior

S-77 Soap Bubbles

S-83 Special Delivery

T-19 Tootsie Roll

T-29 Trail Dust

X-9 Xplosive Skies

R-82 Reckless Margie

 

Saddle Bronc horses

T-38 Timely Delivery

S-66 Stampede Warrior

T-65 Tiger Warrior

T-77 Tokyo Bubbles

W-16 Wild Cherry

W-46 Waning Moon

 

Bulls

003 Wranglers Extreme

201 Night Moves

 

Congratulations to the Western Legacy Award winners

On Thursday, November 17, the Calgary Stampede honoured three inspiring individuals and one remarkable group based on their commitment to western heritage and values at the 12th annual Western Legacy Awards. The 2016 Award recipients are community leaders who genuinely embody the values and commitment to community that southern Alberta is known for.

Robert Anderson is a man who keeps western heritage alive every day. He has been involved, in one form or another, with the Calgary Stampede since early childhood. Robert first participated in the Calgary Stampede parade with his father and brothers 70 years ago. A second generation volunteer with the Antique Show Wagon, over the last 20 years Robert has provided thousands of guests the opportunity to experience Western history. He has had a booth in the Agriculture Building during Stampede, sharing his passion for the equine species with everyone. Robert believes western lifestyle has a lot to teach people – from respect for nature to respect for others. Robert is committed to the community and embodies Western values.

Robert Anderson_Western Legacy Awards

Darby Young is an advocate for people with disabilities and applies her lived experience to help remove barriers. She served as the co-chair of Calgary city council’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility, advising city council on disability issues brought forward by citizens and organizations. Through this role, she created change for people with disabilities by increasing knowledge and environmental accessibility. Darby has been an invaluable volunteer with the Cerebral Palsy Association, along with a number of other organizations. Darby’s innovation is a tremendous example of the Stampede spirit to make the world as accessible as possible for everyone.
Continue reading

8 buckles and a super-star bronc at the Canadian Finals Rodeo!

It would be a huge understatement to say that Calgary Stampede horses and bulls did well at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, which took place November 9-13. We know they’re superstars, and they proved it over and over again in Edmonton. Six horses and two bulls carried cowboys to top paychecks over the five days of action, earning an incredible 8 go-round buckles.

One of those round winners, Wild Cherry, wowed the crowd and the judges in the final performance of Saddle Bronc riding. Combining with cowboy Layton Green for an 86.5, he was spectacular, earning himself the title of Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR.

 Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Another notable performance came on Night Moves, a bull that put PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey into the mud during the 2016 Calgary Stampede. Previously unridden until the CFR, the big black bull met his match in Tim Lipsett. Lipsett rode his way to a win and a big payday, with an 86 point score.

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie - Courtesy CFR

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie – Courtesy CFR

The Calgary Stampede would like to congratulate all of the newly-crowned Canadian Champions, including those who battled their way to the very top of the novice events. Committed to the future of rodeo, the Stampede works hard to support and grow the up-and-coming generation of superstars through our Novice tour and as a proud partner of the Canadian Finals Rodeo. We were thrilled to have Rodeo committee chair John Rule on hand to congratulate the winners at the Canadian Finals and we look forward to seeing the skills of Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie, Novice Bareback Champion Tanner Young and Novice Saddlebronc Champion Kolby Wanchuk in the Calgary Stampede arena in years to come!

 

The 2016 Cutting Horse Futurity saw tough competition, new technology and western spirit

It was a case of go big or go home.

Cayley, Alberta’s Dustin Gonnet knew he needed a big score in the second round of the Open Final at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, after facing down a tough cow in the first round and having the judges penalize him.

“If I wouldn’t have been nailed with that hot quit, I might not have been near as aggressive as I was,” Gonnet said after the event, giving credit to the horse he was on, RPL Cat N Around, for eventually pulling off a big win in the class. “She is super confident about her job. She’s a show pony.”

Dustin Gonnet on RPL Cat N Around, owned by Ronald Patton of Nanton, Alberta

Dustin Gonnet on RPL Cat N Around, owned by Ronald Patton of Nanton, Alberta

As a National Cutting Horse Association sanctioned event, this year’s Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity attracted Canadian riders from across the prairies and American riders from as far afield as Texas.  In total, 331 horse-and-rider pairs competed in seven classes for a share of more than $355,000 in prize during the event October 12 to 16 in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

In the sport of cutting, each horse and rider is faced with a herd of cattle and just two and a half minutes on the clock. Working together they separate, or ‘cut’, a cow from the herd.  The rider then drops the reins and allows the horse to use its instincts, strength and agility to mirror the movements of the cow and keep it from the herd.  This can be repeated two more times as long as there’s time on the clock.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, and for guests interested in extra insight into each run, ‘Smart Bug’ personal listening devices were offered during the Saturday Night Cut of the West.

Earpieces

Used for the first time during the cutting at the Calgary Stampede in 2016, the ear buds were again extremely popular with the crowd at the Futurity on Saturday night.  Listeners were able to hear expert commentary and better understand the judging and incredible skills of the horses and riders.

Guests to the Saturday Night Cut of the West were also on hand for a very special award ceremony, as Travis Rempel was recognized as this year’s Calgary Stampede Western Elite Rider.

Calgary Stampede Western Elite Rider, Travis Rempel, with the Calgary Stampede Royalty and Western Performance Horse committee member

Calgary Stampede Western Elite Rider, Travis Rempel, with the Calgary Stampede Royalty and Western Performance Horse committee member

The award recognizes the incredible skills and success of the men and women who dedicate their talents and time to the versatility of the western performance horse.  Created in celebration of the three western performance horse events offered at the Calgary Stampede, the Team Cattle Penning competition, the Cutting Horse competition, and the Working Cow Horse Classic, the Western Elite Rider is awarded to the rider who earns the most points by placing in the top ten of at least two events.

A victory in the Open Finals of the Cutting Horse competition propelled Rempel to the top in 2016. Rempel says competing during the Stampede is a unique but incredible experience.

“It’s electric; the people, the music, the announcer and the fact that you’re here during the rodeo.” He says the honour of being named the Stampede’s Western Elite rider is extremely special to him, and it means even more to him to have achieved it surrounded by friends.

“To me the cool thing about this sport is that you can be in competition with someone, but they’re your friends and they want to you do well. It’s fun to be around. It’s the best.”

Full results from the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity are available here.

Wear a Poppy This November

Sir Douglas Haig, who during the First World War had served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, which included the Canadians, attended the Calgary Stampede in 1925. His visit to the Stampede was one stop on his cross-Canada tour promoting veterans’ causes.

Haig rode on horseback through downtown Calgary to Stampede Park. Thousands of Calgarians lined the route to cheer him on.

Haig rode on horseback through downtown Calgary to Stampede Park. Thousands of Calgarians lined the route to cheer him on.

When Canadian soldiers returned from the war, Canada was very different than when they had left. Jobs had become more technical and many veterans were unskilled labourers. Making matters worse, veterans’ pensions were very small because the government believed that they should only be supplementary to other income. Almost one in every three veterans had suffered debilitating wounds and countless more had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many could not afford to live in post-war Canada.

Haig met Hoot Gibson, movie star, rodeo champion and the 1925 Stampede Parade Marshal.

Haig met Hoot Gibson, movie star, rodeo champion and the 1925 Stampede Parade Marshal.

Supporting veterans fell to charitable organizations, including numerous national organizations as well as local and regional groups. Their intentions were good but there were too many groups that were too small. They feuded regularly over who would control monies generated by the Poppy Fund. Like today, each November, Canadians would buy and wear poppies. The profits from this campaign were divided between veteran organizations, but by 1925, the groups were so at odds with each other that the veterans did not receive the benefits they could have.

Haig’s trip helped remedy the situation. He crossed the country with a simple message of a united effort. He arrived in Calgary on Thursday, July 9th. His party included numerous representatives from Canadian veterans’ groups. They rode on horseback through downtown Calgary to Stampede Park. Thousands of Calgarians lined the route to cheer on Haig. He then attended the rodeo, met movie star Hoot Gibson who was the Stampede parade marshal that year, and talked with First Nations community leaders, who gave him the honourary name Chief Bull Head. The Stampede, an event wholly dedicated to building a unique and united community, helped Haig spread his message of unity and support to our veterans.

Haig was given the honourary name Chief Bull Head.

Haig was given the honourary name Chief Bull Head.

In November, the success of Haig’s tour came to fruition with the founding of the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League: today’s Royal Canadian Legion. The Legion quickly spread from coast to coast becoming a place of refuge, support and comradeship for veterans. Its programs supported disabled veterans and helped those in financial need. The Legion hall became a social hub for many communities. It also lobbied the government for better support and pensions for the country’s war heroes.

Since 1925, the Calgary Stampede has continued to recognize, support, and commemorate the service and sacrifice of the Canadian Forces. Buy a poppy this November. Wear it in proud reminder of our nation’s fallen and, in doing so, support our veterans through the important work and programs of the Canadian Legion.

Masterbrand_poppy-550x309