Tuesday, March 27, 2017 marks this year’s International Pancake Day, a day of celebration where people across the globe flip flapjacks with copious amounts of butter and maple syrup at the ready. As delightful as pancakes are for any meal of any day throughout the year, Calgarians know that nothing says Stampede time more than those magical mornings in July where one can indulge in a multitude of Stampede-themed pancake breakfasts. As a much cherished tradition, companies, families and organizations of all kinds partake in offering up their own special take on the pancake breakfast. Community members have the ability to peruse the breadth of Calgary each morning during the 10 days in search of a fun, free and tasty pancake breakfast! So adored are these breakfasts that the pancake and the Stampede are held together closely in people’s hearts.
You might be surprised when I tell you that my favourite part about the Calgary Stampede is not those 10 special days in July. While I certainly love ‘dem little donuts, cheering on the eight-second rides and the occasional visit to Nashville North, there is so much more to the Calgary Stampede organization that influences Calgarians year round. The cowboy spirit has defined our city’s values, influenced how we do business and will inspire generations to come.
What originally attracted me to the Calgary Stampede is what is at the heart of the exhibition: the animals and particularly, the horses. I was first introduced to the Born to Buck breeding program by the most influential cowgirl in my life, my Nan. Growing up, we would often go check on the wild horses as part of our farm chores. Their grace, strength and gentleness never cease to amaze me. Did you know the Stampede has a 600-head herd of horses–some of the finest rough stock in the world? I am honoured to be an advocate for the Stampede livestock and I truly am excited about promoting the Born to Buck breeding program and Calgary Stampede’s commitment to animal care.
This week, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite stories from the 2016 Report to the Community. You can check them all out in the full online Report here. This story comes from Ag-tivity in the City volunteer Ross Bucsis.
It was a Saturday and raining at the 2016 Stampede, and it was early in my Barn Tour shift for Ag Ambassadors. I met a family (father and son) of Dairy Farmers from Belgium, and they stood out—both were very tall, over 6 feet 3 inches. Having determined they were farmers on a visit, and as is my usual protocol, I invited them to sit down, have a bite to eat and a drink of their choice at the International Room.
They were wet and cold, so acceptance came easy to them.
As we walked, I asked if this was their first time in Canada. The son replied, “No, this is the second time I have been on Canadian soil.” I asked quickly, “Oh great, when was your first time here?”
He replied, “I have walked among the dead in the Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium where the fallen Canadian soldiers are buried. That was my first time on Canadian soil; you earned it.”
I did not say another word. I couldn’t, as the tears were coming down my face. We got up to the International Room and I shook their hands very firmly. They knew I had been emotional and proud. I told them safe travels and to please return again to the Stampede and Canada.
We are excited to share the 2016 Report to the Community with you.
This year, you will hear the 2016 Stampede stories directly from Stampede volunteers and employees.
The three lead videos take you back to our rainy-but-wonderful 2016 Stampede, on the journey of ENMAX Park and into the brand new TransAlta Performing Arts Studios.
In the stories that follow, the Stampede team takes you behind the scenes to the lesser-seen moments of Stampede. Stories like this, one from Josh Traptow on the Ag Media committee:
This year, I was assigned to help the Heavy Horse Pull. We had a competitor—Rocky Dempsey—from Fort McMurray. When I first talked to him, just before Stampede, he had been evacuated from Fort McMurray. He didn’t know if he was going to be able to compete. He’d been training for months before the fires and, when he fled, he wasn’t able to bring the harnesses he needed for the competition. Ever since he was a kid, he’d dreamed of competing at the Calgary Stampede.
He decided not to give up. He overcame so much to be able to compete in the Stampede after all he had been through. It was his lifelong dream come true.
Learn about new education and community programs. Meet a member of our award-winning bucking stock. What’s it like to sit down with a 1960s Rodeo Star? Who did the Showband drumline perform with at the Junos? Drop in on a moving encounter with farmers visiting from Belgium. And more.
The Report is an opportunity to get to know some of the faces behind the Stampede–and get a sense of how much work, passion and care goes into everything we do. We hope you enjoy it!
For National Flag Day, we are re-publishing an article from 2015 - some history of our beloved red and white maple leaf and the Canadian flag at the Stampede.
Happy National Flag Day, Canada! Today we celebrate our nation’s unifying symbol: the Canadian Flag.
By 1965, the maple leaf was already commonly used by Canadians to signify their unique identity from the rest of the British Commonwealth. However, the country’s flag was still the Canadian Red Ensign, which featured the Union Jack and the Canadian Coat of Arms. Prime Minister Lester Pearson recognized that Canada had come of age and so he commissioned the design of the country’s new flag. The Canadian Flag was raised for the first time at noon on February 15, 1965.
Chuckwagon advertisers get a Stampede experience like no other–it is an exclusive opportunity to share with clients, family and friends something that no one else at the Stampede gets to experience. Your chance to a part of this rare, behind-the-scenes experience is at the 2017 Canvas Auction, coming up on Thursday, March 23.
Here are 10 things that make being a chuckwagon advertiser one of the best ways to experience the Stampede. Period.
1. Feel the thunder of hooves and the excitement of the crowd as a wagon carrying your logo races around the track.
Hey everyone! Queen Meagan here!
One of the things we are asked quite frequently about is what drew us to want to become part of the Stampede Royalty trio.
Every time I watched the rodeo, I would get a rush of butterflies when the fireworks went off and the Ranch Girls and Royalty flooded the arena. I always thought to myself, “One day, I want to do that!”
There’s no question the historic OH Ranch is a special place. With the Calgary Stampede as a steward of the land, it remains a working cattle ranch with a remarkable history stretching back more than 130 years. But it’s not just that history that the Stampede strives to preserve on the 8,000 acre property along the Highwood River west of Longview.
It’s not uncommon for ranch manager Ken Pigeon and his wife Deb to spot a variety of wildlife on the land. The cold snap in January had many animals making their way a bit closer to the ranch buildings to forage for food.
On Saturday, February 4, the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP), in partnership with the Calgary Stampede, the Government of Canada, The City of Calgary, ENMAX and ATB hosted Building a Life in Calgary: A Community Cultural Exchange. CLIP organized the event for newcomers and refugees who have settled in Calgary in the last year. Hundreds of people gathered at BMO Centre for learning workshops, a resource fair and a cultural exchange, where newcomers had the chance to speak with immigrants from Vietnam, South Sudan and Colombia about their experiences settling in Calgary.
Calgary Stampede volunteers brought their A-game with authentic western experiences including the Incredi-Pull, Bluebell the milking cow, crafts and even horse-drawn wagon rides.
“This is a place where everyone is welcomed with dignity; nobody is tested for the income they make to feel good about themselves. It’s a place where we can overcome barriers – both physical and mental – and where community members don’t have to choose between rent and dinner,” explained Renee MacKillop, program manager at The Alex Centre, as she welcomed a team of Calgary Stampede employees to volunteer at the first ever community meal at the Calgary Community Food Centre.
The Alex Centre, since its inception in 1973, has saved millions in taxpayer dollars by moving people from poverty to stability and from crisis to wellness. Its focus is crisis prevention; as such, the community health, housing and food programs are aimed to break down social barriers.
The Alex Community Food Centre (CFC), the organization’s newest program, focuses on the importance of healthy food. The centre teaches community members the skills of cooking and shopping for healthy foods, and the importance of eating healthy to maintain energy and physical and mental wellness.
The Stampede Marketing & External Relations team was fortunate to be able to participate in the centre’s first ever community meal on Wednesday, January 25. The debut community meal was a partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide social, cultural, education and employment services to Aboriginal people within the Calgary area. MacKillop provided insight into the collaboration for the debut event by saying “The Alex Community Food Centre is really a place for joy, health and sharing culture.”
To prepare for the community meal the Stampede team helped set up the space to welcome visitors – including preparing place settings for 120 guests, organizing the food health library, cleaning the area and helping to build furniture.
Before the meal began, representatives from the Aboriginal Friendship Centre blessed the space to provide positive intentions for moving the future. During the delicious, locally-sourced, meal, the Stampede team helped plate foods, serve guests and wash dishes. The menu consisted of fresh foods such as root vegetables, roasted acorn squash, beet salad, elk stew and home-made bannock.
“My favourite part of the day was when, after the guests finished eating, they all joined together to do a traditional dance, led by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. I was so honoured to be invited into the dance circle where we all joined hands,” shared one Stampede participant. “It made me feel like we are all part of something greater, and all part of one community.”
The success of the debut community meal forecasted a busy future for the centre. Community meals will be served every second Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. at 3920 17 Ave SE. Fridays are fun too – The Alex provides drop-in smoothie making, where the smoothies are blended by the pedal-power of community members on stationary bikes. Learn more about The Alex Centre’s community programs here.