About Kristina Barnes, Communications Manager, Western Events & Agriculture

Communications Manager, Western Events & Agriculture

More than the Money – the Unique Partnership at the Back of the Track

John Walters isn’t easily shaken. A veteran chuckwagon driver, his previous career in rodeo included riding broncs and wrestling steers. But cowboy tough doesn’t always keep the nerves from getting to you. Especially when up on stage at the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction.

“There are definitely some butterflies in your stomach. It’s nerve-wracking, for sure,” Walters said with a grin, clearly back in his comfort zone after the bidding had ended and he was teamed up with the  Brakeman Foundation for the third year running.

Photo courtesy: Larry Kwan

Photo courtesy: Larry Kwan

The Canvas Auction is a high stakes event. Pegged as a yearly barometer of Calgary’s economy, the money raised also plays a big role in the success of a driver’s entire season. Continue reading

From the Stampede to the big screen

Jordie Fike, chuckwagon driver, dressed for his role in The Revenant.

Jordie Fike, chuckwagon driver, dressed for his role in The Revenant.

“They even yellowed our teeth, the attention to detail was unbelievable!”

Jordie Fike looks almost unrecognizable, dressed to perform as a Special Skill Extra, or SSE, for the highly acclaimed movie The Revenant. But as an accomplished chuckwagon driver and lifelong horseman, it wasn’t just his ability to look the part that secured Fike a position with the production filming on location in Alberta last spring.

“Chuckwagon drivers know how to take care of horses, that’s what we do.” says Fike, who also acted as a Wrangler for the shoot, adding “It’s the reason we were there, we know how to read their cues and react in any situation.”

Revenant - Academy Award nominations

The Revenant is nominated for 12 Academy Awards and has already won three Golden Globes with its dramatic action and striking scenes, many of which involve horses.  It is based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a trapper attacked by a bear and left for dead.  The film follows Glass as he struggles to return to civilization and seek revenge on those who abandoned him. Continue reading

Stampede Stock with a Sensational Start in 2016

Calgary Stampede bucking horses are off to a great start in 2016!  46 of our best are in the United States, putting up some big scores and wowing the crowds at their first rodeo of the year, the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.

“We had a great weekend, the horses were awesome!” said Keith Marrington, who travels with the stock for the Calgary Stampede. Crowds were huge at the performances on the first weekend of the rodeo, and Marrington says Stampede horses made a big impression. “All of our horses performed extremely well, with the highlight being R-82 Reckless Margie.”

Reckless Margie carried Texas cowboy Jake Brown for a 90 point ride in the Bareback event on Sunday. It was by far the biggest score of the first weekend of competition, and mirrors Reckless Margie’s success at the end of 2015 at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.  Jake Brown also rode well on another Calgary Stampede horse, Turkish Whisky, on Saturday.  He now leads the average in the Bareback riding by five points.

In Saddle bronc, our Umber Bubbles teamed up with Ben Londo for 83 points and a second round win on Sunday. But it’s Jacobs Crawley leading the average after rides on Stampede horses Mad Money and Loganberry.  Sitting in second after two is Clay Elliot, thanks in part to an 80 point score on Shoshone Mountain.

The horses will stay in Denver and continue competing though to January 24. They will then move from Colorado to Texas, for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in early February.

If you are curious about the individual scores our Calgary Stampede horses earn while on the road in the US, more information can be found in the Stock Stats section of the PRCA website.

Find out more about the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver here.

Celebrating CFR Success

The Calgary Stampede’s top bucking horses and bulls are back home at the Stampede Ranch, after a big five days of competition at the Canadian Finals rodeo.

Calgary Stampede horses at rest on the Stampede Ranch

Calgary Stampede horses at rest on the Stampede Ranch

Thirty horses and seven bulls from the Stampede herd were selected by the cowboys to compete at the finals because of their ability to consistently deliver big scoring rides. They didn’t disappoint, with a number of standout performances. Continue reading

Chuckwagon Drivers get ready to race under a new Calgary Stampede invitational format in 2016

The Calgary Stampede is introducing a new qualification process that is changing the way we select chuckwagon drivers for the GMC Rangeland Derby. Under the new format, drivers are now being invited to compete in 2016 based upon rankings of safety, competitiveness and professionalism.

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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.”

OH Ranch surpassed guests’ expectations during Alberta Open Farm Days

Breathtaking views and perfect late summer weather greeted nearly 500 guests at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch during this August’s Open Farm Days. For the first time since the historic property was gifted to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012, the OH Ranch opened its doors to the public for this unique event.


Guests learn about the North-West Mounted Police outpost at the OH Ranch

“I wanted to see it in the worst way” said Calgary Stampede volunteer alumnus Kevin Doyle, after taking the tour. “This country is one and a quarter steps from heaven. It really is special.” Those sentiments were echoed by many who took the opportunity to stop in for a visit. Some, like Doyle, have ties to the Calgary Stampede as volunteers or employees. Others curious about the OH Ranch came from as close by as Longview, Alberta to as far away as the Netherlands to see it for themselves. Continue reading

4-H Rodeo participants take Agrium Western Event Centre by storm

This summer, a dream came true for 16 year old Taylor Holt. “I’ve always watched the Calgary Stampede and it was so cool to compete there,” she said of taking part in the Stampede 4-H Rodeo. Holt is one of nearly 70 young athletes from 37 4-H clubs across Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia who came to Calgary for the annual event on August 22and 23.

“This is such a great event, 4-H is so amazing.” Holt said, after returning back home to British Columbia from the competition. Wins in the Senior Breakaway Roping and Goat Tying events, along with strong performances in three other events earned her the Senior High Point Championship. “I didn’t think I would win all-around, that was a bit of a surprise,” she admits, but adds it was well worth the drive to Calgary from Cranbrook, BC.

4-H1 4-H member competing in the Pole Bending Continue reading

A Summer of Success for Calgary Stampede Stock

Under bright blue skies, dozens of Calgary Stampede horses enjoy some rest and relaxation after a night at the rodeo. It’s life on the road. And judging by the recent run of success at rodeos south of the border, it’s a lifestyle that definitely agrees with them.

Pictured: Calgary Stampede horses in St. Paul, Oregon

Pictured: Calgary Stampede horses in St. Paul, Oregon

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OH Ranch Welcomes Hundreds During Alberta Open Farm Days

Fascinating. Beautiful. Incredible.

Those are just a few of the words visitors used to describe their experience at the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch for Alberta Open Farm Days! The Calgary Stampede is proud to have welcomed more than 500 people on Sunday, August 23. This is the first time, since the historic property was gifted to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012, that the OH Ranch has opened its gates to the public.


Pictured: guests listening to OH Ranch manager, Ken Pigeon

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Calgary Stampede Novice Tour Wraps up in Strathmore

A front row seat at the rodeo is always worth a little dirt in my lip gloss, and the Calgary Stampede’s top bucking horses and bulls were definitely kicking up the dust at the Strathmore Stampede this past weekend. Unable to make the finals on Monday, I knew I could still catch some great rides during the first performance on Friday. Lynx Mountain is one of our horses that cowboys can count on for a top score, and she did not disappoint. Josh Harden cashed in on her strength and consistency for an 85, putting him in a tie for first in Saddle Bronc and earning him trip to the finals on Monday.

Strathmore  Lynx Mountain

Pictured: Josh Harden riding Lynx Mountain.

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