How one chuckwagon driver started the tradition of Stampede pancake breakfasts

Howdy everyone!

Stampede is fast approaching, and for Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and me that means our schedule is getting pretty full. As you know, we’ve travelled all over the world and been to many different kinds of events during our reign. One thing that has a special place in my heart though, are the pancake breakfasts. As a trio, we’ve already attended dozens this year and we will be attending dozens more over the next couple of weeks. But what makes those early morning flapjacks so special? Why do we, as Albertans, always seem to pull out the griddles to celebrate rodeos, the end of school years and office parties? Well, I’ve done a little investigating and managed to find a pretty great story about the origins of pancake breakfasts…

Pancakes _2

The year was1923, a special one for the Calgary Stampede – it was the first time that it was held in conjunction with the annual Calgary Exhibition in late June/early July. Guy Weadick worked hard to make the 1923 Stampede a great one. Indeed, if you had a time machine and went back to that Stampede you’d actually recognize a lot. He enticed businesses to decorate, city folk to dress western, held the first chuckwagon races, and really pushed the whole city to embrace the celebration. There was dancing on Stephen Ave and lots of cowboys around. Weadick even persuaded some of the chuckwagon drivers to go downtown to give a glimpse of their wagons to the public on the morning of Thursday, July 9 (the first day of the Stampede).


There, they unloaded their stoves and set up shop, cooking pancakes. One of them, Jack Morton, started sharing flapjacks with the people who had come to watch and so the tradition of the pancake breakfast was born! The pancake breakfast became a Calgary symbol for western hospitality and has remained as such ever since. (Jack Morton, by the way, was a real character and known for generosity – he had a pet badger; there’s a story out there that when one of his friends had a few cattle die in a blizzard, Morton replaced the loss out of his own pocket.)

So there you have it folks, straight out of the Stampede Archives (shout out to Shannon Murray, Stampede History extraordinaire, for sharing this fun anecdote with me)! One thing I love most about Stampede is how it brings our city together, and the tradition of the pancake breakfast has not only stood the test of time, but become a signature sign of western welcome in this part of Canada that you don’t see anywhere else.

Pacake Breakfasts

Have you planned what pancake breakfast(s) you’ll be attending this year? The Stampede Caravan Committee has released a schedule of the breakfast they’ll be hosting throughout the ten days and there’s sure to be something near you. Check out their website at and be sure to keep an eye out for us, we just might be flipping your flapjacks one morning!

Only two days to go, can you believe it?!

Much love & happy trails,

Princess B

PS. Your 90’s Country Flashback Song of the Week is none other than Rodeo by my favourite, Garth Brooks. What better way to get in the spirit for Stampede, right?!

Stampede Royalty Sister Shout Out (& the Shaw GMC Yukon playlist)

Hey Cowboys and Cowgirls,

People often ask me what the highlight has been so far – and let me tell you, that’s a tough question to answer! Each event is a highlight for a different reason and every person we encounter shares a unique and interesting story. It’s a little crazy to think of all the opportunities and adventures that these last six(ish) months have given me – but I can say without a doubt, it would not have been the same without my Stampede Sisters by my side.

Western night

“On duty” at Flames Western Night

Since the night Princess Chelsey, Queen Maggie and I were crowned, we’ve been inseparable. At first, it was simply because our schedule was so hectic, we would have had to hang out whether we liked it or not. However, it didn’t take long to realize that these two were the warm hearted, positive kind of people I want to be surrounded by anyway.

We’ve made countless memories, shared numerous ab-working laughs and even dried a few tears through this journey, and I’m sure there is more to come. A lot of our time together is spent in the public eye as we are out and about representing the Calgary Stampede and we LOVE doing that, but I’m going to share just a couple of behind-the-scenes memories that you may not get to see.


Off duty at the Stampeders Western semi-final game


One thing is that Queen Maggie ALWAYS has a granola bar with her. Seriously, sometimes she even has a few different kinds. I think she lives off of them. However, she always offers to share the moment someone mentions hunger. Rest assured, whether we’re out at the barn or touring around town at events, out for a couple hours or all day, the girl has a stash of granola bars on hand.

Princess Chelsey has a very extensive baseball hat collection. Of course, these days she’s usually rocking a stunning white Smithbilt hat, but the girl loves her baseball hats too. We ride our horses multiple times a week and Princess Chelsey always rocks a baseball cap at the barn – and I don’t think we’ve seen her wear the same one twice!

Stampede Royalty_1

A collective ‘talent’ we’ve really fostered together is the beautiful art of car ride karaoke. Just ask our committee members that attend events with us, we are highly entertaining (especially super early in the morning). We love to blast a good tune, crank up the volume and dance in our seats as we sing along. We have a pretty eclectic music taste too; here is a little playlist to give you an idea of what it’s like in our Shaw GMC Yukon:

“You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC

“Hello” – Adele

“Wannabe” – Spice Girls (Check out our dance party to this tune here)

“Thunderstruck” – AC/DC

“Downtown” – Mackelmore

“Chicken Fried” – Zac Brown Band

“Back in Black” – AC/DC

“Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE

As you can tell, we really love AC/DC, and I really love these girls. I can honestly say they are a couple of my closest friends now and I could not picture experiencing this year without them. Even on our weekends off, we still find ourselves spending time together (and usually wearing coordinating outfits of some sort) or constantly having an iPhone group chat going on – I even got to celebrate my birthday with them this year!

Stampede Royalty_2

Celebrating my 24th birthday

I am so thankful to have Queen Maggie and Princess Chelsey by my side through this adventure. I’ve learned from them, I’ve laughed with them and I’ve found two very special friends that I will always cherish.

We can’t wait to see you all out in the community in the coming weeks! Oh, and if you hear AC/DC anywhere near Stampede Park, that’s probably thanks to us :)

Much love & happy trails,

Princess B

P.S. Your 90’s Country Flashback song of the week is Heroes & Friends by Randy Travis. “My heart rides the range with my heroes and friends”

Meet our Princes!


Howdy everyone & Happy New Year!

As Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I prepare for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and continue our journey as the Royal Trio, we find ourselves spending a lot of time with three dashing princes – our horses, of course! Riding is a big part of becoming a Stampede Queen or Princess; there are three different equestrian portions throughout our competition and improving our horsemanship is an integral part of our year as Stampede Royalty. Banner1

Queen Maggie, Princess Chelsey and I riding Snoopy, Hawk and Kansas in our final riding competition

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Taking Our Stampede Spirit to the 103rd Grey Cup

Howdy! Princess Bailee here, back to tell you all about the fantastic time we had in Winnipeg celebrating the Grey Cup this weekend. The Royalty Trio has been going to the Grey Cup for a very long time, and we want to give a huge shout out to the Calgary Grey Cup Committee for inviting us to join them again this year, and for being such wonderful hosts. We started our week off by visiting St. Gerard School to bring a western style party for the students and staff! We had great music, line dancing, tons of “ya-hoos”, and a room full of fabulously decorated cowboy hats. The students’ spirit was contagious and we had a blast singing, dancing, and conga-lining with everyone!

 Two Stepping

Two stepping with a young cowboy at St. Gerard School Continue reading

Introducing Queen Maggie!

Howdy everyone! This is one of your 2016 Calgary Stampede Princesses, Bailee Billington. I am so excited to be a part of the new Royal Trio and to have the opportunity to share our journey with you. But enough about me, today I am here to tell you about a fellow Stampede sister, your 2016 Queen Maggie Shortt. Maggie is a fun, kind, sincere cowgirl from Strathmore, Alberta. She’s been riding for most of her 21 years, on her horses Shake ‘n’ Bake, Alex and now Hawk (her Stampede Prince for the year). She got her start in the horse world volunteering with her dad at Horse Haven farms, helping with chores, grooming and cleaning tack. Maggie has done a little bit of everything in the English and Western riding worlds including jumping, dressage, gymkhana and being a member of the Calgary Stampede Showriders for four years. Maggie spends most of her spare time in the saddle, but also loves to cuddle up with her cat Bubba and read.


A young Queen Maggie volunteering with miniature horses at Horse Haven Farms.

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