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.

An Interview with Princess Chelsey

Howdy everyone!

Queen Maggie here. It’s so good to be back! Hope everyone stayed well over the holidays. I’m here today to fill you in on the fun loving, bow hunting, show jumping Princess, Chelsey Jacobson.

Chelsey was born in Thunder Bay Ontario and moved to Alberta at the ripe old age of three. Chelsey grew up as your typical horse-crazy kid, toting around on whatever horse or pony was on the acreage at the time. She started riding English when she was about 12 and soon discovered showjumping. Chelsey went off to Olds College before beginning to work in the sport horse world on a breeding and training farm, then for a few well-respected trainers in the jumping world, before deciding to try something new and winding up here!

Maggie1

Chelsey as a young goat wrangler.

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Introducing Princess Bailee

Hey y’all! This is Chelsey Jacobson, one of the Stampede Princesses for 2016 and I wanted you guys to get to know my fellow Princess, Bailee Billington a little bit better! But first, I have to say how thrilled I am to be a part of the Royal Trio for this year, I don’t think I’ve come down from Cloud nine yet.

Now let’s meet Bailee!

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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.

Maggie

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

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Celebrating the Year of the Horse on Stampede Park

In addition to The Peking Acrobats, you can find a few touches of the east in our wild west to celebrate the Year of the Horse.

Martial arts and dance groups from the local Chinese community are here performing the Lion Dance.

Lion Dancers Stampede 2014 (phot taken by Baruch Laskin)5

The groups include World Pak Mei Hup Ging Do Martial Arts Association, Kugekai Lion Dance Team, Jing Wo Martial Arts & Athletics Association of Canada and Bak Mei Chin-na San-da Academy.

The Kugekai Lion Dance Team is a local performance art group based in Calgary. Over the last two decades, they have treated Calgarians with the traditional art of Chinese Lion Dancing. While retaining most of the traditional elements, they infuse modern moves and stunts to keep things fresh!

Here are a few fun facts about Lion Dancing:
- it ushers in good luck and fortune
- the loud music drives away bad spirits
- we only take slight offense when it’s referred to as “Dragon Dancing”
- people sometimes mistakenly hear it as “Line Dancing” – which makes for some interesting conversations!

Look for them around the Midway!

Meet the 2014 Dream Project Winners

Every year in February, the Calgary Stampede Lotteries and Homes by Avi send out an invitation to the art community for submissions for their Dream Project (formerly known as the Next Top Artist). The winner of this contest has the opportunity to have their art displayed in the Stampede Rotary Dream Home for the duration of Stampede. Not only will over 100,000 people will see their art but they also receive an art exhibit with Gibson Fine Art following the Stampede. How amazing would that be?

It never ceases to amaze us how talented Calgary is and this year was no different. After hours of deliberation a team of panelists has chosen a winner. Or should I say winners…

For the first time in history, the Dream Project had a tie – between sisters. It is my pleasure to introduce Michelle and Stephanie Hoogveld.

2014 Dream Projects Winners

2014 Dream Project Winners

What inspired you to become an artist?

S: I’ve always enjoying creative activities but it all started after I completed my math degree, when our two older sisters were getting married. We were brainstorming ideas for a wedding gift, and Michelle whom has always been very much involved in art, suggested we create a painting together. It was from that moment on I knew I loved painting and wanted to pursue it further! So I suppose I was inspired by all of my three sisters and I haven’t put down my brushes ever since.

M: I don’t know that it was something specific that inspired me to be an artist. Rather, I believe it was quite intrinsic; something deep within that naturally led me towards artistry.  Since I was very young, I have always been drawn towards those who use their hands to create. The idea of taking an inspired thought and developing it into something tangible has always and will always drive me as an artist.

Who has been your biggest influencer as an artist?

M: I feel like that is something that is constantly changing, especially depending on the direction of my work. Currently, a Canadian artist by the name of Andrew Salgado has definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities of where one can take his/her passion to. He is young, driven and good at what he does. You can see the amount of heart he puts into his craft and that, without a doubt is incredibly admirable.

S: Tony O’Connor – an Equine artist based in Ireland. His paintings are incredible and I feel we share a similar style. He also entertains his viewers with Witty banter and inspirational quotes that motivate me every time I see his work.

My family and friends have also been great influences as they have been so supportive and encouraging while providing constructive feedback that I am extremely grateful for. Their influence has helped me develop into the artist I am today.

How would you describe your style of painting?

S: My favorite genre to paint is horses although I also enjoy painting tree landscapes and Dutch Bicycles. I especially love capturing my travels through photographs and then expressing them on canvas or wood using acrylic paint.  I select colors to portray a specific mood or memory that I had in those moments. My paintings vary from bright colorful pieces that reflect a playful joy as well as my monochromatic work which portrays a sense of compassion for the given subject.

Stephanie Hoogveld

Stephanie Hoogveld

M: My work is a layered culmination of found objects, photographs and oil paint. My paintings bring together both realistic and abstract elements in a very premeditated yet spontaneous and intuitive way. I am drawn towards painting people, but always try to add depth into my paintings through the textured manipulation of mediums.

Michelle Hoogveld

Michelle Hoogveld

How will winning the Dream Project change your career?

M: For me it already has. This project has led me towards truly discovering my own style as an artist. I finally feel that I have found a direction with my work and what that will look like in the future. With the amount of exposure this project will receive, it will definitely allow for my work and my style to be further recognized and hopefully will serve as a gateway for future projects and greater exposure for the arts in Calgary.

S: The entire premise of the Dream Project aligns perfectly with my goal as an artist. That is, I would like to paint for a good cause and ultimately spread happiness among others. The Dream Project is all about giving back to the community and as an artist, my goal is to inspire and to reach out the those who need support. This is an incredible opportunity that offers exposure, future connections and potential sales. But not only that, it provides a launching pad to start a foundation in honour of my mother, that I hope will inspire and change the lives of those touched by leukemia and lymphoma. The Foundation will be called The Sky Painters Foundation and by winning competitions like the Dream Project, I am able to share my artwork and ultimately gain support for a cause that is very close to my heart.

What’s your favourite Stampede Memory?

S: My favorite stampede memory was being selected as best new artist at the 2013 Calgary Stampede Western Art Showcase, and honoring my mom through my paintings, specifically a piece titled “A Mother’s Way.” Winning that award was a very special moment that I will never forget.

M: I have a soft spot for the legendary pancake breakfasts. I love throwing on my cowboy boots and meeting up with my family, particularly my nieces and nephews, to simply take in the sunshine, a good pancake doused in syrup all while enjoying the live music and performances.

Want to purchase tickets to win the Rotary Stampede Dream Home or other amazing prizes? Buy advance tickets and get:

  • 12 tickets for the Rotary Stampede Dream Home
  • 8 tickets for the Kinsmen Wheels
  • Park admission
  • 50% off Calgary Stampede Rodeo or Evening Show Tickets (limited quantities available)

Check out the Great Stampede Lotteries website for information.

Meet the 2013 Next Top Artist!

After months and months (okay an exaggeration, it was only two months) of searching through photos from our incredibly talented city, the Next Top Artist (whose paintings will decorate the walls of the 2013 Stampede Rotary Dream Home) has been decided by the design crew at Homes by Avi and Gibson Fine Art.

I’d like to introduce you to Caroline Stanley – a young, talented artist who with her trusted side kick (a very cute dog named Sisquo (pronounced sisco, who granted spends most of his time sleeping, but is helpful nonetheless) is currently putting the finishing touches on 30 pieces to hang on the walls for over 100,000 people to see. With four paint brushes in her hand (she can hold as many as six) and a palette of oil paint, she took the time to give me a brief tour of her studio and a sneak peek at the art for our Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Dream Home.

1)  What is your educational background?
I always took any and all art classes in school and enjoyed it so much that I took extra classes at an art studio during junior/senior high school. After graduation I went to the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2003 to do a 4 year bachelor of fine arts degree, majoring in painting.

2)  What inspired you to become an artist?
I can’t think of one thing in particular that really inspired me to be an artist; it’s just always something I’ve done, enjoyed and been good at. Growing up I had an abundance of smelly markers and crayons, and when I was about 10 or 11 I was obsessed with The Lion King and had a binder full of free-hand drawings I did of all the characters! After high school, I didn’t really know what to do besides art so art school just seemed like the right place to go.

3)  Who has been your biggest influencer as an artist?
There have been different teachers and artists at different stages along the way. One teacher I took classes from around age 15-18 helped me understand a few essential things about being an artist; that we are a little unique and see things differently than most (like staring at a glass of water, studying how the light reflects off it) and also that making and showing a work of art to the public or other artists can feel like you’re exposing all your secrets to the world.  His influence helped me see that I wasn’t alone in the way I thought and felt.  His encouragement helped me believe I had a talent I could do something with.

4)  How would you describe your style of painting?
Haha people always ask me this and I don’t really know! Maybe I just don’t want to restrict myself to a labeled box. I like to play so given the chance I feel like my art can take on different styles. But I guess if I had to pin it down for now I’d say something like saturated realism, saturated being that I tend to intensify colours. I love patterns and colours and design so when I’m out and about these are the types of things that catch my eye that I want to capture. While most people would be looking at the big picture of beauty, the mountains and the lake and the sky, I would be fascinated by small details like the colour of bark on a tree or the way the water moves over rocks. (Side note about Caroline’s studio – there is a wall of inspiration that contains close up photos of nature that depict the small details of colour and beauty that is often overlooked)

5)  If you could purchase one piece of art to hang in your living room – who would it be by?
Hmm…This is a really hard choice; I really enjoy Jon Hartman’s paintings. The huge cityscapes from a bird’s eye view, I love his use of colour and line and how they have a playful ease to them.

6)  How will winning the Next Top Artist change your career?
Winning this competition still seems crazy to me, unreal, even though I’m working on all the paintings for it. It was such a shock to even make it into the top 5, not a change of direction I was expecting so suddenly. Since graduating ACAD in 2007, I’ve been doing a lot of pet portrait commissions (except for the 2 years I spent traveling). This has been my main source of income and what many now know me as; “the girl who paints dogs!”. It’s great to actually be functioning as a fulltime artist and painting a subject that I love (dogs) but there’s been an itch in my fingers for a few years for a way to expand into something else, but with my lively hood depending on sustaining the commissions and some fear about “well what else can I paint? and once I do, what do I do with it?” it’s been hard to seriously branch out into anything else. Winning this has essentially provided a huge switch in the tracks!

Having only 3 months to complete an entire body of work has forced me to put all the dog paintings on hold and focus on painting nature, a subject I’ve been taking close-up pictures of for years. It’s been a nice change of scenery, reminding myself that I’m more than a painter of dogs, and hopefully others will see that too.

The representation at Gibson Fine Art will also be huge, my art hanging in a gallery?! It’s kind of something I wasn’t sure would ever happen! Honestly I didn’t really have an aim or goal in mind for my art. I was just doing what I do, taking things as they come, keeping my eyes open for potential doors and I guess just having faith that something would come when it was meant to. Then this opportunity falls in my lap. Just nuts! So being given this opportunity will definitely change my art career, to what extent I’m not sure (I still have maaannnnyy people waiting for dog portraits!) but it’s given me an outlet for another avenue of my art which I’m very thankful for. Overall I’m excited about the chance to capture nature through paint, having my art seen by thousands of people during the Stampede and after, and just being able to express the beauty of intricate designs, colours and patterns for the viewer to experience. It’s an unbelievable honour.

7)  What’s your favourite Stampede memory?
My favourite Stampede memory is going as a little kid: they use to have duck and pig races that were awesome! The ducks would race waddle around the track and then climb up a little ramp and go down a slide into a kiddy pool full of water at the end. And the little pigs would just run like crazy! It was great! Come to think of it, I wonder how they got the ducks to ‘race’?

8)  What Stampede Midway food do you love?
Stampede food has got to be mini doughnuts. Corndogs are also delicious!

Looking for more information on Caroline’s artwork – browse her website or follow her progress on the Stampede artwork on Facebook.

Want to purchase tickets to win the Rotary Stampede Dream Home or other amazing prizes? Buy advance tickets and get:

  • 11 tickets for the Rotary Stampede Dream Home
  • 9 tickets for the Kinsmen Wheels
  • Entry into Early Bird Prize draws on June 11 (if purchased by May 24!)
  • Park admission
  • 50% off Calgary Stampede Rodeo or Evening Show Tickets (limited quantities available)

Check out the Great Stampede Lotteries website for information.

Countdown is on to the 2013 Calgary Stampede!

 

Interview with Aaron Miller, Youth Speech and Debate Committee Chair

The Stampede is more than just the grounds, the rodeo and the cowboys. Volunteers are out and about in the downtown core, in shopping malls serving up breakfasts, and in our schools! The Youth Speech and Debate Committee engage area students and gets them involved in the Stampede year round.

I had a chance to catch up with the Chair of this committee, Aaron Miller, during this year’s Stampede. Here’s what he had to say!

What Stampede Committee do you participate in and what keeps you involved?

I am Chair of Youth Speech & Debate. Well, I have always loved the Stampede and how it preserves and promotes our Western heritage.

Second, I love formal debate and speech. So naturally, this committee was a nice fit!

What did you enjoy most this Stampede?

So much to choose from! But I have to say, the Chucks. I just love the Chucks. I tried to make it out every night!

Tell us your favorite Stampede volunteering story?

That is easy: when the mother of one of our debaters came up to me and said, “thank you for all your committee does. Public speaking has been such a catalyst for my daughter in terms of confidence, and coming out of her shell. Thank you for providing her with this opportunity.”

Favorite midway treat?

Still, nothing beats good ol beef on a bun. I am old school!!!

What’s your most memorable Stampede experience?

It is the same experience every year: Simply walking around downtown, or the grounds, in my boots and hat, being friendly to everybody, lending a hand, and respecting the land. That is what being Albertan is all about!

Thanks Aaron! Thanks for engaging youth in speech and debate … and the Calgary Stampede!

PP

10 Questions With…Steve LeManne, Cake Posse & Centennial Team Member

Centennial Cakes have been popping up all over Alberta this spring and summer with one of our really great special teams this year: the Cake Posse!  The cakes are just one of the ways we’re joining with communities for their local events and celebrations. They’re also sweet reminders to come celebrate with us! So far cakes have been booked for everything from the Rick Hansen Foundation Party to the 100th birthday party of Stampede fan Frances O’Lesk.

I had a chance to sit down and chat with Steve LeManne, Centennial Coordinator for this year’s Calgary Stampede. He’s got a pretty fabulous job- helping to orchestrate the largest 100th birthday party this city (and likely country!) has ever seen. Read on as we get to know Steve a bit better. There are just two days left to partake in our incredible Centennial celebrations, so I hope you are able to make the most of it Calgary!

1. How did you get involved with the Centennial Team, and how long have you been involved with the Calgary Stampede?

I started with the Calgary Stampede as a member of the Showband back in the fall of 1995.  After marching for 4 years, I became a contract staff member with the band for the next 10 years.  At some point I realized how much the Stampede meant to me so in 2008, while I was still on staff with the Showband, I became a full time staff member with the Merchandise department.

The Centennial Team was put together following Stampede 2011. The posting went out in May last year, and immediately I realized how amazing this opportunity would be- that I couldn’t pass up this once in a life time experience.  I applied, and the rest is history.  I’ve been in this position since last August.

2. What are some of the initiatives driven by the Centennial Team this year?

The ideas and planning for some of the Centennial initiatives has been going on for more than 2 years.  The initiatives that we are specifically driving are Trans Alta Light Up the City, My Stampede, White Hat Roundup and the Cake Posse.

 3. Can you describe what makes this year, the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, so special? 

For me, the Stampede is so special because of the way it unites the community for 10 days every year.  We are a volunteer driven organization with almost 3000 active volunteers, so the community plays a key role 365 days a year. But for that 10 days, the window paintings and decor, the pancake breakfasts, the way people dress…we embrace those 10 days and come together to put on a great event, not just on Stampede Park but city wide.

 4. Do you have some must-see activities for our patrons, whether this is their 1st Stampede or their 100th

Every year the Rodeo and the Evening Show are an absolute must.  This year, I’m personally really excited about the entertainment at Bell Centennial Plaza and of course the Centennial Zip line.

5. Could you tell us a little about what the Cake Posse is? Is there a rough estimate of how many cakes your team has served up thus far this year?

Our message this year is “We’re Greatest Together”.  Again, it speaks to the relationship between the Stampede and the City of Calgary.  The Cake Posse is a way for us to go out into the community and help Calgarians in celebration at their various events.  We’ve brought cake to hockey games, concerts, luncheons, dinners, anniversaries, grand openings, gala events and even a few 100th birthday parties.

By the end of Stampede, we’ll probably brought cake to over 130 separate events and given out close to 500 slabs of cake.  At around 85 pieces per slab…..that’s a lot of cake!

6. That sounds like a lot of cake!! Where would one find this team on a daily basis for the 10-day Stampede?

During the 10-day Stampede, cake is all over the place.  We are popping up at various community events throughout the city. We are also serving cake to guests at Stampede park every day when the clock strikes 19:12 at the AG 100 Celebration in Victoria Pavilion. (* Sarah’s note: don’t miss this super special opportunity on park!)

7. Do you have one standout memory from all your years being involved with the Stampede? 

My favorite memory goes back to when I was a member of the Showband. The first time you get to step onto the Grandstand stage under the lights and perform for all those people, some who have come from all over the world to be there….a truly awe-inspiring moment!

8. What do you see for the future of the Calgary Stampede? 

I see the Calgary Stampede continually growing in the future.  And not just the physical size of the park, but also in community involvement.  As a not for profit organization, we already re-invest all of our revenue back into the organization and community, but I see us able to take even greater steps in the future.  The Youth Campus will be prime example of this. When completed, will be the most amazing collection of facilities for the youth of Calgary to be involved in the arts.

9. What are you most looking forward to during this year’s 10-day Stampede?

Being involved in the planning for the past year and hearing about all the different things going on to make this year so special, I’m really looking forward to exploring every corner of the park and seeing what all of our different committees and departments have done to make this edition of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth truly the greatest!

10. Our committee is putting together a Time Capsule that will be opened 100 years from now. If you could include one item, what would it be and why? 

I would have to say I would like to contribute a Cake Posse name tag or shirt.

Steve, thank you for sharing your time with me during such a busy 10-days of Calgary Stampede! I am going to hold you to that Time Capsule donation! : )

10 Questions With … Mark G. Damm, Chuckwagon Committee Chair

Mark checking the soil on the track (‘in the dirt’)

Morning Calgary!

How have you been enjoying your Centennial Calgary Stampede thus far? I know for myself, it has easily been one of the greatest experiences of my life to date. The energy in the city feels more contagious: everywhere you look everyone is sharing in this incredible moment in our history together. I’ve said it before, but I will say it once more- I am truly so lucky to be a volunteer for such an incredible organization as it brings me opportunities I would never normally have a chance to have. One such occasion is the topic of my blog this morning- interviewing the Chair of the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon committee, Mark G. Damm.

Mark epitomizes all we hold dear here at the Calgary Stampede- preserving and promoting western heritage and values. Overseeing a committee of 42 volunteers is no easy task- so I was thrilled when he not only agreed to in interview, but also a behind the scenes barns tour as well. (I had to pinch myself at that point to ensure this was all really about to happen). Please read on as I get to know one of our incredible volunteers.

Bar 80 , the newly registered brand for the Chuckwagon Committee

1. How did you get involved with Chuckwagons?

I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and have been involved in farming and ranching all of my life. I became a Chuckwagon racing fan in my teens and have followed the sport closely since coming to Calgary in 1990.  The 2012 Centennial Stampede will be my 21st Stampede as a volunteer, and my 9th as a member of the Chuckwagon committee.  I  was  recruited  by, and  transferred to the  Chuckwagon committee, in January 2004.

2. What have been some of your roles on the committee?

I started in the “Eye in the Sky” as a member of the Production Team and have been the Track Manager for each GMC Rangeland Derby for the past five years, controlling the flow of the races and calling the racing heats on to the track.  As a member of the committee executive during the same timeframe, I have been involved in all aspects of the committee from budgeting and yearly planning, Stampede branding and marketing, to personnel and recruiting, to all elements of racing,  and  long-term  strategic planning, with an emphasis  on ensuring the longevity of the sport, both generally, and in particular, at the Stampede.

Infield at the Chucks & Executive Office happenings.

 3. I can tell you’re very passionate about the sport and the people involved in it. What makes the Chucks at Calgary Stampede so special?

Chuckwagon racing is a true family sport – from the drivers and outriders and their families, to the Stampede “family” of staff and volunteers, particularly the members of the Chuckwagon committee. It is the people themselves that make this sport so great – and of course, there are a lot of shall we say, “colourful characters”, involved in the sport!

4. It takes a lot of people to put this all together, how do you do it?

Not much sleep and a lot of pain, sweat and tears!  Seriously, we have great support from the management and staff of the Calgary Stampede- but it is the forty-two members of the Stampede Chuckwagon Committee that work their tails off year-round,  and put in ridiculous hours for the two weeks surrounding  the “Big Show”  that  make  it  all  happen.    We  also have  an  additional thirty ten day volunteers that help us out immensely during the 10-days of Stampede itself.

5. How long is an average day for you and your fellow volunteers during the 10-day show?

From sunrise, to long after sunset!  Chuckwagon committee members put in an average of 18 to 20 hour days commencing on the Tuesday before Parade Day, through to the end of the 10-day show!

Various Chuckwagon Committee Members in the Centennial Parade, Walking thru the barns & Checking out Mark’s favourite wagon paint job.

6. Do you have one standout memory from all your years at the track?

To date it would be during the 2010 GMC Rangeland Derby, when “The King” Kelly Sutherland won his 11th GMC Rangeland Derby during a very tough spell for the Sutherland family — Kelly was in tears on stage speaking about his wife, Debbie, and his family.  Equally memorable was when Jason Glass  won the Guy Weadick Award and  spoke fondly of his grandmother (the matriarch of Chuckwagon racing) the late Iris Glass.  …so you can see how it is all about the people of Chuckwagon racing!

 7. Can you give a little bit of insight into what happens behind the scenes in the barns?

The Chuckwagon Barns are a working barn area and the temporary home of our equine athletes, the true stars of Chuckwagon racing!  It is akin to the garage and pit area of a NASCAR or Formula One race, except add horses and everything that goes with them!  The barns are a beehive of activity from 6:00 am practice on the track, morning chores, mid-morning video review by the drivers and outriders of the previous nights’ races, afternoon naps and then starting at about 4:00 p.m. the electricity and excitement builds leading up to the evening’s racing.  Another element is the exclusive hosting by canvas   advertisers and the Chuckwagon committee that occurs every evening both pre and post-racing.

Golf carts are the preferred mode of transport in the barns!

8. For newcomers to the Stampede, what do you think is the most exciting aspect of coming down to watch the Chucks and stay for the Grandstand Show?

In one word it has to be that the Show which we are putting on is unique – from four wagons and twenty-four horses racing around the track during each of nine nightly heats come rain or shine and the sounds, smells and colours of the GMC Rangeland Derby, to the amazing Grandstand Show put on every night by our own Young Canadians – it is such a unique, and world-class event… words don’t do it justice – you have to see, feel and hear it to believe it.

9. Social media is quickly becoming a very important way of communicating- how has your committee adopted this new form of correspondence?

The Chuckwagon committee has massively ramped up its presence on both Facebook and Twitter (@CSChuckwagons), and several of the committee including myself (@MGDamm) have engaged social media to provide an insider’s perspective on the sport, the committee itself and the GMC Rangeland Derby!

10. Our committee is putting together a Time Capsule that will be opened 100 years from now. If you could include one item, what would it be and why?

On March 29, 2012, the committee hosted the 2012 Centennial Chuckwagon Canvas Auction for the thirty-six drivers that would compete in the Centennial GMC Rangeland Derby from July 6 – 15, 2012. The thirty-fourth annual Canvas Auction set new records for both the highest cumulative total bid (namely $4,015,000.00) and the highest single bid ($300,000.00 by Tervita for twelve-time Rangeland Derby winner Kelly Sutherland). Each high bidding advertiser at the Auction successfully purchasing the right to advertise on a chuckwagon canvas received a Limited Edition 2012 Centennial Canvas Auction Advertiser Buckle, and a thirty-seventh buckle was created to commemorate the 2012 Centennial Auction.

The Chuckwagon committee, on behalf of our forty-two hard working full committee members is presenting a Limited Edition Centennial Canvas Auction Advertiser Buckle, (numbered 37) as our contribution to the NGC Centennial Time Capsule– in commemoration of our record setting 2012 Auction and the Stampede Centennial!

Mark, thank you for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule to meet with me and make one of my Stampede dreams come true. The barns are a fascinating place where you can feel the family energy and love. Also, we as a committee officially thank you and your fellow members for your contribution to the Centennial Time Capsule. It is an item that will hold a tremendous amount of significance one hundred years from now. We’re Greatest Together! 

Mason and Mark – thanks for the tour guys!

Interview with Stampede Promotions Committee Volunteer, Don Wilson

Stampede is as much about what goes on off the grounds as it is what goes on at the grounds during the 10 days of celebration.

Don Wilson is a proud Stampede volunteer and not only works tirelessly on the Stampede Promotions Committee but provides the entertainment at Stampede Caravan breakfasts around the city – he’s the one on the bass guitar so make sure you wave and say hi!

What Stampede Committee do you participate in and what keeps you involved?
I’m with the Stampede Promotions Committee and it’s a terrific group to be with. We work on a number of events throughout the year and it’s the fun we have together that keeps me involved.

What are you most looking forward to this Stampede?
I’m really looking forward to celebrating the Stampede Centennial this year. 100 years is a major milestone and is something we can all be very proud of. The legend really does continue.

Tell us your favorite Stampede volunteering story?
One Stampede story that sticks out in my mind involved a bunch of seniors in wheelchairs. They were all lined up in front of the Stampede Stage waiting to be entertained when the rain started. Some folks ran out and covered them with plastic and some umbrellas and none of them moved from their spots. They sat out front in the rain and listened to us play an entire set of music. I went down after our set and thanked each and every one of them. I thought that was fantastic and really demonstrated the true stampede experience.

Favorite midway treat?
Definitely those “mini donuts”!

What’s your most memorable Stampede experience?
My most memorable Stampede experience was when my young nieces came to visit and I took them to the Stampede. We did everything you could possibly do and had an absolute blast. It was one of the best days ever for all of us. They’re both married now but when we get together we still talk about our Stampede experience that day. That’s definitely what Stampede memories are made of. I feel truly blessed.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule Don and thanks for making sure all Calgarians are entertained during the 10 days of Stampede! 

- Christina

Interview with Stampede Caravan committee volunteer, Danelle Wettstein

Stampede is as much about what goes on off the grounds as it is what goes on at the grounds during the 10 days of celebration. A major component of “off ground” activities include those yummy Stampede Caravan breakfasts!  

Danelle Wettstein is a proud Stampede volunteer and wakes up early each morning of Stampede to make sure our tummies are full of Stampede goodness – bring on the pancakes! 

What Stampede Committee do you participate in and what keeps you involved?

I’m a member of the renowned Caravan Committee. We roll out of bed between 4:30 and 6am for eight days of Stampede (Saturday to Saturday) to make sure Calgarians and tourists alike can partake in our famous pancakes! I think it’s the variety of people we see at the breakfasts that really interests me. Some people who drop by for pancakes will not step foot on the Stampede grounds during the 10 days for various reasons, so it’s nice to be able to bring our hospitality to their corner of the city for a couple of hours. And people are so happy to be receiving their breakfast for free – they’ll thank us multiple times and some tourists seem a little stunned that nobody is collecting money from them at any point in time!

The people on the committee are great, too – ironically, many of the 150+ of us aren’t morning people at all, but we manage to laugh our way through the breakfasts and have fun doing it!

What are you most looking forward to this Stampede?

Seeing what the crowds are like. Being the 100th anniversary, I’m looking forward to HUGE droves of people. I hope we set some records for numbers fed! And being a part of the social media committee – even if I never end up seeing some of the people in person (sometimes we serve 8,000 in two hours at just ONE breakfast) they seem to appreciate when we answer questions or connect on Twitter or Facebook during or after the event.

On the personal front, I have a friend coming in from Australia who has never been to the Calgary Stampede, so it’ll likely be a whole new experience for me as a tour guide. I usually hit up the tarmac to watch the Chucks and Grandstand Show a few times during the week, but now I’m racking my brain for what the hot spots are on the grounds for people who’ve never been.

Tell us your favorite Stampede volunteering story?

There are many but it never ceases to amaze me how positive people are, despite the weather. Last year at Southcentre it was POURING. We tried making ponchos out of garbage bags and had to push the rain off the tents underneath with a broom as it was pooling in spots. But most people were still smiling as they waited in the downpour for their breakfast (and then high-tailed it to their cars or the mall to actually eat).

Favorite midway treat?

Deep-fried Oreos, but I can only eat one (Oreo, not a bag!) before I have to stop. So I give the rest of the bag to whomever I’m with.

What’s your most memorable Stampede experience?

I’m a born & raised Calgarian so I’ve seen pretty much all of the Stampedes for the last 28 years – there are a lot of moments. Watching my sister on stage as a Young Canadian was a pretty special year. All of my most memorable moments include people, though – whether it be my family, friends or fellow Caravan volunteers.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule Danelle and thanks for making sure all Calgarians have full stomachs for their 10 days of Stampede!

- Christina

10 Questions With….2012 Stampede Royalty (Queen Candice, Princess Dani & Princess Jessica)

Happy Canada Day everyone! We’re just 5 days away from what is shaping up to be one of the biggest celebrations our city has ever seen. I know I can hardly wait….are you excited yet??

Being a Calgary Stampede volunteer & blogger sure is a great opportunity- one I don’t take lightly- especially when interviewing a Queen and two Princesses! Read on to find out more about our beautiful 2012 Stampede Royalty. (and in case you missed my posts about our 2012 Indian Princess, you can catch them here and here).

1. Congratulations on your 2012 Centennial Calgary Stampede Royalty selection! Tell us a bit about how the competition went, what lead you to this point- have you always dreamed of being a part of the Stampede Royalty?

Candice:  We are all excited to be selected for Stampede Royalty this year; it’s been such an amazing experience! For me this has always been a dream of mine. I used to picture myself running in for grand entry and the fact that it’s actually happening this summer is still so surreal. What really lead me to try out for the royalty was the thought of being an ambassador for Calgary and the Calgary Stampede.

The contest itself is quite an experience on its own. Within the month of September you see yourself change and become more confident in who you are and why you are there. With all the impromptu speaking, mix and mingling, riding, interviews and more, you really get a taste of what it would be like to be in the royalty.

2. The Stampede Royalty is rich in tradition thru the history of the Calgary Stampede. How does it feel to be a part of this history now?

Candice: This question is definitely one that gives me butterflies every time I hear it!

The thought of looking back in 50 years and seeing our photos in history books is something all of us will be able to cherish forever. We all live the lifestyle of western heritage and values, and being able to carry that on as the younger generation – it’s something that I believe the older generation can find comfort in. These values will always be something embedded in the roots of Calgary, and to carry on the tradition makes all of us so proud.

3. How many public appearances does Stampede Royalty usually attend during the year, and more specifically…how many during the 10-day Stampede? You must have a very organized group of volunteers keeping you on top of everything!

Candice: We have an amazing committee that works endless hours keeping our schedule straight and running successfully! Because it’s a very special year, we will be doing a little over 500 events, about 170 will be throughout the 10 days of Stampede! We have been all over the place leading up to the celebration. I am excited to experience all the craziness that the 10 day show will bring!

4. Your schedule sounds grueling but also quite exhilarating. Has there been a highlight event you’ve attended thus far?

Jessica: We have attended so many amazing events this year, it is hard to pick just one. I would have to say that the most incredible experience for me has been our trip to Berlin, Germany. While we were in Berlin, we attended the world’s largest tourism convention called the ITB. For three days we met people from all around the world and learned a great deal about many other cultures. We are so blessed to be in this role, sharing the spirit of the Stampede  (including as our western heritage) all around the world. It was truly an amazing experience!

5. Surely after spending so much time with the other Royalty, including the Indian Princess, you’ve formed great friendships that will last a lifetime. Could you tell us a bit about each of them?

Jessica: We have definitely gotten to know each other very well; I could go on for several paragraphs about each of my Stampede Sisters!

Dani is a wonderful girl who is very sweet and has a great sense of humor. She is also a tough, ranch raised cowgirl who is not afraid to speak her mind. She has a deep love for her Appaloosa horses that she uses in extreme cowboy competitions, and she is currently working towards her degree in nursing. Dani is also an extremely talented ringette player; I have no doubt she will be a future Olympian!

Candice is a proud, born and raised Calgarian who is not afraid to wake up at 4am to pursue her passion: fitness and personal training. She makes us laugh with her constant movie impressions- there is rarely a dull conversation had between the four of us. She is very family oriented and would do anything for any of her Stampede Sisters. Candice currently lives with her parents on their acreage outside of Cochrane, where she keeps her Buckskin mare named Grace. When she isn’t representing the Stampede, she competes in Reining with her horses. Candice will be pursuing a degree in human kinetics in Kelowna after passing on her crown this fall. She also loves challenging herself with CrossFit, and plans to compete next year.

Amelia is a beautiful, proud and very intelligent representative of the Stampede as well as Treaty 7 from the Piikani Nation, near Pincher Creek. Amelia is passionate about changing stereotypes and encouraging young women to seek their full potential in every way. Amelia is very family oriented and her culture is extremely important to her; we have learned so much from her this year. Amelia also has an amazing sense of humour, she has made me laugh until I’ve cried many times. Amelia has a degree in Communications and Culture from the UofC, and has plans of becoming a lawyer one day. She is a wonderful representative as well as a talented dancer. Amelia also makes her own Indian Princess and Pow Wow outfits with help from her family members and she is a very skilled beader.

I have had such a great time getting to know these wonderful young women!

6. You ladies look so beautiful and put together at each and every event, how many wardrobe changes must you go thru in a year?

Jessica: It is hard to say how many changes we go through in a year; sometimes we wear three different outfits in a day! We are so incredibly fortunate to have so many generous sponsors who supply and design our outfits for us.

The amount of clothing, boots and jewelry we receive in the year is truly overwhelming; far more than I ever expected. We even have sponsors for our hair, nails and makeup, we are so grateful for the support our program receives! As Stampede Royalty, we are always trying to make a great and lasting impression, and our sponsors are who we must credit for making that possible!

7. What is the most memorable moment of your reign that you’ve experienced?

Dani: So far this year there have been so many memorable moments…and I know that there will only be more to come! But when I think back to memorable moments, our trip down to Anaheim, California brings back many laughs. We went down to Anaheim for a promotional event in partnership with Travel Alberta. Our mission was to spread the Stampede spirit at a Ducks vs Flames hockey game. While we were at the event, the girls and I randomly ran into the Stampede Queen from 1956, Shirley Bertoli! Coincidentally, Shirley had sent us all congratulatory letters in the fall when we were crowned, not thinking that we would ever get to meet in person. That was an exciting and emotional moment that I will never forget! Our trip to Disneyland while we were there was also tons of fun!! No one is ever too old to have fun in Disneyland!

8. Have you any advice for up and coming Stampede Queen and Princess hopefuls?

Dani: Being Calgary Stampede Royalty is an opportunity of a lifetime! Even the competition itself is fun and full of learning opportunities and a chance to meet other wonderful young women. My advice would be: Be prepared to become the new you! The experience and opportunities you will get can transform you into a more confident person. But in order to get the most out of this program, you have to be open to taking on new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone.

For me, I never thought that I would become Stampede Royalty. I always thought I was just a farm girl, and I wasn’t girly enough to be “Royalty”.  Make-up, fancy clothes and posing for pictures wasn’t my forte, and for other girls maybe something like public speaking isn’t the most desirable activity for you. But be prepared to see improvements in yourself and to be able to walk into a room and radiate with your own unique awesomeness. From singing with elderly people, to giving away perfume samples in the mall, to speaking in front of thousands of people, becoming royalty will change you! Anything is possible, so even if you don’t think being royalty is for you, try it anyway!! Another piece of advice: Love and thank your sponsors and committee members as often as you can. These people are amazing and work so hard for the success of the Royalty.

9. What are you most looking forward to during this year’s extra special 100th Calgary Stampede?

Dani: There are so many special things happening this year it’s hard to say!! The 10 days of Stampede is going to be incredible. I think the girls would agree with me, riding in the parade for the 100th year will be a once in a lifetime experience. The energy and excitement will be so thrilling!! Seeing thousands of people join in on the streets of downtown Calgary to kick off the Greatest Show on Earth, it will be the epitome of this year’s Stampede slogan, “We’re Greatest Together”, and the girls and I are so thankful to be a part of it all.

10. Our committee is putting together a Time Capsule that will be opened 100 years from now. If you could include one item, what would it be and why?

Jessica: I would like to include a photo of the four of us, the Calgary Stampede Centennial Royalty, astride our beautiful Stampede horses. I want future generations of young women to look at the four of us and feel that they can do anything they put their minds to. I feel that we are making our own mark in the history of Calgary, Alberta and our own western heritage. To do that we had to put aside our fears and doubts, and try- that is the message I would like to leave behind. (**Sarah’s note: Our committee would love to include an autographed photo of you all, I will be in touch to arrange a ‘photoshoot’!)

** Ladies, thank you so much for allowing me to take some of your very limited free time to chat! I hope you have the best possible Stampede experience, one you are sure not to forget for the rest of your lives. Thank you for being such amazing ambassadors for the City of Calgary and the Calgary Stampede. 

Are any of you young women out there hoping and dreaming of one day becoming a member of our storied Calgary Stampede Royalty? The Royalty committee is calling all Stampede-loving ladies between the ages of 19 and 24 in the Calgary area as they’re now looking for the 2013 Stampede Queen and Princesses. You can find more information here, and download your application here. Applications will be accepted until September 4, 2012.

Best of luck, Ya Hoo!

From the 1992 Talent Search to the 2012 Grandstand Show headliner, Paul Brandt and the Calgary Stampede go together!

Alberta-bred singer Paul Brandt is the most awarded male Canadian country music artist in history! This July he will return to where he launched his career 20 years ago to headline the #Stampede100 Grandstand Show. I was lucky enough to catch up with a busy Mr. Brandt for some Q and A. Read below to find out what his favorite Midway food is and advice for young artists following their dream.

This year you’ve had the opportunity to be involved with some great projects close to your Alberta roots including the 2012 World Junior Championship and now the Calgary Stampede Centennial Grandstand Show. How does it feel to be a part of the Calgary Stampede in its Centennial year?  

While these projects are close to my Alberta roots, and that’s important to me, the World Juniors and the Calgary Stampede Centennial feel like they have even more reach than typical regional events. As Canada’s Cultural Capital for 2012, Calgary is recognized for its excellence in producing events with size, scope and significance, attracting a global audience.  As an Albertan, I’m thrilled to be associated with, and proud to see, our dedication to quality, creativity, and hard work paying off on these international stages.

As a former contestant of the “Youth Talent Showdown” at the Calgary Stampede what advice to you have for young artists following their dream?

I’m asked that question a lot.  All I can give advice about is what has and hasn’t worked for me. What definitely has worked is to dream big, and to chase my dream of music and art because it’s what I love to do.  What has never worked for me is spending a lot of time worrying about what people think or say about what I’m doing.  Music has to come from a pure place of inspiration and passion to have any lasting significance.  I think the same can be said about most endeavours.

What is your favorite song you have written and why?

It’s hard to pick a favourite…that’s like asking me to pick one of my kids as a favourite over another… you love them all equally and for different reasons.  That being said, there’s something special about my first #1 song, “I Do”.   I had written the song for a friend whom I had worked with at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and was getting married.  She had asked me to come and sing at her wedding, which I did, and then I kind of forgot about the song.  It wasn’t until I had signed a record deal with Warner/Reprise Records in Nashville that the song re-surfaced as one that grabbed people’s attention.  It went to #1 in the US on October 11th, 1996.

The Calgary Stampede is about tradition; do you have a favorite Stampede tradition or memory to share with us?

I think that the Stampede is a very similar experience for most families.  For us, it’s about the parade, looking at the exhibits, walking through the Dream Home, catching a concert, eating corn dogs, watching the chucks and rodeo, riding rides and seeing the fireworks.  Of course, these things are complicated when you have a career like mine, and you’re playing stages at the Stampede, or shooting documentaries on the grounds from time to time, but you’d be surprised at how well I can blend in…

What is your favorite midway food at the Calgary Stampede?

Gotta go with the corn dogs. With mustard.

What is your favorite midway ride and/or midway game at the Calgary Stampede?

Couldn’t pick just one, have to ride/play them all.

What can fans expect to see from you and the Young Canadians this year at the Grandstand Show?

There is definitely an element of risk in this show that I’ve never experienced on stage before. The elaborate stage set-up, rigging, even the interaction between acts from scene to scene are all new for me, but I’m very excited about it.  Everyone involved with the show has a handle on the importance of this year’s Grandstand show.  The intensity and excitement is palpable.

There is a sense among everyone involved that a show like this only happens once in a hundred years, and I think that is going to make it an unforgettable celebration of everything that the Stampede stands for.  Specifically, I’ll not only have my hand in performing some of my original music, but I’ll weave in and out of the story throughout the night, eventually bringing the evening to the grand finale fireworks display.  The scope of this year’s finale has never been seen.  Ever.  It’s going to be spectacular.  Our goal is to form a show that represents the Western Heritage and values of the Calgary Stampede in a way that does Calgary, Alberta, and Canada proud, and entertains audiences from around the world.

 

 

Ten Questions with the 2012 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Amelia Crowshoe (Part Two)

I’m back for part two of Indian Princess Amelia Crowshoe’s interview as part of the 10 Questions series- in case you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here. Read on to find out more about Amelia, the Royalty program, and her world travels!

6. Your schedule sounds grueling but also quite exhilarating. Has there been a highlight event that you have attended thus far?

There are so many – travelling to Memphis, meeting the incredibly talented Manny Cuevas Jr., travelling to Grey Cup and bringing the Stampede spirit to the kids at Admiral Seymour Elementary School.  Two other special moments that really stand out to me are:

It was actually my first event as Indian Princess which was meeting the Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo.  I was in the crowd when Chief Atleo was elected at the Assembly of First Nations gathering – to meet him and have a chance to speak with him was unreal. Chief Atleo provided me with inspiring words of wisdom that reminded me of how important it is to promote my people and be a role model for First Nations young women in my community. It is up to every individual in any community to initiate positive change and help to inspire others to do their best and try hard.

The second was having the opportunity of going to China, not once, but twice to promote International travel to the Calgary Stampede with Travel Alberta and the Canadian Tourism Commission.  That is something I could never have dreamt.  To have had the opportunity to dance on the Great Wall of China is something I will never, ever forget.  It was a moment of pure exhilaration and incredible pride for First Nations.

7. Where can your fans find out more about the events you’re attending, where you’re volunteering your time, or just to say hello to you?

There are a couple places thanks to the world of social media.  The Indian Princess is on Facebook as “Calgary Stampede Indian Princess.”  That page is constantly updated with photos, upcoming events and general information on Indian Village, the Calgary Stampede and Treaty 7 information.

The Indian Princess can also be found on Twitter as “@StampedeIP”.  This twitter account offers some real time updates on not only the Indian Princess but entire Stampede Royalty as we lead up to the Centennial Stampede.

I have received so many wonderful and kind words of encouragement from people I have already met at different events.  They really do mean a lot to me as they really are the reassurance and validation that my hard work is received positively and is appreciated.  In such a busy world, to have people take the time send a small note is truly appreciated and incredibly thoughtful.

8. Have you any advice for up and coming Stampede Indian Princess hopefuls?

As I travel to every event as the Centennial Indian Princess I am so proud to be a member of the Piikani Nation and represent the Treaty 7 tribes at the Indian Village. I would like to encourage all the young women of Treaty 7 to keep in mind their goals and aspirations so that they may try hard and make them a reality. Never lose faith in your ability to make your dreams come true. First Nations women are beautiful, strong and the heart of their community – we can overcome any obstacle, endure any hardship and maintain our cultural heritage in these modern times.

Carpe Diem!  The 2013 Indian Princess Pageant will be held on September 16 at 2pm at the Carriage House Inn on Macleod Trail.  Make your dreams your reality!

9. What are you most looking forward to during this year’s 10-day Stampede?

Well, firstly, to be involved with the Centennial Stampede as a member of the Centennial Royalty is so exciting, I truly can’t count down the days fast enough!

I am looking forward to the riding in the parade and feeling the excitement of the start of Centennial Stampede.  I’m looking forward to the daily grand entry with Queen Candice, Princess Jessica and Princess Dani.  I’m looking forward to greeting people from all over the world in Indian Village and during the evening grandstand show.  I look forward to the in-between moments where I can take a second and smile and remind myself that this is really happening – I’m a part of this incredible year and I am truly blessed!  I look forward to soaking in every single second of this amazing Centennial year.

10. As we celebrate our 100 Year Centennial Calgary Stampede, where do you see us in the next 100 Years?

The relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the five tribes of Treaty 7 now goes back 100 years.  The very first Calgary Stampede in 1912 included over 2,000 native people of the Treaty 7 First Nations who received special permission to gather off their reserves. The Indian Village gathering has continued ever since and has remained an important opportunity for the Treaty 7 First Nations to reinforce, celebrate and share their cultures.

The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess represents and promotes the spirit of a 100 year old partnership established between the First Nations tribes of Treaty 7 and Guy Weadick of the Calgary Stampede. This partnership was founded upon a basis of mutual respect and cross cultural sharing during a time in which the Treaty 7 tribes were suffering cultural hardships on their home reserves. The Indian Village at the Stampede allowed the Treaty 7 tribes the freedom to live their culture and proudly share it with the world.

And now it is up to my generation and the generations that follow to ensure this partnership of mutual respect and admiration continues.  To remember where we have been and to face to the sun and see where we are going.   To honor the vision of Guy Weadick and our Elders as we move into the next 100 years of the iconic Calgary Stampede and historic Indian Village.

Thank you Amelia for allowing me to take some of your busy scheduled time so that I can share some great info about you to our awesome blog readers. May you have the best Stampede experience yet- I’ll be looking for you during the parade! :) 

Should you have some burning questions in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to ask a member of the organization, why not drop us a line? We’d be happy to take any request into consideration. Stay tuned for more new and exciting “10 Questions With…” as we approach this year’s 100th Calgary Stampede.