Horse magic with Jonathan Field and Friends

Jonathan Field – Tapping into an ancient approach to the human-horse relationship, Jonathan works to spread his message of observance, patience and understanding…

So begins this beautiful excerpt from his half hour documentary “Harmony with Horses”.

This weekend, you can experience Jonathan’s extraordinary horsemanship at the Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Conference in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Jonathan Fields_1Today, Jonathan gave a special presentation to 28 Grade 5 Stampede School students. “I want to show the kids that if we can learn to communicate with horses, we can do incredible things,” he said.

Jonathan and the children went through the differences between humans and horses: the position of our eyes and ears. Humans communicate verbally, horses through body language. The fact that horses are a prey species and therefore care deeply about being safe. All of these things, he explained, are important to fully understanding a horse.

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He explained horse herd mentality and how every herd has a natural hierarchy. “This will be a herd of six–five horses and me.” Jonathan, in his demonstration, would get the herd to work together, with himself as the leader. So that free wheeling horses, Jonathan Fields_3would become one. Jonathan Fields_4Watching Jonathan with the horses is nothing short of enchanting and the conference this weekend is the first of its kind. You can still get tickets here.

4H Rodeo teaches the ropes to youngsters

Almost 70 young aspiring cowboys and cowgirls learned the ropes of their industry at the 17th annual Calgary Stampede Invitational 4H Rodeo this past weekend.

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The Stampede hosted the 4H students, aged nine to 20 years old, at the Agrium Western Event Centre on August 23 and 24, making this the first rodeo to be held in the new tailored livestock facility. The Stampede hosts the 4H Rodeo annually to give the youngsters a solid grounding in their sport, in rodeo production, livestock handling and animal care. Alongside the competition, the young rodeo competitors take part in educational sessions aimed at stepping up their game in all these topics and more.

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While rodeo is familiar, many of the events are not generally well-known in non-rodeo circles. Time events like thread-the-needle, pole-bending and goat-tying are the training grounds for younger athletes and their horses before graduating to tie-down roping and barrel racing.

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Learn more in this video interview from Global TV Morning News.

http://globalnews.ca/video/1523378/calgary-stampede-4h-rodeo

Barn Brings Family Together

The barn brings the McLeod family of Cochrane, Alberta together. “It’s the place where we come together and work together,” says Rod McLeod.

And that work has paid off. McLeod’s daughter Megan walked away a Grand Champion with her Charolais steer Cruise at the UFA Steer Classic during the recent Calgary Stampede. And five years ago, her brother Colby was also a winner with his Charolais steer.

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It was a dream for Megan, 18, to be at the Calgary Stampede competing with her 1,320-pound steer Cruise. Megan bought Cruise from a Bowden, Alberta Charolais breeder and says she likes to support local breeders. The country duo Florida-Georgia Line’s hit song, Cruise, was the inspiration behind her steer’s name.

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Megan participated in the Summer Synergy youth livestock program leading up to Stampede. Summer Synergy provides a collaborative venue to showcase youth in agriculture by combining traditional elements with innovative approaches for personal achievement and development. In the program, participants are judged on various elements including showmanship, conformation, marketing, show team judging and multi species judging. Each participant is scored and the top achievers receive scholarships.

“Synergy is an amazing competition,” says Megan. “You meet amazing people and learn valuable leadership skills.” And being at the Stampede exposes rural youth to an urban population and teaches them how to talk about livestock with the urban public, she adds. All these skills will benefit you later down the road, she says.

Megan is a member of the Jumping Pound 4-H Club, president of the Alberta Charolais Youth Association and a director on the Canadian Charolais Youth Association. She will be headed east in the fall to study at the University of Saskatchewan.

To learn more about Summer Synergy visit http://summersynergy.ca.

World Champion Six Horse Hitch

The World Champion Six Horse Hitch features magnificent heavy horses performing to the music of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s something truly special. And while I can appreciate the animals, the music and the performance, there’s so much I don’t know about the event. I asked Heavy Horse committee Courtney Stephenson to tell me more.

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What are the judges looking for in the arena at the various parts of the performance?

The judges are looking for a hitch that works together in unison.  He also is looking for horses that are athletic and moving well, which means lifting their knees up high and straight  and hocks that are moving straight like a pair of scissors. The horses should be clean and well presented with clean harness and decorated with a rolled mane (4 strand braid) with mane flowers arranged straight thru the mane and tails tied in a clean bun.  The teamster should be engaged with the horses and in control of his hitch.

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What exactly are the various things they need to do?

The horses move at a trot and are marked down if they break, which is just a term for loping.  They are asked to walk, drive across the diagonal of the ring,  line up and back up their hitch.  All needs to be done with ease and together as one unit.

What are the roles of the two people in the carriage? 

The teamster is the one who is in control of the hitch and makes the commands to the horses. You can see a good hitch horse has horses who are constantly moving their ears back and forth so they can listen to the teamster. The person who accompanies the teamster is there for safety in case something gets out of hand, the horses even though gentle in nature are large animals and we need to keep their safety in mind. They are also there to stand at the horses head when the hitch is stopped.

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How much horse power do the heavy horses each have?

A 1 tonne draft horse can produce 3.5 live horse power.

What kinds of horses exactly are in the show?

Belgians, Percheron’s, Clydesdales and Shires.

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What is the temperament of these horses? Any other special insider knowledge/facts about the horses?

Heavy horses are very gentle and sensible in nature.  The Heavy Horses have been shown on the Stampede grounds for 128 year when it was nothing more than a small agricultural society. Two of the Big Four, Patrick Burns and George Lane were heavy horse breeders.

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Any other interesting facts?

The heavy horses wear scotch bottom horse shoes, which is style of shoe. They weigh 3.5 lbs each.

Aussie Liberty Horsemanship Expert Dan James awes with incredible talent

Hailing from down under, Australian Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship is a lifelong horseman with a passion for understanding and connecting with horses, showcasing their skill and dropping jaws with the possibilities of a horse’s talent.

James is a master of ‘liberty training’, connecting with horses while using the least amount of ‘equipment’ as possible. While working his horses without halters, bridles and even saddles, James showcases the strength of his bond with horses and their incredible capacity and intelligence in this style of horsemanship.

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James has many notable accomplishments in his equine career, having worked and competed all over the world. In 2008 he won “Way of the Horse” at Equitana Asia Pacific, and most recently won the prestigious “Road to the Horse” world championship of colt starting as a member of Team Australia in 2012.

Dan James performs daily in the Agrium Western Event Centre with professional trick rider and liberty horsewoman Niki Flundra.

Performance times:

  • Friday, July 11- 11:50 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. performance
  • Saturday, July 12 – 6:45 p.m. performance
  • Sunday, July 13- 5:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. performance

Come on down or watch live at http://ag.calgarystampede.com/agrium-centre-ustream

For more about Dan:

http://www.doubledanhorsemanship.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DoubleDanHorsemanship

Check out Dan’s experience with the winners of a Calgary Stampede Twitter contest.

 

2014 BMO Farm Family Awards

Every year, the Calgary Stampede and BMO Bank of Montreal recognize outstanding farm families in southern Alberta. The awards program was created to promote a renewed urban-rural relationship and to recognize outstanding southern Alberta farm families who best symbolize the value of the family farmer to our society. The program focuses on recognizing the contribution to the enhancement of quality of life as a family unit.

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Alberta Agriculture Service Board representatives from each municipal district in southern Alberta nominate one family. Then, the families are brought to the Calgary Stampede for the BMO Farm Family Awards in July, which include a reception, a greeting from Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture, brunch, an awards presentation and a family photograph session. The winning families are then treated to an afternoon Stampede Rodeo performance. This year, the 2014 BMO Farm Family Awards were held on Monday, July 7 at the Palomino Room in the BMO Centre.

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The Palomino Room had an air of excitement to it as families gathered to celebrate their achievements. Children laughed at the clown’s antics while adults sipped on champagne and orange juice and enjoyed light snacks. MC Darrel Janz, president and chairman of the board of the Calgary Stampede Bob Thompson and the Honourable Verlyn Olson Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development addressed the families. The speakers thanked the families for their hard work and dedication to agriculture while they recalled their own agriculture connections and experience, showing how this industry truly touches all reaches of southern Alberta.

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Family bios were read aloud and displayed on posters as well as in the event program; though there were many variances of region, heritage and product farmed, there was one similarity – the many generations involved in caring for and continuing the farm’s growth. The question of the importance of agriculture was raised with one simple question: “Do you like to eat?” With a unanimous chuckle from the crowd, the answer was clear.

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Congratulations to all the families who were nominated for the award this year:

Nelson Family Farm – Rod Nelson & Family - Starland County

Silver Top Dairy – William & Rita VanRootselaar & Family - MD of Willow Creek No. 26

Sereda Farms Ltd. – Ron Sereda & Family - Couny of Newell

Chinook Country Farms – Larry Gano & Family - Mountainview County

Saywer Farms – Matthew Sawyer – Kneehill County

John & Rod Blake & Family – MD of Ranchland

Caseley Farms – Jack Caseley & Family - Special Areas No. 4

Howard Davis & Family – MD of Pincher Creek No. 9

Diamond V Ranch – Richard Wambeke & Family – MD of Foothills No. 31

GPL Christensen Farms – Grant Christensen & Family – Special Areas No. 2

Olsen Prairie Farms Ltd. – Erling Olsen & Family – County of Warner No. 5

BH Farms – Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen & Family – County of Lethbridge

Morison Family Farms – Rod Morison & Family – Rocky View County

Wickstrom Farms – Ron Wickstrom & Family – Vulcan County

Lone Star Cattle Co. – Ron Ostrom & Family – Wheatland County

Thistle Ridge Ranch – Ben Tams & Family – MD of Taber

Darcy Barfuss & Family – Cardston County

Hatview Dairy Farm – Herb Weiss & Family - Cypress County

Tony Crooymans and Sons – Andrew Crooymans & Family – County of Forty Mile

David Dick & Family – Special Areas No. 3 

High stakes poised to kick start Heavy Horse Pull

The 2014 Heavy Horse Pull Team Auction, is Thursday, July 10 before a live audience in the Victoria Pavilion.

Thrilling. Up close and personal. High Stakes. Auction.

The Stampede chuckwagon canvas auction, right? Wrong.

The Calgary Stampede’s annual Heavy Horse Pull Team Auction is just as exciting and is ready to kick off this year’s Heavy Horse Pull in thrilling fashion.

The auction is the exciting, action-packed lead up to The Heavy Horse Pull, July 11 to 13. The Heavy Horse Pull is Canada’s premier pulling competition showcasing the true workhorse.

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For Stampede-goers the auction offers a high-stakes, competitive atmosphere and an unmatched opportunity to get up close and personal in the intimate Victoria Pavilion with a variety of draft horses. There will be 26 teams from across North America.

For would-be bidders – individuals and corporations – the auction offers the opportunity to promote yourself and enjoy top-notch agricultural entertainment at the same time. Successful bidders get barn tours, passes to watch their teams during competition, signage on the horses during competition, and an exclusive party alongside the horses after the main event. There’s still time to get in on the action, just show up at the Victoria Pavilion Thursday, July 10 at 5 p.m. to register. For more information visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/577-heavy-horse-pull.html.

The Heavy Horse Pull runs Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13 in the new Agrium Western Events Centre.

You won’t want to miss the “Pigeon Dash for Cash”

Over the 10 days of Calgary Stampede Doug Schmaltz will be racing about 20 of his own racing pigeons 10 miles daily at 2:30 p.m. outside the Ag Barn to Doug’s pigeon loft in the North end of Calgary. During the race home these racing pigeons will reach speeds up to 100 km/h.

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Each of the racing pigeons are between 90 and 100 days old. So, you probably can’t imagine the amount of training and practice that has went into having these racing pigeons in tiptop shape before Calgary Stampede started.

Racing pigeon owners keep very tight control of their pigeons until they release them at race time. Once they release them they have no control and no idea what’s going to happen to them during their race home to food/water or their mate. There are all kinds of things that can bring danger to the pigeon during the race, such as wind, rain, lighting, power lines, or even hawks.

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And how do we know which pigeon has the fastest time each day? Well, all of the racing pigeon have a microchip on their leg that lets us know what time they cross the finish line.

The team sponsored pigeon who has the best accumulated time over the course of 10 days of Calgary Stampede will be crowned Calgary Stampede’s champion pigeon and will win the championship trophy.

Doug Sxhmaltz is a member of the Calgary Racing Pigeon Club Racing Pigeon Club which has been around since 1906. The Calgary Racing Pigeon Club promotes the sport of long and short distances, racing their best pigeons in races up to 500km. The club currently has 42 members, but is always looking for racing pigeon enthusiasts to join. To find out more about the Calgary Racing Pigeon Club visit their website at http://www.calgaryracingpigeonclub.ca.

The 2013 Cowboy Up Champion, Jim Anderson

Catch the finals of the Cowboy Up Challenge are today, Monday, July 7, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Strathmore’s Jim Anderson is a true horseman, ranch raised and schooled in the methods of legends like Ray Hunt, Bill and Tom Dorrance and Pat Parelli. Having made a name as one of the best in the reining arena, Anderson raised eyebrows when he entered the 2011 Cowboy Up Challenge at the Calgary Stampede.

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Introduced to the Cowboy Up sport by friends Bobby and Jerry Fenner, they encouraged him to give it a shot with Fenner’s horse Patch. “I thought this is something I could do. It looked like a lot of fun” says Anderson. “You have good horsemanship, you have speed and you have obstacles so it’s a combination of all your disciplines put into one. It doesn’t matter what level of rider you are, you can go into a division and have fun and learn.” And learn he did. After finishing as Reserve Champion in his Cowboy Up debut, Anderson went on to win at the 2012 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Championship, and then claimed the 2012 Extreme Cowboy Association World title in Hamilton, Texas.

Taking chances and trying something new paid off for Jim Anderson, but little did he know, that was just the beginning. His success led to a Wild Card invitation at the 2014 Road to the Horse. The event held each year in Lexington, Kentucky showcases the world’s finest horse trainers and clinicians. Wild Card competitors receive an untouched three-year-old Quarter Horse from the famed 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas and then have one year to develop the horse’s skills, confidence and abilities. Anderson’s bay horse Six Flo Buck (aka Maverick) came home to his ranch, east of Strathmore, in April of last year and looked like a seasoned pro three months later at the Calgary Stampede, where he claimed the 2013 Cowboy Up Championship on the novice horse.

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Without question, Maverick’s exposure to difficult obstacles and big crowds in Calgary helped prepare him for Road to the Horse. “The Stampede has the best obstacles anywhere in the world” says Anderson. From the lights to the music, crowd noise, living props and tricky maneuvers, riders and their mounts are challenged on all levels. While the action may look fun and easy to the untrained eye, the Cowboy Up Challenge is anything but. Anderson has been in many competitions but calls the level of horsemanship at the Calgary Stampede “the best in the world”. Sanctioned by the Extreme Cowboy Association and hosted by the sport’s creator, cowboy clinician Craig Cameron, the event draws big name contestants from both sides of the border.

With many hours under the saddle, Anderson, his wife Andrea and Maverick made the long journey to Kentucky for Road to The Horse in March. After the team’s Extreme Cowboy success and a reining show first place, Anderson knew his horse was ready, despite being considered an underdog in the competition. “It was really tense going there but I was confident in him.”

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What happened next shocked everyone. Out of eight expert horse trainers vying for a spot to compete for the title, Anderson took the Wild Card Championship. Asked if he was surprised with the win, the quietly self-assured Anderson humbly credits his horse. “Not necessarily surprised but I was very happy. I was confident that he was going to be good, but he has a lot of heart so when we went there he rode better than he does normally.”

Winning the Wild Card Championship earned Jim the opportunity to battle for the World Championship of Colt Starting title alongside fellow Canuck and respected trainer Jonathan Field. Jim impressed the stadium crowd, calmly working his new 6666 Ranch gelding, Speedy Cream over the three day competition, first in the round pen and a few days later confidently through an obstacle course.

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The colt was bold and Anderson’s steady approach helped make a dream come true performance, stunning fans as he claimed the title. The Andersons have since purchased the grulla gelding who they now call Smokey and plan to have him competing soon.

Anderson attributes his new found celebrity and success at the Road to the Horse to the fun little sport that he thought looked like fun. “It just started opening
doors” he says. “The ball got rolling” and in three short years a whole new generation of Extreme Cowboy competitors and fans have been born.

Fun facts:

  • Extreme Cowboy Racing is the fastest growing equestrian sport in North America.
  • Jim met his wife Andrea while training horses in Europe. Andrea is from Vienna, Austria and is also an accomplished rider and horse trainer.
  • Only two Canadian competitors competed in the 2014 Road to the Horse competition.
  • Past Road to the Horse Competitors who have also competed in the Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge include Obbie Schlom and the 2010 Cowboy Up Challenge winner, Glenn Stewart.

Money Can’t Buy Stampede Experience Winners

Holly and her family with Dan James.
Yesterday our committee hosted two families who won a special unique experience thru contesting on twitter a few weeks back. We wanted to set up a series of amazing money-can’t-buy adventures often giving a behind the scenes look at life at the Calgary Stampede.

For this specific unique experience, Dan James hailing from Australia- an incredible horseman, invited our families into the arena at the Agrium Western Event Centre to interact with some of the horses he has trained.

First, the kiddos were up with a mini horse and they were naturals! Taking the reins and running thru the event area and commanding him to lay down were some of the highlights. Next up, Mom & Dad tested their nerves by sitting next to Dan & his horse on a big crash mat and more.

Our second family were welcomed into the arena to meet James and interact with the horses : lead by Jocelyn, included her three month old son- his first Stampede will be a memorable one!

You can catch James continue to push the limits of horsemanship and entertainment with his exhilarating performances, helping horse enthusiasts expand their knowledge thru the rest of our 10-day Calgary Stampede. This and so many other amazing Agriculture experiences await you! Check out the daily listings here.

Holly mentioned that she was so thrilled to have been given this chance at a once in a lifetime opportunity that her children will remember for years to come.

Our contest winners in the arena.
We’ve got more amazing experiences to share with you, check back daily to see what else is in store for some lucky families. There may even be a few more opportunities to come, so be sure to follow us on Twitter @CS_NGC so you don’t miss a thing!
Sarah

Vintage Tractor Pull Returns to the Calgary Stampede

After a forced hiatus last year due to the flood, the Vintage Tractor Pull and Tractor Show & Shine returns to the Calgary Stampede.

The 24th annual Vintage Tractor Pull, presented by Cervus Equipment, takes place on Sunday, July 6 at 7 p.m. and Monday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m. The event is organized by the Calgary Stampede Farm Equipment committee, which strives to preserve our agricultural heritage for young and old, bringing back to life vintage tractors and equipment.

“Agriculture has evolved from the horse to the vintage tractor to today’s modern equipment built on the latest technology,” says committee chair Don Ellingson. “The Farm Equipment committee provides an opportunity for folks to connect these eras and better understand our agricultural heritage.”

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This year the Vintage Tractor Pull will be moving to new digs – the Scotiabank Saddledome. Don’t miss the rumble of the engines and the cheers of the crowd in this dynamic atmosphere.

“The Farm Equipment committee is excited about this opportunity as it will really allow us to better showcase the vintage tractors in a venue that will provide a more informative and exciting viewer experience,” says Ellingson.

Approximately 24 competitors from across Alberta will descend on Stampede Park with their vintage tractors in hopes of claiming first in their class in the Vintage Tractor Pull. There are six different weight classes – featherweight followed by Class #1 through #5, beginning at 1,000 lbs up to 9,999 lbs. The winner of each class is determined as the longest average on two pulls.

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Between classes during the Vintage Tractor Pull, sit back and take in the Metal versus Muscle show where vintage tractors will square off against a team of powerful Percheron heavy horses – this is horsepower at its finest.

The Tractor Show & Shine is also back this year. Come get an up close and personal look at the immaculately restored vintage tractors from 1960 and older. The Show and Shine takes place on Sunday, July 6 at 5 p.m. on Country Trail between the Agriculture Building and the new Agrium Western Event Centre. This is your chance to talk to the tractor owners who invest significant time and money into restoring these beauties and are truly passionate about their work.

If you miss the Show & Shine, take a walk down Country Trail during the rest of Stampede as two vintage tractors will be on display for all 10 days. You can even climb aboard and have your photo taken with a vintage tractor at a designated time each day.

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And if you’re going to be taking in the Calgary Stampede parade on Friday, July 4, watch for the vintage farm equipment. This year’s parade entry features haying equipment. Three vintage tractors will rumble down the streets of Calgary hooked up to working haying equipment, which includes a 1953 John Deere model 60 with a sickle mower owned by Brian Steiner of Calgary, a 1956 John Deere model 320 pulling a hay rake owned by Wayne Risdon of Strathmore and a Massey Harris model 201 pulling a square baler owned by Don Ellingson of Calgary.

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Don’t miss the Vintage Tractor Pull and Tractor Show & Shine at the 2014 Calgary Stampede. For reminders, follow @stampedeag on Twitter, @stampede_ag on Instagram and like Calgary Stampede Agriculture on Facebook. 

Country’s new home in the City

Horses, cowboys and rural residents now have a custom-built, year-round home right in the heart of Calgary on Stampede Park.

The Calgary Stampede has officially opened the Agrium Western Event Centre – Canada’s premiere western event and agriculture education showcase. The building opened on Saturday, June 21, amid much fanfare of a community open house and a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured federal Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel and Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Verlyn Olson.

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The ultra-modern 150,000 sq. ft. building features an extra-large 2,500-seat specialized arena for equine and western events, a multi-purpose exhibit hall, and a grand rotunda entry that double as a week-day classroom for a unique educational program on sustainable agriculture. The Agrium Centre becomes the new focal point of horse and agriculture-related activities at Stampede Park. Visitors will experience it first during the Stampede July 4 to 13, and with more experiences this year when a series of new horse shows and competitions fill the building throughout the fall season.

“The Calgary Stampede is a world-class event, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world,” Minister Olson said when addressing the crowd on Saturday. “As the largest facility of its kind in Canada, the new Agrium Western Event Centre will be an incredible venue for education, entertainment and to showcase our agriculture industry.”

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The Government of Canada and Government of Alberta each contributed $25 million towards the Agrium Centre as part of a series of recent agriculture infrastructure enhancements at Stampede Park that, together, cost $61.5 million. Agrium contributed as title sponsor of the building.

“We are thrilled that our partners shared in our vision of creating a world-class, year-round venue that connects urban and rural,” said Bob Thompson, President and Board chair of the Calgary Stampede. “This provides a gathering place for agriculture industries and associations, offers economic benefit to Calgary businesses, and ensures city residents have a regular connection to agriculture, horses and livestock all through the year.”

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Agrium’s President and CEO Chuck Magro also spoke at the Agrium Centre’s grand opening, underlining how the building houses a unique global education program created by the Stampede and Agrium. “We’re thrilled to be part of making the Agrium Western Event Centre a reality at the Calgary Stampede,” said Magro. “This is a place to celebrate agriculture and to learn about sustainable farming practices, through the Journey 2050 program, as we work to feed 9 billion people globally by 2050.”

Journey 2050 coaches grade seven students to explore how the world will feed itself sustainably in the year 2050. Up to 70 students will gather at the building’s rotunda each weekday to experience an interactive inquiry-based personal and computer program that shows the results and impacts of their virtual farming choices.

Guests of the grand opening event marveled at the building’s size and the great sight-lines from the open concourse and seating areas. The behind-the-scenes features of the building were a hit with horse-owners who recognize the animal-friendly features built into every aspect of the handling, warm-up and performance areas.

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“We are bringing the Arabian Horse Association’s Western Canadian show to Calgary because of this building,” Arabian Association representative Allison Mostowich told the crowd. “Our first priority is always our horses, and we can tell from the way this building was designed, animals are the Stampede’s top priority as well. We’re looking forward to being the first big event here after the Stampede (July 21-26).”

A current listing of the horse shows, competitions and championship events being hosted this year at the Agrium Centre can be found at www.calgarystampede.com/AgriumCentre. Many are new to Calgary, with several events created with this new facility’s capabilities in mind.

 

10 new experiences for the 2014 Stampede

From Canadian favourites to cowboy classics, from innovative instruments to back-flipping snowmobiles, from agriculture to William Shatner(!)—the 2014 Stampede is full of new experiences that will dazzle, entertain and just plain awe. Here are 10 new experiences (in no particular order) to look out for on Stampede Park this year:

 1. The Agrium Western Event Centre
Custom-designed with animal safety in mind and one of the largest projects in Stampede history, make sure you find your way to the Agrium Western Event Centre. Your favourite animal events including the Heavy Horse Show, UFA Steer Classic, World Champion Stock Dogs and Cutting Horse can all be found at the Agrium Centre. Also joining us this year—the RCMP Musical Ride!

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2. An afternoon with William Shatner
It’s always been your dream to meet the original Captain Kirk? Here’s your chance! The Calgary Stampede is thrilled to present My Life and My Love of Horses, an exclusive afternoon with William Shatner on Thursday, July 3. This once-in-a-lifetime event with William Shatner will be a fun and entertaining way to kick off your Calgary Stampede.
Thursday, July 3, 2014, 3 p.m. Palomino Room, BMO Centre. You can purchase tickets here.

William Shatner

3. The Bell adrenaline ranch
For all you Thrill Seekers out there! The Bell adrenaline ranch will feature the show Evolution of Extreme, an exciting and visually stunning account of the progression of extreme motorsports. Stunts and performances by the Freestyle Motorcross team will take you on the ride of your life! Itching for more extreme? Check out XPOGO where professional pogo riders push the vertical limit. Shows at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily. XPOGO at 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m. daily.

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4. ENMAX Corral Show: The Peking Acrobats
Masters of agility and grace, The Peking Acrobats will dazzle you with their astonishing juggling dexterity and incredible balancing feats. The Peking Acrobats hold the world record for the Human Chair Stack—balancing six people atop six chairs 21 feet up in the air without safety lines. Daily at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Special shows at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 and 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 9.

The Peking Acrobats

5. William Close and the Earth Harp
William Close finished third place on America’s Got Talent with his Earth Harp, the largest string instrument in the world. During Stampede, the harp will be strung across the Western Oasis. Soak in one of the five daily performances while you peruse western art or relax with a glass of wine. Daily 10-minute performances at 1:20 p.m., 2:20 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 5:20 p.m. and 9 p.m.

6.The Great FUNTier
Everything a family could want…all in one place! The Kids’ Midway has moved alongside the Agriculture Building creating a brand new family-friendly zone. Little ones can ride their favourite kid-size rides and meet the men and women of the Canadian Forces. At the all new Great FUNTier Mini Grandstand, you can find the Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull, Kids’ Team Penning and special performances from First Nations Youth Dancers.

7. 32 brand-spanking-new foods on the Midway:
Scorpian pizza, red velvet mini donuts, crocodile sliders, deep fried cheesies, peanut butter cups, sushi, cookie dough and donut bacon cheeseburgers, and bacon-wrapped everything. Some big decisions to make.

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8. Triple B—Barbeque, Bulls and Beer
Yup- all of your Stampede favourites in one place at the city’s largest pop-up patio. Face off on the dueling mechanical bulls or order the world-record holding largest hamburger for $5,000 (24-hour advance notice needed). Two California-based BBQ joints make their first trip to Canada. Juicys features “Outlaw” the world’s largest outdoor barbeque. Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ brings a cornucopia of grilled specialties.

9. The TransAlta Grandstand Show, Barnburner
New creative director David Pierce has brought together a formidable creative team. Legendary chuckwagon driver Tom Glass will bring the party from the barns to the stage of the Grandstand. The Grandstand team has kept all the secrets so well—all we know is its going to be epic!

10. CS Mercantile- a new retail collaboration with Paul Hardy

Agrium Western Event Centre: Information of Interest

After years of planning, 22 months of construction and much anticipation, the keys to Agrium Western Event Centre have now been turned over to the Calgary Stampede.

Our team’s hard work continues to install equipment, commission, clean and prepare the building for our human and animal guests. The building will open with a flourish with a ribbon cutting ceremony and community open house on Saturday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plan to join us in celebrating one of the largest projects in the Stampede’s history.

As we await an inside view, we would like to share some information of interest:

Overall:
-The building took 22 months to build. Sod-turning was July of 2012, completion May 2014.
-The building construction was completed about one month ahead of schedule.
-More than 3,700 cubic metres of concrete were used in its construction.

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-The barrel-vaulted curved trusses span 200 feet across.
-The seating for the arena’s 2,500 guests is more steeply pitched than most, allowing guests to wear cowboy hats without blocking views of those seated behind.
-For added comfort, the arena’s seats are wider than industry standard seats.
-Guests can enjoy a view of the action from any spot on the open concourse, such as while waiting for food at the concessions.
-The arena features five VIP suites with preferred seating, separate washrooms for VIP guests and hosting rooms that offer views of both the arena and the racetrack.

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Rotunda:
 -The rotunda doubles as a classroom for Agrium’s Journey 2050 program – an inquiry-based education program on agricultural sustainability.
-The magnificent rotunda was designed to echo the shape of grain silos.
-Two-hundred-year-old reclaimed wood featured on the wall alongside the rotunda’s escalators was sourced from a former grain elevator.
-The rotunda’s custom floor tiles depict a map of the globe:

  • The tile was cut using a waterjet cutter in Italy. The dark chocolate tile (land) and beige tile (water) were cut as individual pieces and then put together like a puzzle.
  • Each of the five foot by five foot tiles weighs about 70 pounds.
  • This is the largest tile that the manufacturer has ever cut and the largest tile that our tile contractor has ever installed.

Animal-friendly features:
-The ground floor animal areas feature performance-grade dirt or slip-resistant rough concrete flooring on a level surface with no steps or changes in elevation.
-Six-foot-high solid arena walls improve animal and competitor safety, and eliminate visual distractions for animals during competition or performance.
-The larger 250’ x 125’ arena performance floor reduces the need for hard braking during events such as show jumping, creating opportunities for more diverse events to be hosted.
-Under-the-stand holding pens with a traffic lane around keeps animal and foot traffic flowing and herds in place.
-A secondary show-ring or warm-up arena with performance dirt is standard in the adjacent Exhibition Hall, meaning streamlined warm-up, no cold muscles and better performance potential for animals.
-Outside roof overhangs on the south and east portions of the building offer sun and rain protection for herds stalled in outdoor livestock pens.
-Direct access from participant entrance to animal stalls in the Agriculture Building reduces animals crossing traffic.

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