As the saying goes, “The dog may be man’s best friend, but the horse wrote history.” This week we were fortunate to be in a city rich in history and took it upon ourselves to find horse-related attractions in Berlin, Germany.

Perhaps the most famous monument in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate. Atop the gate is a Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses and driven by the goddess Eirene, who is the goddess of peace. While the Gate has played different political roles in German history, it now symbolizes freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin. Our Indian Village Princess, Savannah Sparvier, did a traditional dance in front of the gate and we too, wanted to take part. So, we did an impromptu line dance to Nitty Gritty Dirtband’s “Cadillac Ranch” to honour both cultures’ connection with horses. We had so fun line dancing and gathered a big crowd taking photos and cheering us on!

ITB Berlin

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Inside the Royalty’s Equestrian Program with Janelle Phillips

Hi everyone! Queen Meagan here!

Today I am going to give you the inside scoop on our Equestrian Program with the expertise of our very own equestrian committee member, Janelle Phillips! Janelle was part of the 2009 Royal Trio as a Princess. Since then, she has been passionate about Stampede, our horses and our equestrian program. She describes how “Once the Calgary Stampede gets their hooks in you, it’s hard not to be a part of it.” And that I can definitely agree with!

Janelle with an equine friend

Janelle with an equine friend

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The passion behind princessesing

In our family, the passenger seat of my Grandpa’s red Chevy pickup proved to be a beautifully unique classroom for my unscripted education. Somehow every tool that you could ever need was handily tucked in the back of that truck.

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As we drove along slowly checking fences, cows, horses and the growing hay, I have come to value more than just the view. My role as “gate girl” was pretty important to me, and while I used to think that being someone’s right hand man was a real thing, I did my best to always position myself on my Grandpa’s right hand side. Seriously. I wouldn’t let anyone else stand in my spot.

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We grew some pretty wonderful values on our farm, and these lessons have extended far beyond that for me. They are my heritage. Raised surrounded by western values, I have learned that short cuts don’t work, but ingenuity can. Bailer twine is the single most functional item ever made. The electric fence is always on. Take your boots off on the porch before entering the house. And finally, that a good dog is better than some people.

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Stampede means a lot to this home-grown cowgirl

You might be surprised when I tell you that my favourite part about the Calgary Stampede is not those 10 special days in July. While I certainly love ‘dem little donuts, cheering on the eight-second rides and the occasional visit to Nashville North, there is so much more to the Calgary Stampede organization that influences Calgarians year round. The cowboy spirit has defined our city’s values, influenced how we do business and will inspire generations to come.

What originally attracted me to the Calgary Stampede is what is at the heart of the exhibition: the animals and particularly, the horses. I was first introduced to the Born to Buck breeding program by the most influential cowgirl in my life, my Nan. Growing up, we would often go check on the wild horses as part of our farm chores. Their grace, strength and gentleness never cease to amaze me. Did you know the Stampede has a 600-head herd of horses–some of the finest rough stock in the world? I am honoured to be an advocate for the Stampede livestock and I truly am excited about promoting the Born to Buck breeding program and Calgary Stampede’s commitment to animal care.

bucking stock

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Why I wanted to be a part of the Stampede Royalty

Hey everyone! Queen Meagan here!

One of the things we are asked quite frequently about is what drew us to want to become part of the Stampede Royalty trio.

Every time I watched the rodeo, I would get a rush of butterflies when the fireworks went off and the Ranch Girls and Royalty flooded the arena. I always thought to myself, “One day, I want to do that!”


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Some of the most notable Calgary Stampede highlights from 2016

2016 was an eventful year for the Calgary Stampede: our bucking stock started and finished the year winning awards at international rodeos, we welcomed more than one million guests during the wettest Stampede since 1927, and Stampede Park hosted visitors year-round for many different ventures, including the Stampede’s first ever Fall Fair. Here’s a monthly recap highlighting only a few of the many milestones the Stampede saw this year.

The Calgary Stampede bucking stock brought in the new year in Denver with some big scores at the National Western Stock Show.
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NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm flew to Australia for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corrobree – a major tourism roadshow. Vanessa, along with other members from the Stampede and Travel Alberta, helped inform travel tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer.
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February - IP in AUS

The Stampede’s Annual General Meeting was held in March. In addition to sharing the highlights from 2015, president & chairman of the board Bill Gray and chief executive officer Warren Connell gave insight into the Stampede’s future by speaking to the Stampede Park development plans. Connell noted that Youth Campus, the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios and Calgary Arts Academy were all well on their way, in addition to the future plans of expanding the BMO Centre, which would provide an estimated 500 full-time jobs and an added $73 million a year to the economy in Alberta and $87 million to Canada’s GDP.
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Bill Gray, president & chairman (L) Warren Connell, chief executive officer (R)

Bill Gray, president & chairman (L) Warren Connell, chief executive officer (R)

Aggie Days moved to their new home in the Agrium Western Event Centre. The lunchtime rodeo took place in the new arena and the animals and exhibits were arranged throughout the main level, in the exhibit hall and around the arena.
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Meet the 2017 Calgary Stampede Royalty!

After competitions including horsemanship, speeches and a number of other events, the  2017 Royalty have been crowned. We are thrilled to introduce you to Indian Princess, Savanna Sparvier, Stampede Queen, Meagan Peters and Princesses, Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman. These women will act as official ambassadors of the Calgary Stampede, promoting western heritage and values, in the community and around the world. Additionally, the Stampede Indian Princess will educate people about the rich, vibrant First Nations cultures. Get to know these four accomplished women in the short interviews below!

2017 Royalty

From Left to Right: Princess Brittany Lloyd, Queen Meagan Peters, Indian Princess Savanna Sparvier, Princess Lizzie Ryman

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Stampede committees work together to host event that proves anyone can be a rodeo star

The Calgary Stampede Queens’ Alumni committee, in partnership with the 4-H committee, and sponsored by Maxim Power Corp., hosted Giddy-Up Rodeo this past weekend, an event for special needs children to come have some fun and try their skills in mock-rodeo events.

“We love participating in the amazing events you hold for the special needs community,” Giddy-Up attendee, Katy Lowe, said. “My son has autism and cannot usually participate in community events and as a result neither can his two sisters.” Giddy-Up Rodeo, and all of the Queen’s Alumni Giddy-Up events, are specially designed so that children can participate in community events at their pace and in a comfortable setting that isn’t over-stimulating and overwhelming. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and it’s an event where everyone can feel accepted.

As soon as you walked through the doors of the beautiful Agrium Western Event Centre guests were immediately greeted by enthusiastic members of the Stampede board of directors, members of the Promotion committee (who were giving out CS branded stamps and showing off their roping skills) and an 11-year-old fiddler to set the tone.

Giddy Up Rodeo 2016 - Agrium


Giddy Up Rodeo - Promotion committee

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How one chuckwagon driver started the tradition of Stampede pancake breakfasts

Howdy everyone!

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

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


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

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

Pacake Breakfasts

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

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

Much love & happy trails,

Princess B

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

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

Hey Cowboys and Cowgirls,

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

Western night

“On duty” at Flames Western Night

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

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


Off duty at the Stampeders Western semi-final game


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

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

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

“You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC

“Hello” – Adele

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

“Thunderstruck” – AC/DC

“Downtown” – Mackelmore

“Chicken Fried” – Zac Brown Band

“Back in Black” – AC/DC

“Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE

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

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Celebrating my 24th birthday

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

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

Much love & happy trails,

Princess B

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

Baby goats, barrel racing and more at Aggie Days

Hey y’all, and happy Spring! You can sure tell it’s springtime when the horses start shedding and you can wake up to the “cheeeeeeeseburger!” call of the chickadee in the morning (I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s what they really say). Another sure sign is Aggie Days! We just finished a full week of spending time with the kids during the week and then the public on the weekend, and, just as I seem to say after every big event, I don’t know how it’ll be topped!

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We’ve been looking forward to this week all year for the extra special reason that it would be our first event where we actually get to ride! Finally! We’ve been working hard all year with our princes, riding at least twice a week and building incredible bonds, and I don’t think it could have gone better. Of course the rehearsal run was a little nerve wracking, not knowing what exactly to expect, but I quickly discovered that my horse, Snoopy was just as excited as I was (if not more) to do his job and he took care of me the entire time. Turns out, O’Canada is his favourite song and he sure can dance to it (who can blame him), and as soon as we were out of the arena, I immediately wanted to turn around and do it again!

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Our amazing horse wrangler, Jessica!

We got to help present awards of $2,500 to two deserving schools for the Aggie Days Art Challenge during the rodeos

We got to help present awards of $2,500 to two deserving schools for the Aggie Days Art Challenge during the rodeos

We even unexpectedly became volunteers to demonstrate the barrel race pattern for the kids, which may have become slightly competitive between the three of us and our stick horses. Princess Bailee did manage to show everything that you were not supposed to do by running the wrong pattern and then knocking over a barrel (we’ll say it was intentional, for educational purposes).

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Every year, the Queens’ Alumni volunteer committee puts on their Giddy Up Aggie Days event: a free breakfast and exclusive access for special needs children. During the event, we got to spend some time hanging out at a photo booth with Darrel, the baby goat. We certainly couldn’t complain about cuddling that furry guy all morning! We then got to spend some time taking in Aggie Days, which was great! There’s so much to see and so many people passionate about what they do within the agriculture community that even the smallest visitors were excited to learn. We ended the weekend by spending Sunday afternoon at the Cowboy Up Challenge, presenting awards, and even getting to shoot the T-shirt gun…such responsibility. If you have never seen the Extreme Cowboy Challenges, I highly suggest taking one in; those horses are braver than I think I could even be!

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Aggie Days_Stampede Royalty_5

Only 87 days until Stampede!


Princess Chelsey

Calgary Stampede Indian Princess spreads western hospitality in Australia

The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess joined the Calgary Stampede and Travel Alberta for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corroboree in Australian cities Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney. The Corroboree is a major tourism roadshow that informs travel agents, tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer. Here are some of Vanessa’s favourite memories from Down Under.


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Happy Trails!

Hey y’all, Princess Chelsey here again, back at it for the New Year! As per usual, we’ve been keeping quite busy, but realizing that this is to be our slow time before all of the extra excitement of spring time hits, we’ve been enjoying our down time while we can! I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about one event that we get to attend each and every month, and will continue to all through the rest of the year…Happy Trails! If you think that was me bursting into song…you’re mistaken. Happy Trails is a monthly event put on by the Calgary Stampede Promotions Committee where we tag along to various retirement homes for an evening of singing, line-dancing, and spending time with the residents. Chelsey 1

We love the Calgary song!

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