Living the ‘Wild Life’ at the OH Ranch

There’s no question the historic OH Ranch is a special place.  With the Calgary Stampede as a steward of the land, it remains a working cattle ranch with a remarkable history stretching back more than 130 years. But it’s not just that history that the Stampede strives to preserve on the 8,000 acre property along the Highwood River west of Longview.

Beautiful View

It's not  unusual to spot a Grizzly Bear roaming OH land

A Grizzly Bear roams the OH Ranch

 

It’s not uncommon for ranch manager Ken Pigeon and his wife Deb to spot a variety of wildlife on the land. The cold snap in January had many animals making their way a bit closer to the ranch buildings to forage for food.

Continue reading

Hundreds of newcomers gather on Stampede Park for a fun-filled Saturday

On Saturday, February 4, the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP), in partnership with the Calgary Stampede, the Government of Canada, The City of Calgary, ENMAX and ATB hosted Building a Life in Calgary: A Community Cultural Exchange. CLIP organized the event for newcomers and refugees who have settled in Calgary in the last year. Hundreds of people gathered at BMO Centre for learning workshops, a resource fair and a cultural exchange, where newcomers had the chance to speak with immigrants from Vietnam, South Sudan and Colombia about their experiences settling in Calgary.

Calgary Stampede volunteers brought their A-game with authentic western experiences including the Incredi-Pull, Bluebell the milking cow, crafts and even horse-drawn wagon rides.

Wagon rides

Continue reading

Stampede team volunteers for The Alex Centre’s debut Community Meals program

“This is a place where everyone is welcomed with dignity; nobody is tested for the income they make to feel good about themselves. It’s a place where we can overcome barriers – both  physical and mental – and where community members don’t have to choose between rent and dinner,” explained Renee MacKillop, program manager at The Alex Centre, as she welcomed a team of Calgary Stampede employees to volunteer at the first ever community meal at the Calgary Community Food Centre.

Stampede employees arrived on the Stampede Trolley for a day ahead of helping out the community.

Stampede employees arrived on the Stampede Trolley for a day ahead of helping out the community.

The Alex Centre, since its inception in 1973, has saved millions in taxpayer dollars by moving people from poverty to stability and from crisis to wellness. Its focus is crisis prevention; as such, the community health, housing and food programs are aimed to break down social barriers.

The Alex Community Food Centre (CFC), the organization’s newest program, focuses on the importance of healthy food. The centre teaches community members the skills of cooking and shopping for healthy foods, and the importance of eating healthy to maintain energy and physical and mental wellness.

The Alex Centre focuses on providing individuals with the power, knowledge and skills to take control of their own lives.

The Alex Centre focuses on providing individuals with the power, knowledge and skills to take control of their own lives.

The Stampede Marketing & External Relations team was fortunate to be able to participate in the centre’s first ever community meal on Wednesday, January 25. The debut community meal was a partnership with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide social, cultural, education and employment services to Aboriginal people within the Calgary area. MacKillop provided insight into the collaboration for the debut event by saying “The Alex Community Food Centre is really a place for joy, health and sharing culture.”

To prepare for the community meal the Stampede team helped set up the space to welcome visitors – including preparing place settings for 120 guests, organizing the food health library, cleaning the area and helping to build furniture.

Two Stampede team members helped organize the community library of health-focused books.

Two Stampede team members helped organize the community library of health-focused books.

Before the meal began, representatives from the Aboriginal Friendship Centre blessed the space to provide positive intentions for moving the future. During the delicious, locally-sourced, meal, the Stampede team helped plate foods, serve guests and wash dishes. The menu consisted of fresh foods such as root vegetables, roasted acorn squash, beet salad, elk stew and home-made bannock.

The meal served was all locally-sourced and prepared in-house.

The meal served was all locally-sourced and prepared in-house.

“My favourite part of the day was when, after the guests finished eating, they all joined together to do a traditional dance, led by the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. I was so honoured to be invited into the dance circle where we all joined hands,” shared one Stampede participant. “It made me feel like we are all part of something greater, and all part of one community.”

The success of the debut community meal forecasted a busy future for the centre. Community meals will be served every second Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. at 3920 17 Ave SE. Fridays are fun too – The Alex provides drop-in smoothie making, where the smoothies are blended by the pedal-power of community members on stationary bikes. Learn more about The Alex Centre’s community programs here.

Kicking 2017 off to a great start!

It’s always fantastic to hear compliments from other rodeos about our Calgary Stampede bucking stock. But the horses’ recent performance in Denver at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo is drawing extremely high praise.

“They steal the show from the rest of the stock contractors that are there,” said Leon Vick, Denver’s Senior Director of Rodeo and Horse Show Operations.

Tootsie Roll and Richmond Champion earn 85 points in Denver

Tootsie Roll and Richmond Champion earn 85 points in Denver

47 Calgary Stampede horses were in Denver for the Colorado VS the World Rodeo on January 7, as well as the Pro Rodeo performances that followed on January 12-22. The results on the scoreboard from those events back up Leon Vick’s compliments. In Saddle Bronc, all three rounds of the PRCA sanctioned competition were won on Stampede horses, with Cody Wright riding Tokyo Bubbles for the top score in the finals.

Bareback competition also went well, with two second place finishes on CS stock in the first two rounds, a win for cowboy Jake Brown on our Reckless Margie in the finals, and a 87.5 point championship clinching ride for Tim O’Connell on Tootsie Roll.

“They’re just bigger, stronger and buck better,” said Vick, when asked what makes Calgary Stampede horses stand out from the crowd. “They’re good in the chute and guys get out on them easy. They really perform well, they’re very showy and they tend to help the guys win a lot of money. “

Tim O'Connell captures the championship thanks to another great ride provided by Tootsie Roll

Tim O’Connell captures the championship thanks to another great performance from Tootsie Roll

With competition in Denver wrapped up, the horses have now made the move to San Antonio, Texas. They will enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation before returning to action at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, February 9-26.

Ty Pozzobon – Farewell to a champion and friend

The Calgary Stampede, along with the rest of the rodeo community, is saddened by the loss of Ty Pozzobon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ty will be fondly remembered as a genuine man and a true ambassador for the sport.  Champions like Ty are few and far between and the Stampede was always grateful to have him compete in our arena.

As a young bull rider it was no secret that Ty was going to be an accomplished competitor but what he will be remembered for is his infectious smile and his ability to make everyone around him feel like an old friend. Many of us around the Stampede had the opportunity to become friends with Ty and he was always ready with a firm hand shake and a huge smile. There was no question he was a humble and grounded champion. He made friends with as many people as he possibly could and genuinely cared about you no matter who you were or where you came from. Pages and pages could be written on Ty for all of the great things that he has done at such a young age but the resounding theme will be that he was an amazing man with a huge heart who was loved by many. The rodeo community has lost a champion. You will hear that line many times in the coming days and months and even years but we haven’t just lost a champion, we have lost a friend and a family member.

We extend our sincerest condolences to the Pozzobon family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

Introducing the Calgary Stampede OH Ranch Historical Centre

In late 2016, the Calgary Stampede Foundation hosted the first tour of the OH Ranch Historical Centre, which illuminates the long and storied history of the OH Ranch. The Historical Centre is located in the basement of the OH Ranch Cookhouse.

OH Ranch Jan 2015_S Murray pics (2)

Previously, cowboys used the basement of the cookhouse as a bunkhouse. The room was complete with 60s era shag carpet and a few old couches. Now, thanks to the Foundation and generous donors, the basement has been revitalized into an inviting educational space.

Students of the OH Ranch Educational Program and visitors to events at the ranch can learn about past and present owners, like Bill Siebens who donated the OH Ranch to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012. They can also see a bison coat and learn about the role of the North West Mounted Police police in western Canada, and come face to face with a bison head and learn about the original inhabitants of the land—First Nations peoples.

16OHopening0124

16OHopening0080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students can try on cowboy clothing and learn about the jobs of ranch hands who have lived and worked at OH Ranch.

16OHopening0075

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, follow a timeline that traces the OH from its origins into the future.

16OHopening0067

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, the Calgary Stampede is the steward of the OH Ranch, which is protected as a Heritage Rangeland with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The rich history and tradition that are lived every day on the ranch is now preserved and shared in the OH Ranch Interpretive Centre.

Christmas Thoughts from Stampede President, Bill Gray

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS

During Christmas and holiday time our thoughts tend to turn to family. Family means different things to different people. At the Stampede, we often think of our great group of employees and volunteers as our “Stampede Family.” When one thinks deeper about it, however, the Stampede Family is significantly bigger than that group. We have our customers, fans and supporters who live in Calgary, southern Alberta, Canada, the USA and indeed all around the world, and who come year after year to enjoy the 10 days of Stampede. Certainly, they should all be considered part of our extended Stampede Family as we rely on their annual support, which was clearly evident in the bad weather we faced during the 2016 Stampede.

Bill_post_2

Continue reading

Greatest of the Great in Las Vegas

This year’s National Finals Rodeo (NFR) will go down in the history books as the greatest all time showing for Canada at the world’s richest rodeo and the Calgary Stampede was right there to be a part of it. It is very fitting that we chose to theme our Calgary Stampede booth at the Las Vegas Convention Centre Cowboy Christmas the “Greatest of the Greats” this year because that is truly what was showcased from start to finish at the NFR this December.

Photo1

If you had a chance to get down to the promotional booth, you would have noticed the walls decorated with all the great things Stampede has to offer. On the wall were photos of incredible Stampede competitors like Sage Kimzey, Mary Burger and Zeke Thurston, as well as some of our great Stampede bucking horses. As the week unfolded some of our featured athletes showed the world why they are the greatest of the great. Mary Burger came into the week as the all-time money earning Barrel Racer and left Las Vegas with the distinguished title of oldest-ever competitor at the NFR along with a brand new gold buckle and the crown of World Champion to go along with her other major wins in Houston and the Calgary Stampede.

Mary Burger at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Mary Burger at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Sage Kimzey may not have won this year’s Stampede Bull Riding title but he has hoisted that bronze trophy on our stage in the past and also knows how to win World Championships. Sage stayed ahead of his field of tough competitors to claim his third consecutive World Title; the same number of years that he has been a professional bull rider.

Sage Kimzey at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Sage Kimzey at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Last, but certainly not least, on the list of all-time great champions of the Calgary Stampede was Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alberta. Not only is Zeke the two-time and reigning Calgary Stampede Champion Saddle Bronc rider, he is now the newly crowned World Champion in the event. Zeke is a proud Canadian and second-generation National Finals qualifier who has been carving out his own page in rodeo history with an impressive resume that includes a Rodeo Houston title, two Calgary Stampede titles, a National Finals Rodeo title and  now a World Championship. We are looking forward to seeing all three of these ‘Greats’ back at Stampede in 2017!

Zeke Thurston at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Zeke Thurston at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

But the story of Canadian success at the NFR doesn’t stop there. Of the eight Canadians competing at this year’s NFR, five are now qualified for an invitation to the 2017 Calgary Stampede. Airdrie’s Jake Vold, three-time and reigning Canadian Champion Bareback Rider, finished second in the NFR and Reserve World Champion. Jake Watson of Hudson Hope, British Columbia, finished the NFR in second place and fifth overall in the World Standings. Clay Elliot, 2016 Canadian Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, calls Nanton, Alberta, home. He finished ninth overall in Las Vegas, with Orin Larsen the Bareback Rider from Inglis, Manitoba, ending his season sitting third in the World Standings.

Along with the success of our future Stampede competitors, some other great Canadian competitors were breaking records in the Team Roping event. Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler became the first all-Canadian team of ropers to ever qualify for the National Finals Rodeo. Not only did they qualify but they dominated the field and on day 10 were crowned the 2016 World Champion Team Ropers, which, as you can guess, also went down in the record books. This is an amazing accomplishment for the Alberta cowboys and a proud moment for rodeo in Canada. Kolton Schmidt from Barrhead, Alberta, also competed in this year’s NFR Team Roping but came up short. Kolton and his great horse Badger did however take home the title of Heading Horse of the Year in the PRCA.

That brings us to our final piece of the Canadian contingent at this year’s NFR: the bucking stock. The Stampede was honored this year to have 13 horses and two bulls selected to compete at the National Finals Rodeo. All in all, it was a great showing, with more than $125,000USD won by cowboys on Stampede stock, and over a quarter of a million dollars total on Canadian bucking stock. We are extremely proud to say when the dust settled, it was an NFR rookie with the CS brand that took home the title of Top Bareback Horse of the NFR. X-9 Xplosive Skies is a descendant of the legendary Grated Coconut and is performing true to her lineage. Being recognized as the best bucking horse is no easy feat but this young mare has incredible skills and will be a force in the arena for many years to come.

One last Stampede notable is Pick-Up Man Gary Rempel who made a record-setting ninth appearance at the National Finals this year. Gary is an integral part of the Stampede team, keeping riders and livestock safe in the arena during all of the rodeos that Stampede is involved with. Congratulations to Gary on yet another successful year!

There were too many great success stories at this year’s Nationals Finals Rodeo to name them all but in the end it comes down to a great team that comes together to represent the Calgary Stampede as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

NFR 2016

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.

January
The Calgary Stampede bucking stock brought in the new year in Denver with some big scores at the National Western Stock Show.
Read more…

NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

NWSS photo by Sean Halverson, R-82 Reckless Margie

February
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.
Read more…

February - IP in AUS

March
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.
Read more…

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

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

April
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.
Continue reading

Stampede History Moment Presents: Merry Christmas from the Cosgraves

Dick Cosgrave looms large in Stampede history. Arena director, long-time chuckwagon record holder, stock breeder…Cosgrave did it all. Lesser known about Dick and his wife Olive is that they sent out great Christmas Cards! So this year, we celebrate the holiday season with some flashback greetings from the Cosgraves.

Cograve Christmas Card 1 Calgary Stampede

If only Santa had thoroughbreds instead of reindeer.

 

Cograve Christmas Card 2 Calgary Stampede

Writing the Stampede 2013 catchphrase, 60 years prior.

 

Cograve Christmas Card 3 Calgary Stampede

“As Christmas rolls around again, We’re just now dryin’ out, From that ’65 Stampede so wet; we coulda fished for trout.” Also applicable to 2016.

 

Cograve Christmas Card 4 Calgary Stampede

New event for next year’s Stampede: reindeer-wrestling.

 

Cograve Christmas Card 5 Calgary Stampede

“So with Christmas fast approachin’, It’s nice to make your home, Amongst obligin’ neighbors, who leave their livestock roam” …Remember western hospitality this holiday season.

Today, fourth-generation driver Colt Cosgrave and outrider Chad Cosgrave continue the tradition of competing at the Stampede started by their great-grandfather in 1926.

With 77,000 Christmas Lights and 500 hours of work, Stampede Park has a beautiful public display for the holiday season

“I like my blue trees the best, they’re my signature look,” said Sandy McAfee, park maintenance supervisor and Christmas lights display expert, when asked about the stunning lights display across Stampede Park. McAfee shared that her team, which consist of two core lights-hangers, Kevin Smith and Glen Felt of the Park Maintenance team, as well as four to five additional helpers, bases the lights displays around the locations on Stampede Park. “We use blue and white for the BMO Centre, since those are BMO’s colours, and Stampede colours, red and white, for the Stampede Headquarters Building and main roadway.”

Christmas Lights Stampede Park

McAfee’s signature blue trees have been featured in a lot of surprising places – most notably, they were included digitally outside the Saddledome in one of the old NHL Hockey Xbox games!

Continue reading

Where in the world is the Showband headed next?

The Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce that they will be travelling to compete in the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade, The Netherlands in summer 2017. WMC is the Olympics of music taking place over four weeks from Thursday, July 6 – Sunday, July 30, 2017. The event will feature more than 260 musical ensembles and 20,000 individual musicians. The Showband will be leaving right after Stampede to compete in the marching show band class on Sunday, July 30 against 60 other marching show bands from around the globe.

Photo credit: Kien Le

The Showband is a youth performance ensemble that rehearses and performs year round. Photo credit: Kien Le.

Continue reading

Vegas, Baby!

On a football field out behind the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, 13 Calgary Stampede horses and two bulls are settling into their temporary home for the biggest rodeo event of the year, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Invited to compete because they are among the best-of-the-best, they will carry some of the top competitors in the sport over ten days of rodeo action.

thomas and mack

The trip from the Calgary Stampede Ranch to the glitz and glamour of Vegas isn’t a particularly quick one when travelling with livestock. With frequent stops along the way, Calgary Stampede livestock coordinator Ken Rehill (better known in the rodeo world simply as Goose) made the trip with the stock in three days. Now in Vegas, he’s turned their primary care over to the NFR’s team of caregivers. The animals are housed in a secure area where stock from other contractors is kept as well. Their well-being and safety a number one priority, they are checked regularly as well as fed and cared for.

“They’re settling in well,” said Goose, in the lead up to the big event, “they’re all quiet and relaxed.” He points to the airport flight path as the biggest issue they’ve had to deal with, with planes flying overhead. While not something they’d see at home on the Stampede Ranch, the horses and bulls are pros and easily adjusted to the noise.

With a little rest and relaxation they will be ready to compete come the start of the rodeo December first. And here’s a fun fact about our bucking horses that will be competing this year. Nine of the thirteen horses are offspring of our six time world champion, Grated Coconut.

Grated Coconut competes at the 2009 NFR (photo courtesy PRCA)

Grated Coconut competes at the 2009 NFR (photo courtesy PRCA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Calgary Stampede Stock List for the National Finals Rodeo

Bareback horses

S-65 Shadow Warrior

S-77 Soap Bubbles

S-83 Special Delivery

T-19 Tootsie Roll

T-29 Trail Dust

X-9 Xplosive Skies

R-82 Reckless Margie

 

Saddle Bronc horses

T-38 Timely Delivery

S-66 Stampede Warrior

T-65 Tiger Warrior

T-77 Tokyo Bubbles

W-16 Wild Cherry

W-46 Waning Moon

 

Bulls

003 Wranglers Extreme

201 Night Moves

 

Congratulations to the Western Legacy Award winners

On Thursday, November 17, the Calgary Stampede honoured three inspiring individuals and one remarkable group based on their commitment to western heritage and values at the 12th annual Western Legacy Awards. The 2016 Award recipients are community leaders who genuinely embody the values and commitment to community that southern Alberta is known for.

Robert Anderson is a man who keeps western heritage alive every day. He has been involved, in one form or another, with the Calgary Stampede since early childhood. Robert first participated in the Calgary Stampede parade with his father and brothers 70 years ago. A second generation volunteer with the Antique Show Wagon, over the last 20 years Robert has provided thousands of guests the opportunity to experience Western history. He has had a booth in the Agriculture Building during Stampede, sharing his passion for the equine species with everyone. Robert believes western lifestyle has a lot to teach people – from respect for nature to respect for others. Robert is committed to the community and embodies Western values.

Robert Anderson_Western Legacy Awards

Darby Young is an advocate for people with disabilities and applies her lived experience to help remove barriers. She served as the co-chair of Calgary city council’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility, advising city council on disability issues brought forward by citizens and organizations. Through this role, she created change for people with disabilities by increasing knowledge and environmental accessibility. Darby has been an invaluable volunteer with the Cerebral Palsy Association, along with a number of other organizations. Darby’s innovation is a tremendous example of the Stampede spirit to make the world as accessible as possible for everyone.
Continue reading

8 buckles and a super-star bronc at the Canadian Finals Rodeo!

It would be a huge understatement to say that Calgary Stampede horses and bulls did well at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, which took place November 9-13. We know they’re superstars, and they proved it over and over again in Edmonton. Six horses and two bulls carried cowboys to top paychecks over the five days of action, earning an incredible 8 go-round buckles.

One of those round winners, Wild Cherry, wowed the crowd and the judges in the final performance of Saddle Bronc riding. Combining with cowboy Layton Green for an 86.5, he was spectacular, earning himself the title of Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR.

 Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Another notable performance came on Night Moves, a bull that put PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey into the mud during the 2016 Calgary Stampede. Previously unridden until the CFR, the big black bull met his match in Tim Lipsett. Lipsett rode his way to a win and a big payday, with an 86 point score.

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie - Courtesy CFR

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie – Courtesy CFR

The Calgary Stampede would like to congratulate all of the newly-crowned Canadian Champions, including those who battled their way to the very top of the novice events. Committed to the future of rodeo, the Stampede works hard to support and grow the up-and-coming generation of superstars through our Novice tour and as a proud partner of the Canadian Finals Rodeo. We were thrilled to have Rodeo committee chair John Rule on hand to congratulate the winners at the Canadian Finals and we look forward to seeing the skills of Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie, Novice Bareback Champion Tanner Young and Novice Saddlebronc Champion Kolby Wanchuk in the Calgary Stampede arena in years to come!