Visit us at Lilac Festival for your chance to win Stampede prizes!

Who’s ready for some sunshine and fun this weekend?  We are!

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Stampede volunteers from the Next Generation committee will be set up at the 4th Street Lilac Festival on Sunday, June 5th, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This free family-friendly event is a Calgary tradition that takes place on 4th Street SW between 13 Avenue and Elbow Drive and draws crowds close to 100,000 each year.  There’s definitely no shortage of people watching!

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Calgary’s Pancake Picasso

Ryen Hodgson has been delighting patrons of the Belmont Diner with his pancake creations for more than 14 years– what started as a simple attempt to make mouse ear shaped pancakes for children, has grown into an art-form Belmont is now famous for. I paid him a visit to learn more about his tasty artwork and learned more about how to create  pancake paintings at home.

Pictured: Ryen Hodgson painting with pancakes.

Pictured: Ryen Hodgson painting with pancakes.

Over pancakes, (of course!) Hodgson talked about his transition from using jugs to shape three-circled mouse ears, to using squeeze bottles for better precision. Now he and his team are known for their ability to create everything from Stormtroppers to sloths– and even Harry the Horse! Anything you can think of, Hodgson can replicate in pancake form.

For the last eight months, Hodgson and fellow chef, Trent Pattison, have tweaked their top-secret buttermilk batter mixture to perfection: a consistency that isn’t too thick and is just viscous enough to paint with. The batter has to be smooth–the proper ratio of eggs, baking powder, buttermilk and flour–no chunks, or else it’ll jam up the squirt bottle nozzle and ruin your masterpiece!

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The Calgary Stampede and Calgary Flames heat up Western night at the Dome

The Calgary Flames and the Calgary Stampede teamed up once again for the annual Western Night at Friday night’s game between the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks.

Flames Western Night

To kick off the night, the Calgary Stampede Showband Band of Outriders and Stampede entertainment got game goers into the western spirit as they arrived on Friday night. Thanks to help from the promotion committee, the first 10,000 fans received red Calgary Stampede foam fingers.

During the game, the crowd, donned in western wear, was fully ignited, cheering on the Flames with the coveted foam fingers. One hundred fifty lucky guests won an iconic white hat, while others received 2015 Calgary Stampede belt buckles, t-shirts and tickets.

The night wouldn’t be complete without some great entertainment between periods. During the first intermission, the official voice of the Stampede chuckwagon races, Les McIntyre commentated a mini version of the Stampede’s iconic chuckwagon races on the ice. Reigning Calgary Stampede champion Kurt Bensmiller and driver Jordie Fike drove the mini wagons fueled by players from the Bow Valley minor hockey club. Bensmiller took the title with Fike only seconds behind.

During the second intermission, the Calgary Flames surprised our very own Harry the Horse with a special 30th birthday Zamboni ride!

Throughout the night fans had the opportunity to meet the Calgary Stampede royal trio as well as the 2015 Indian Princess, try their skills at Yahoo IQ and hang with Harry the Horse and Harvey the Hound.

The evening kindled some western and Stampede spirit for the upcoming Calgary Stampede, July 2 – 13, 2015.

Royalty Report (the ‘Old-Fashioned’ way)

After some discussion, we’ve decided to supplement our weekly vlogs with some good old-fashioned written blogs.  This way we can keep you guys even more updated on our crazy year. As a side note, our vlogging may be a little bit delayed: with two science degrees and a communications degree between the three of us, we didn’t come into this whole vlogging topic with much, i.e. ANY, experience.  Please bear with us for another week or so, and cross your fingers for a video soon; I know I will be.

We’ve had a busy last couple of weeks, so apologies for being a bit behind in our blogging. Since the end of October we’ve seen our new Stampede sister Carly Weasel-Child receive her crown, then we were whisked off to Banff following the ceremony.  Princess Shannon will be telling you all about our stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Travel Alberta Conference in our next blog (or maybe vlog), which means I get to share our experience at Happy Trails! We also recently attended the Conservative Party Convention Rodeo, and the Canadian Finals Rodeo so stay tuned for more on those events!

For those of you that don’t know from previous years, Happy Trails consists of us going to a retirement home once a month, where we get to visit, mingle, and sing with any seniors who wish to attend.  Yes… sing. One of the first things you should know about me before I continue is that I cannot sing.  I took vocal lessons for a year or two when I was younger (I think I was about six), until my mom started pushing for me to start playing the piano instead.  Coincidence? I really doubt it. Throw that lack of singing talent in with a major head cold that left me with very little voice, and it is safe to say I was terrified en route to our Happy Trails event.

The Stampede Promotions Committee and a band complete with a bass and two guitars greeted us upon our arrival at Whitehorn Village.  This is when I grew even more nervous; we were told that not only were we expected to walk around and visit/sing with the seniors, but also were expected to perform in front of everyone! With microphones!  I tried to push this thought from my mind as I began to talk to people and sing quietly with members of the retirement home. As the night progressed, I realized that nobody in the room cared if I could actually carry a tune; they were all there to have fun.  By the time it was our turn to lead a song for everyone I was having so much fun myself that all my nerves had disappeared.  Stephanie, Shannon, Carly, and I led an entertaining, albeit off key, rendition of You are my Sunshine complete with all verses.  All of us were surprised to learn that it is not the cheery little jingle we learned as children; those last couple verses certainly bring a darker side to the song!

After our spectacular performance we continued to mingle, and even led a couple line dances, or two-steps in my case when I got too lost to continue.  Another highlight from the night was learning the Spanish names to some of the songs we were singing from one of the residents.  “Valle del Rio Rojo” (Red River Valley) is one of the ones I remember best, and Ricardo and I had a blast laughing at my horrible Spanish accent.

Off key Royalty singing aside, our evening at Whitehorn was a great success.  Happy Trails has been one of my favourite events this year and I can’t wait to attend our next one in a couple weeks time! Who knows, maybe we’ll see such improvements in our vocal talents over the year that we could include it in a vlog segment… no promises though.

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Come Visit us at Lilac Fest on Sunday!

Lilac Festival is coming up on Sunday, May 26th, along with another chance to win some great prizes from the Calgary Stampede’s Next Generation Committee.

This fantastic, FREE one day celebration of culture and community has been entertaining Calgarians for 24 years, with lots to see and do for all ages!


Make sure you stop by our booth, which will be located near the Roots store on 4th Street just passed 17th Avenue, where you can get the inside scoop on how to make the most of your Calgary Stampede experience this July 5-14!

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Looking for the Perfect Stampede Souvenir?

Whether you’re able to be a part of the action or not, you can still take home something special to commemorate 100 years of The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!


Centennial Collectables

The Royal Canadian Mint has come out with a line of commemorative coins, including a $500 Fine Gold Coin, $50 Fine Silver Coin and a Proof Fine Silver Dollar Coin.  Canada Post has also come out with special Centennial Stampede stamps.


This unique Calgary Stampede aluminum metal forged 2012 ticket would look great on any desk or mantle.  And you can choose from one of 4 poster plaques, including the 2012 one below.


Special Centennial Western Wear

Longview artist, Scott Hardy, created the limited edition Calgary Stampede Centennial belt buckle, which is crafted in sterling silver and gold.


Limited edition cowboy boots and hats are also available.  The boots are handcrafted by Alberta Boots, with full quill ostrich vamps, kangaroo shafts and full leather lining and soles.

The hats are made of beaver felt with a sterling silver hat buckle by the legendary Smithbilt Hats.


Fun for the Kids

Stampede packs are back again – loaded with yummy snacks, coupons and value offers. Kids Packs come in 3 fun designs and are $12 each in the BMO Centre, Hall A, Stampede Park between July 5 to 15th.

Harry the Horse, the official Calgary Stampede mascot, is always a hit with the kids!  They can take home a plush version of Harry to remember their special day at the Stampede.

The Calgary Stampede Store offers a wide selection of Stampede merchandise, as well as other unique western gifts and souvenirs. The store is located south of the Pengrowth Saddledome and the Agriculture building along Stampede Trail and is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 403.261.0355. Authentic Calgary Stampede merchandise may also be purchased online.

All of these items above would make excellent contributions to our 2012 Time Capsule.  What would you like to see in the #TimeCapsule? We’d love to hear from you!

It’s a Stampede Flash Mob Line Dance

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 200+ dancers surprised Calgarians with a line dance flash mob before Stampede. Volunteers from Calgary’s dance community and the Calgary Stampede arrived on Stephen Avenue Walk during the peak of lunch hour and jumped right into the dance.

The line dancers are in full swing and looking good for the cameras.

Of course, line dancing is a western-style of dance and is generally performed to country songs like Achy Breaky Heart, but it doesn’t have to be. Anything with the right beat can work, all you need is a group of dancers dancing in rows or lines. Our choice? Imma Be by the Black Eyed Peas.

Harry arrives on Stephen Avenue Walk in time to join in on the line dance.

It was a beautiful day for it. Even Harry the Horse turned up to show off some moves.

Luckily, we have a YouTube video of the action if you weren’t down there to see it in person:

Spreading the Stampede Spirit to the World

By Killa Burkinshaw

It’s Saturday morning and I am up at the crack of dawn to go to the 50th Annual Daines Innisfail Parade with the Calgary Stampede Promotion Show Wagon and Harry the Horse. This is the first time I am going out with them so I am pretty excited!  We all met at Stampede Park and loaded up the show wagon trailer and truck, hit a Tim Horton’s because everyone runs better on Tim’s and headed out on the highway.

We pulled into Innisfail, piled out of the SUV and then started getting ready. First we had to get the horses ready by braiding and adding red and white ribbons, spraying the CS logo on, and preparing the show wagon.  Then, we went and joined the line of all the other people in the parade to wait our turn (the hardest part).

While we were waiting, we got to watch the Stampede Showriders practice some of their moves. The Wagon and the Showriders both received ribbons (awards) for coming to the parade (1st and 2nd). We then got on to the parade route and had Harry lead everyone in some Yahoo’s to get everyone pumped up. As we walked along the parade route we gave away Stampede and Harry the horse buttons and pins and huge high fives, which the kids that lined the route loved.

We finished the parade and got back to the truck and the trailer where we packed up the trailer and stopped for a quick lunch and then pulled out on to the highway and came back to Calgary, our home base, where we put everything away for our next trip to bring the Stampede Spirit to the rest of the world.