The holidays are a time for giving, spreading cheer and sharing our Stampede spirit with the community! When West Jet reached out to the Calgary Stampede to participate in their coast-to-coast 12,000 mini miracles in 24 hours quest, we leapt at the chance to help make Christmas just a little more merry for some Calgary seniors.
4240 hungry pancake fans were able to get their fill on Stephen Avenue as we teamed up with SAIT Polytechnic to celebrate Calgary’s diversity through pancakes! This year we thought that it would be a great way to shake things up by offering different types of pancakes that pay homage to Calgary’s diverse and ever evolving food scene.
When the Stampede initially approached SAIT back in January, we had a simple dream: to host a summit around the ultimate worldwide comfort food, pancakes! We connected with Chef Mark Beattie and Chef Bruno Lesage– who brilliantly interpreted four international pancake recipes.
Together we kicked off the first pancake event of the season on Stephen Avenue and served up five unique pancakes for our guests to try: Venezuelan cachapas, Swedish potato pancakes, Eastern European blintz, Korean kimchi pancakes and Calgary’s own, the western pancake.
The Calgary Stampede has always been an important part of my life. From Parade Day until Showdown Sunday I was enthralled by everything Stampede.
Whether it was participation in the Breed Demonstration at the old Ag tent, or being a spectator down by the rail at the Rangeland Derby, I spent the majority of Ten-Day down on the grounds. This passion for the Stampede was a major motivator in trying out for the Royal Trio. However, before this year, I had no idea of the magnitude of the corporation: there are over 3500 volunteers and employees who invest countless hours both over Ten-Day, and year round into this unbelievable organization. They all share a common passion: The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. While we had the privilege of meeting countless volunteers involved with numerous committees, there are a few that stood out in our amazing year, and really showed us what it means to be part of the Stampede Family.
To the Promotion Committee, thank you for the line dancing and singing lessons (both of which were desperately needed), and for the genuine western spirit you shared with us, and that you share around the entire city year round. It was a privilege to work with such enthusiastic volunteers that demonstrate the core values of the Calgary Stampede at each event you participate in.
The Courtesy Car Committee was there for us during the highlight of our year: Stampede 2014. This is an amazing group of gentlemen who, among other more important duties, take care of us and make sure we get where we need to be during an incredibly hectic ten days. We were lucky enough to have 22 fantastic drivers with us for Stampede. From car paint (sorry not sorry, Harry!), to milkshakes, Starbucks runs, Sillabub, and laughing / rapping to our “special song”, this committee made an already incredible Stampede even more special.
Finally, to the Royalty Committee, there are no words to describe how grateful all three of us are for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This year not only did we get to experience a vast number of special and unique events but we grew as individuals, and as a team. The life skills we’ve learned this year are invaluable, and most certainly be taken with us wherever we go in life. Thank you for all you have done behind the scenes to make this year so special. You run a phenomenal program, and we are so honoured to be able to say we were part of it. Thank you for introducing us to what is sure to be a lifetime as part of the Stampede Family.
As bittersweet as passing our crowns on will be, I speak for Shannon, Stephanie, and myself when I say the Stampede will not be getting rid of us that easily. Once you’re accepted as part of this remarkable family, you’re here for a lifetime. Thank you to this incredible organization that has given us so much.
If you’ve ever met Janet Jessiman and Gabby Franco, then you’re probably aware that they know how to throw a good party!
These two long-time Stampede volunteers didn’t let their recent move to Beijing damper their Stampede spirit. Instead, they shared it at a special gathering with 37 of their new Chinese friends.
It’s official! 2 Promotion Committee members + 1 Reception Committee member + 37 Chinese folks = 1 great Stampede party.
With videos of the Stampede and Calgary playing in the background, Janet served up some sliders and a few other nibbley foods. Most of their guests had never tried a hamburger before.
The handy “Calgary Stampede Party in a Box” that they picked up last year included everything for a good western party, from a souvenir banner to cowboy party hats. Gabby said their guests had never seen frisbees before and had fun tossing them around the room.
Janet’s daughter Samantha, and her fiancé James were also in town for a visit and with western tunes pumping, Sam got a chance to teach them all some line dancing moves.
“Needless to say they had a blast. They were so genuinely thrilled to be doing this and now want to visit Calgary for sure! They kept coming up to us asking for posed pictures, and toasting (we had beer of course), and repeating how much they were enjoying themselves,” said Gabby.
While they took the party with them, it was not quite as good as the real thing.
“At one point I was putting the sliders together and I looked up to a video of the Stampede. Yup, tears in the eyes and realized how much I missed it,” said Janet.
Thanks for sharing your western hospitality with our friends on the other side of the world. Hopefully we’ll see some of your pals at Stampede 102!
You might be surprised to hear that the Stampede has more than 2,200 volunteers and 47 volunteer committees. It takes a lot of hands on deck to make an event of this magnitude happen and over the years, through their time, energy, dedication and community spirit, volunteers have helped the Stampede grow into the world-renowned show that it is today, 100 years after its debut.
I was lucky enough to chat with Janet Jessiman, a Stampede volunteer for over 15 years and ask her about her involvement in The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!
1) What year did you become a Stampede volunteer and why did you decide to get involved?
It was 1997 officially with the Stampede, but my daughter was a marching band member from Round-Up to Stampede Band. I joined the Stampede Band as a chaperone and once my daughter, Samantha, was finished I joined the Promotion Committee.
2) What are some of your favorite Stampede memories?
My father was very involved with the Stampede so I grew up with it. Some of my favourite memories are going to kids day in the Grandstand; I was convinced every year I was going to win the grand prize to Disneyland, never happened but Buckshot always gave me hope.
One other memory that stands out was my dad was riding in the parade, of course my mom and our visitors waved and shouted when he went by but he totally ignored us. When we finally did meet up with him we found out that he was bucked off his horse at the beginning of the parade and rode the whole time with a concussion. The only thing he could remember was being confused if he should stop at the red lights or not. Thank goodness he came out of it ok.
3) What Stampede experience or event are you looking forward to the most this year?
Helping the communities celebrate the 100th year. Our committee is doing its best to be out and about and bringing the spirit with us.
4) What’s your favorite midway food?
An absolute just made fresh corn dog. I only get one a year so it better be perfect.
5) What’s your best advice for a fun Stampede?
Relax, enjoy the show, participate and let your hair down.
If you’re interested in lending your time and skills to the Stampede team, learn more on how to get involved here.
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.