When I started as a volunteer with the Stampede in 1986 I had no idea I would one day end up being the President of this great organization. Even when I was first elected to the Board 9 years ago, the idea of eventually Chairing the Board was not something on my radar. As a result, moving into the role on March 17, 2015 still seems a little surreal to me though I must say thus far it feels great.

Highlights to date:

  1. Receiving so many messages of congratulations and support from friends, family, and professional and Stampede colleagues.
  2. My first official event as President – the Canvas Auction on Thursday, March 19 – the Chuckwagon Committee and Ag employees did a fantastic job getting the bidders out and the buzz and excitement in the room all night was terrific. The end result was better than I expected based on the current economic situation.Bill Gray
  3. Picking up my new GMC Stampede vehicle which I will be proud to be driving for the next year as a representative of our organization;
  4. Getting to work on a regular basis with our new CEO, Warren Connell, who is a class act and already doing a great job in his new role.
  5. Attending and getting a tour around the Dairy Classic a few weeks back with Committee Chair Debbie Lee. Pleased to hear that entries are significantly up this year in advance of the big Dairy Show scheduled for April next year.BillGrayDairyClassic 2015
  6. Attending the first day of Aggie Days on Wednesday, April 8 and reading to the school kids. What a treat that was and what a great event for families.  Bill reading at Aggie Days
  7. Attending and helping to lead our Strategic Stampede Board Retreat this past weekend. We have a very hard working and talented Board and collectively we are coming out of the Retreat in an excited state as we have lots to do and many interesting potential opportunities.

The only negative so far was receiving the news from the Provincial Government that our annual grant was being reduced by approximately $2 million this year. That was a significant cut and certainly larger than expected. However, thanks to the prudent financial planning of our management team and the consistently positive and “can do” attitude of our staff and volunteers, we are moving forward and plan to have a great 2015 Stampede.

I will try to keep you up to date throughout the year with monthly blogs and you can also follow me on twitter at @stampede_pres. Bill.