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…
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.
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,
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?!