During my first month at the Calgary Stampede  I had the pleasure of seeing the inner workings of one of oldest, most iconic and community-minded organizations in this city. I’ve learned that the Stampede offers so much more beyond the 10 days in July and I have had the rare privilege to go behind the scenes of some of our city’s most beloved historical sites. I am excited to contribute to this great organization and am eager to share all of my experiences with you. I hope that you will join me by reading about my adventures on Stampede Park, preparation for Stampede 2015 and struggle to find a cowboy hat that fits! Three experiences that have stood out are:

Floyd Aberle pictured above.
Floyd Aberle pictured above.

1. A tour on Park with Floyd Aberle Many visitors, volunteers and partners on Park know Floyd Aberle—he’s a familiar face to all due to the different roles he’s played over the years to shape Stampede’s legacy and the many different hats he’s worn (all western, of course). I jumped at the chance to tour the facilities on Park with Floyd; in two hours we managed to cover BMO Centre, Big Four Building, Agrium Western Event Centre, Grandstand, Mavericks, ranahans, The Lazy S, Stampede Corral, Trailbalzer Centre and CS Mercantile. It was a big day, so be sure to read about the highlights here.

A quick snap shot I took while out for lunch last year.
A quick snap shot I took on Stephan Avenue last year.

2. Giving back The importance of making a positive impact in the community has been a salient and frequent talking point in the cultural zeitgeist over the last few years. I never imagined that a job in corporate communications could lead me into a career in community engagement—an opportunity to reach out to other local non-profit organizations and offer support before, during and after Stampede time. The backbone of the Stampede is comprised of 2,300 active volunteers. In my short time here, I’ve learned that the Stampede’s western hospitality extends beyond just the pancake breakfasts and square dancing, community groups are also welcome invite Stampede volunteer committees to come out to their events. Did you know that the Stampede also supports other non-profit fundraisers with silent auction items? Or that children can attend our two-day Stampede School program? Stampede programming is designed to provide year round, first-class educational, inspirational and fun experiences. My respect and passion for this organization has grown immensely and I look forward to contributing to the work that the Stampede does by sharing these amazing resources with as many people as I can!

Yahoo! I've got my boots, my hog and I'm ready for Stampede 2015.
Yahoo! I’ve got my boots, m’hog and I’m ready for Stampede 2015.

Becoming part of the Stampede family After disclosing my Calgarian roots, transplants to the city often exclaim “you’re a unicorn!” And for a while, I agreed. Where have all the native Calgarians gone? The Stampede, it would appear! I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Stampede time for nearly two decades and watching it adapt to changing demographics and needs, while remaining true to its western roots. I think that the stewards of the Stampede—volunteers and employees alike—have done a marvelous job adapting to the audience and creating narratives that remain in the hearts of everyone in our community. I am so excited to become part of this great story!