There was a lot of excitement and great energy at the 2015 Canvas Auction last night. More than 160 organizations attended the auction in hopes of being one of the lucky few who will become part of Calgary Stampede history.

Jamie Laboucane, professional Chuckwagon driver.
Pictured: Jamie Laboucane, professional Chuckwagon driver.

The annual Canvas Auction is known as an exclusive Albertan experience—an opportunity for advertisers to become a part of one of Canada’s most iconic events, the GMC Rangeland Derby.

Since 1923, Chuckwagon racing has been a part of the Calgary Stampede’s DNA. The auction, an annual tradition since 1978, helps to sustain this unique western Canadian heritage sport. Today, the GMC Rangeland Derby is enjoyed by a live audience of more than 190,000 and broadcasted nationally.

The 2015 Canvas Auction stage is adorned with beautiful Chuckwagon bronzes of  Calgary Stampede past.
The 2015 Canvas Auction stage is adorned with beautiful Chuckwagon bronzes of Calgary Stampede past.

Companies bid for the chance to feature their logo on one of the 36 driver’s chuckwagons. These drivers have qualified for the 2015 Calgary Stampede and are the best from two professional Canadian chuckwagon circuits.  For 10 days, advertisers have their brands prominently featured for guests on Stampede Park and viewers around the world to see.

Stampede Princess, Kimberly Stewart and Indian Princess, Maya Many Grey Horses mingling with guest.
Pictured: Stampede Princess, Kimberly Stewart and Indian Princess, Maya Many Grey Horses mingling with guest.

The festivities began at 3:30 p.m. and guests quickly filled the Boyce Theatre. We had the chance to mingle with Stampede staples, such as Calgary Stampede Royalty, as well as enjoy refreshments and marvel at artists like Sheila Kernan and Darcy Presiloski, who performed live demonstrations.

Darcy Presiloski doing a live-demo of her art at the Canvas Auction.
Pictured: Darcy Presiloski doing a live-demo of her art at the Canvas Auction.
Pictured: Sheila Kernan and "My Downtown View." Kernan's inspiration comes from her love of Calgary and the way the lights reflect off buildings. She has lived in Calgary for 14 years and is an alumnae of ACAD. Stampede has had a special place in hear heart since 2008 when she was featured as a Rotary Dream  home artist.
Pictured: Sheila Kernan and “My Downtown View.” Kernan’s inspiration comes from her love of Calgary and the way the lights reflect off buildings. She has lived in Calgary for 14 years and is an alumnae of ACAD. Stampede has had a special place in hear heart since 2008 when she was featured as a Rotary Dream home artist.

At 4:45 p.m. the Band of Outriders, an energetic 40-piece ensemble, pumped up the crowd as they got down to businesses and mentally prepared themselves for the auction to begin. The room’s ambiance quickly shifted from feeling laid-back to being filled with nervous excitement…

Pictured: Calgary Stampede Band of Outriders.
Pictured: Calgary Stampede Band of Outriders.

Robert Bergevin, of the Auctioneers’ Association of Alberta, was centre stage and rapidly auctioning off canvas’. Faster than you could say “annnd we’re off!” the first canvas of the night, belonging to 2014 GMC Rangeland Derby Champion, Kurt Bensmiller, went to the Tsuu T’ina Nation with a winning bid of $170K!

Les McIntyre, World Professional Chuckwagon Association track announcer, kicked off the 2015 Canvas Auction
Pictured: Les McIntyre, World Professional Chuckwagon Association track announcer, kicked off the 2015 Canvas Auction with his iconic voice.

In total, 36 successful bidders supported the auction with bids totaling $2,782,000. This year, the average bid was $77,278.

It was a great night with lots of laughter and entertainment, as well as serious business. Congratulations to all the winners at last night’s Canvas Auction. We can’t wait to see your brands proudly displayed on the chuckwagons at the 2015 Calgary Stampede.