The Stampede Talent Search named their 35th Champion on Saturday night. Christian Hudson, a 19-year old from Airdrie, AB stood out from the final group of 12 performers with his take on a Nina Simone classic, “Be My Husband” recently updated by Ed Sheeran. Hudson received the President’s Trophy, a custom-one-of-a-kind silver belt buckle, a performer development package, musical instrument and recording prizes, and $10,000 cash.

Christian Hudson
Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Upon being presented with his cash prize, Hudson promptly announced that he would be donating it all to the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre. During the week-long competition, Hudson spent a few nights on the banks of the Bow River instead of driving back to Airdrie to save money. He was inspired to donate his winnings after connecting with one person in particular whose story touched Hudson.

“Christian’s decision to donate his cash prize is reflection of his values and overall attitude as a performer,” says Andrew Bunka, chair, Stampede Talent Search committee. “The Stampede Talent Search is more than just a competition, it’s a community of exceptional young people like Christian.”

Emma Rose
Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

The first runner-up was Emma Rose from Calgary, AB.

Braden Pole
Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Braden Pole, from Balzac, AB was the second runner-up.

Vincent and Celine
Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

The third runner-up was the duo of Vincent and Celine from Airdrie and Calgary, respectively.

Don Welden presentation
Photo credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

The Don Welden Most Promising Performer award was presented to Brad Fleischer by Don Welden’s daughters, Barbara and Caroline, and Calgary Stampede chief operating officer, Jim Laurendeau.

This year, over 300 amateur Canadian youth performers demonstrated their singing, dancing, acting, musical and variety performance abilities during auditions for this annual showcase of talent. Fifty-eight senior performers (aged 13 to 21) were selected to compete in front of our panel of professional judges. In addition, twelve junior performers (aged six to 12) were showcased during the eight days of competition.

Registration for the 2016 Stampede Talent Search will begin in March 2015 and auditions will be held in May. Additional information and online registration is available on the Stampede Talent Search website: