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Pictured: 2015 Western Legacy Awards recipients (L to R) Chuck Groenveld, Quinn Clark, Marilyn Dyck and Brad Fisher

On November 12 we honoured three outstanding individuals and one incredible group—as well as two inspiring Chairman’s Award recipients—at the 11th Annual Western Legacy Awards.

These awards were established in 2005 to recognize unsung heroes in Southern Alberta who exemplify the Calgary Stampede’s values of commitment to community, pride of place, integrity and western hospitality.

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Four new names joined the Legacy Wall this evening—Quinn Clark (Youth), Brad Fisher (Innovation), Chuck Groeneveld (Sustained Contribution, Individual) and The Doorway (Sustained Contribution, Group). This wall serves as a reminder of the people, organizations, acts and values that have and will continue to build great communities.

Congratulations to all recipients and finalists!

Pictured: Steve Snyder, M. Ann McCaig, Bill Gray, Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm and Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt
Pictured: Steve Snyder, M. Ann McCaig, president & chairman Bill Gray, Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm and Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt

The Calgary Stampede president & chairman board also has the opportunity to provide recognition beyond the formal Western Legacy Awards program by celebrating individuals who have made unique contributions to preserving and promoting western heritage in our community. This year, the Chairman’s Award was presented to two remarkable individuals: Steve Snyder and M. Ann McCaig, co-chairs of the We’re Greatest Together capital campaign. it’s only the third time a Chairman’s Award has been presented!

The campaign raised more than $131 M and surpassed our fundraising goals 30 per cent!  These funds will be used to complete three major capital projects on Stampede Park.

“Together we have created a legacy that will out live us all to impact many generations in our city and in true Stampede style we are and always will be greatest together” said McCaig.

Sandra Clarkson, Western Legacy Awards committee chair, Ron May, president & chairman Bill Gray and Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt
Sandra Clarkson, Western Legacy Awards committee chair, Ron May, president & chairman Bill Gray and Stampede Queen Maggie Shortt

For his dedication to celebrating those others with an equally deep passion for preserving and promoting western heritage, Ron May, a founding member of the Western Legacy Awards committee was also recognized for his 10 years of service as a volunteer.

It was an incredible night thanks to the hard work of the entire Western Legacy Awards volunteers– the crowd left feeling inspired by the wonderful stories of all the finalists, Ron May and the Chairman’s Award recipients!

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Here’s a deeper look at this year’s finalists:

This year’s impressive Youth category features a host of finalists involved as earth ambassadors, advocates for those who struggle with access to adequate and nutritious food, and helping those to meet their basic medical needs.

Pictured: Cristina Acevedo, Quinn Clark and Anayat Sidhu
Pictured: Cristina Acevedo, Quinn Clark and Anayat Sidhu

Our finalists were:

  • Christina Acevedo– who is a member of Youth Central’s TD Earth Ambassadors and an ambassador for Children’s Birthday Miracles.
  • Quinn Clark– started his volunteer career at the tender age of five. He is an avid volunteer for CUPS and the Roman Catholic Dioceses.
  • Anayat Sidhu– is the founder of Medical Engineering Development, which brings leaders in the sciences into the classrooms, and founder of Double-O to raise awareness for Operation Eye Sight.

The  Innovation nominees have identified fresh ways to approach issues, and bring awareness of western heritage into the community.

Innovation challenges people to use new thinking, design and operation to help improve the lives of other in our communities. This year our finalists in the Innovation category were chosen for dedicating their lives to helping homeless Calgarians in distress, providing non-judgemental care for people facing complex health and social issues, and creatively implementing eco-sustainable business practices to minimize landfill waste.

Pictured: Brad Fisher, Gerry Hart and Tim Neis
Pictured: Brad Fisher, Gerry Hart and Tim Neis

Our finalists were:

  • Brad Fisher– is a native Torontonian who has used his life experience with childhood abuse and homelessness to help vulnerable men and women in Calgary today.
  • Gerry Hart– is a local leader that has brought awareness to many unknown local grassroots organizations, such as the SHARP Foundation.
  • Tim Neis– is a founding member of Respect for Earth and All People.

The nominees in the sustained contribution, individual category, have demonstrated their long-term commitment to preserving our rich history and building a more dynamic future. All of these people embody the Stampede’s values every day.

The finalists in the Western Legacy Award, Sustained Contribution, individual category, come from a diverse range of backgrounds—but they all share two things in common: deep western roots and an even deeper commitment to improving communities in Calgary, and all over southern Alberta.

Pictured: Ron Barge, Eldon Couey and Chuck Groeneveld
Pictured: Ron Barge, Eldon Couey and Chuck Groeneveld

Our finalists were:

  • Ron Barge– creator of the beloved Buck Shot Show—the longest running children’s program in Canadian history.
  • Eldon Couey-community volunteer, leader and mentor for groups like the High River Hospital Foundation, 4-H, Friends of Bar U—not to mention, a very proud Albertan.
  • Chuck Groeneveld-spokesman for Alberta Beef/Simmental Cattle for more than 50 years.
Pictured: Marilyn Dyck, Rhonda Conway and Penny Hume
Pictured: Marilyn Dyck, Rhonda Conway and Penny Hume

In the Sustained Contribution, group category the finalists were:

  • The Doorway-an organization that acts as a bridge between street and mainstream cultures to help young people reach sustainable economic independence.
  • Providence Children’s Centre– which supports children with disabilities and their families with therapy and unique assessments.
  • Youth Central Society– a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, engage and celebrate youth through community participation.

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2016 Western Legacy Awards submissions are now open. For more information, please visit the Calgary Stampede website.