2016 was an eventful year for the Calgary Stampede: our bucking stock started and finished the year winning awards at international rodeos, we welcomed more than one million guests during the wettest Stampede since 1927, and Stampede Park hosted visitors year-round for many different ventures, including the Stampede’s first ever Fall Fair. Here’s a monthly recap highlighting only a few of the many milestones the Stampede saw this year.
The Calgary Stampede bucking stock brought in the new year in Denver with some big scores at the National Western Stock Show.
The Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Vanessa Stiffarm flew to Australia for Destination Canada’s 2016 Canada Corrobree – a major tourism roadshow. Vanessa, along with other members from the Stampede and Travel Alberta, helped inform travel tour operators, wholesalers and media about all the incredible things Canada has to offer.
The Stampede’s Annual General Meeting was held in March. In addition to sharing the highlights from 2015, president & chairman of the board Bill Gray and chief executive officer Warren Connell gave insight into the Stampede’s future by speaking to the Stampede Park development plans. Connell noted that Youth Campus, the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios and Calgary Arts Academy were all well on their way, in addition to the future plans of expanding the BMO Centre, which would provide an estimated 500 full-time jobs and an added $73 million a year to the economy in Alberta and $87 million to Canada’s GDP.
Aggie Days moved to their new home in the Agrium Western Event Centre. The lunchtime rodeo took place in the new arena and the animals and exhibits were arranged throughout the main level, in the exhibit hall and around the arena.
And, on Saturday, April 16, George Lane was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Thursday, May 26, 2016 saw the first ever Farm Safety Day on Stampede Park, which was a collaboration with AltaLink to help rural youth learn to identify the risks around them in order to keep themselves safe. More than 650 students took part in the demonstrations and hands-on learning activities.
On June 1, 2016 Rainbow Trout, the first of five planned public art pieces for ENMAX Park, was unveiled. Calgary Artist Jeff Boer planned this piece for months and constructed the 6.5 metre sculpture out of powder coated stainless steel and aluminum sheet metal.
July saw the wettest Stampede since 1927 but still welcomed more than one million guests to Stampede Park to experience the traditional highlights and new attractions. Guests enjoyed the Dog Bowl, Peking Acrobats, Bell Adrenaline Ranch and more. Despite the rain crowds filled the Grandstand to watch the Stampede Rodeo, GMC Rangeland Derby and TransAlta Grandstand Show. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his daughter visited Stampede Park. As well, many other MLAs and government officials visited Stampede Park and participated in the Stampede Parade.
The Queens’ Alumni committee held their 30th anniversary of Giddy Up Rodeo, an event for special needs children to participate in mock-rodeo events, with the help of young 4-H Rodeo competitors.
After competitions including horsemanship, speeches and a number of other events, the 2017 Royalty have been crowned. Indian Princess, Savanna Sparvier, Stampede Queen, Meagan Peters and Princesses, Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman were the lucky four women who will act as official ambassadors of the Calgary Stampede. Together, they will promote western heritage and values in the community and around the world. Additionally, the Stampede Indian Princess will educate people about the rich, vibrant First Nations cultures.
The Calgary Stampede held its first ever Fall Fair in EMAX Park. There were local vendors, pumpkin spice pancakes, wagon rides, animals to interact with, a pie contest, pumpkin decorating, games for children and more!
The 2017 Calgary Stampede Poster was first unveiled at the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s Annual General Meeting in October. Shannon Lawlor, an artist based in Nanton, Alberta, painted the original artwork for the 2017 Calgary Stampede poster and worked in collaboration with incoming president & chairman of the board, David Sibbald, to come up with a design that represents the western heritage of the Stampede while embracing the past, the present and the future of the organization.
Six horses and two bulls carried cowboys to top paychecks over the five days of action, earning an incredible eight go-round buckles at the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR).
Just like everything the Stampede does – the Christmas light bulbs were brighter and bigger than ever in 2016! To celebrate ENMAX Park’s first holiday season, and to encourage all Calgary community members to come down to Stampede Park, really big bulbs were strung along light posts and on the stage area beside Sweetgrass Lodge. The biggest of the bulbs are 28 inches large!
For a more detailed look at the Stampede’s past year, stay tuned for the 2016 Annual Report to the Community, which will go live, online, in February 2017.