In our family, the passenger seat of my Grandpa’s red Chevy pickup proved to be a beautifully unique classroom for my unscripted education. Somehow every tool that you could ever need was handily tucked in the back of that truck.

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As we drove along slowly checking fences, cows, horses and the growing hay, I have come to value more than just the view. My role as “gate girl” was pretty important to me, and while I used to think that being someone’s right hand man was a real thing, I did my best to always position myself on my Grandpa’s right hand side. Seriously. I wouldn’t let anyone else stand in my spot.

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We grew some pretty wonderful values on our farm, and these lessons have extended far beyond that for me. They are my heritage. Raised surrounded by western values, I have learned that short cuts don’t work, but ingenuity can. Bailer twine is the single most functional item ever made. The electric fence is always on. Take your boots off on the porch before entering the house. And finally, that a good dog is better than some people.

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This is what makes the Calgary Stampede such a unique organization, as it represents and embodies everything that I was raised on. Where the simple task of raising a steer not only teaches the values of integrity and responsibility, but also the sacrifice in which it takes to support our local environment and economy. It allows us to celebrate and salvage the heritage in which many of us value. All year long, from the smallest hatching egg to hosting global conventions, the Calgary Stampede makes it possible for people from all walks of life to bask in the living history of what makes the Great West so great.