Volunteers are at the heart of everything that the Calgary Stampede does, from offering exceptional guest experiences, providing inspirational youth programs, engaging our community and sharing the meaning of western hospitality with the world.

The Calgary Stampede is beyond grateful for the more than 2,500 volunteers that help celebrate our community, not only during the 10 days of Stampede, but through year-round initiatives.

Volunteering at the Stampede is sometimes a lifelong affair—we are fortunate to have volunteers who have been with us for decades. For others, volunteering at the Calgary Stampede is a multi-generational family affair. No matter the volunteer’s story, each one brings their unique skillset, expertise and enthusiasm to the organization and our community.

“Thank you to all of our volunteers for the effort and energy that each of you contribute to our organization every day,” says Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede. “It is through your continued dedication and passion that we are able to provide memorable year-round experiences for our community” adds Peers.

In honour of National Volunteer Week, which runs from Sunday, April 7 – April 13, 2019, we would like to take the time to shine a spotlight on four of our volunteers who became Stampede Life Members this year.

“Becoming a Stampede Life Member is the highest honour for volunteer service that the Calgary Stampede awards and is reserved for those who have provided exceptional contributions and helped shape the Calgary Stampede to be the success it is today. It is a privilege for the Stampede Board to award this lifetime designation to our most dedicated and exemplary volunteers,” says Peers.

Congratulations to these four outstanding volunteers:

Arlene Porter 

2019 Stampede Lifetime Member inductee, Arlene Porter.

Throughout her 25 years as a Stampede volunteer, Arlene has been extremely dedicated and passionate. She first joined the Reception committee in 1985 and was an active member for eight years, before joining the Royalty committee, where she was a chaperone for the Royal Trio for 17 years. Every year, Arlene attended more than 125 events and traveled to many Grey Cups, Las Vegas, Houston and others as a chaperone, confidante and mentor for the young women. In addition, she also helped chaperone visiting Royalty.

Always organized, gracious and kind, she navigated her role with professionalism, kindness and was a constant source of support and inspiration for the many trios she worked with.

Arlene continues to be an active ambassador of the Calgary Stampede and our youth development programs. Arlene says that being part of the Stampede family has been an incredible life experience for her. She has met many people over the years and it has been a privilege to serve as a volunteer and have so many wonderful experiences and memories.

Arlene enjoys spending time at her Palm Springs home in the winter months and often tells her friends and guests her Stampede stories!

Dr. Gordon Atkins

2019 Stampede Lifetime Member inductee, Dr. Gordon Atkins.

As a Stampede volunteer for more than 40 years and a former chair of the Dairy Cattle and Chuckwagon committees, Dr. Atkins is a highly respected veterinarian, educator and volunteer. He is a founding member of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary and a recipient of more than 15 separate industry honours, including the inaugural Dr. Brian MacNaughton Memorial Award and the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teacher Award. Gordon’s contributions to the Calgary Stampede’s animal care practices and our Fitness to Compete program shows his dedication and passion to agriculture, animals and to the organization.

Gordon is well-known in the dairy industry. He grew up with Holstein cattle but began working with all breeds and is respected by all producers. He has also served as a judge of Holstein Canada and he has been a member on the Holstein Canada Type A Classification Advisory committee since 1997. Gordon says that his passion for western heritage, along with the friendships he has made have provided him with special opportunities in leadership, mentorship and veterinary practices to help advance Stampede’s commitment to exemplary animal care, which he is proud and honoured to be part of.

Patrick (Pat) Pearson

2019 Stampede Lifetime Member inductee, Pat Pearson.

Pat first began his involvement with the Royalty committee in 1980 while serving as a judge for the Royal Trio competition. He later joined the Royalty committee in 1983 as an active member and later became Chair in 1998.

For more than 30 years, Pat has demonstrated his dedication and passion for the Royalty program; he is the only individual to Chair the committee three times. His wisdom and kind spirit are what make him a joy to work with. His wealth of knowledge of public relations, training and facilitation has enabled every Trio he has worked with to become successful speakers and ambassadors of the Calgary Stampede brand.

In addition to being a dedicated member of the Royalty committee, Pat is also an Honorary Associate of the Queens’ Alumni committee and currently serves as the Royalty committee’s Historian. His work ethic is commendable, as he always strives to make sure that everything he does, is to the highest standard and that the Stampede brand is well-represented.

Pat is also heavily involved in the Queens’ Alumni Giddy Up events, which provide a one-of-a-kind experience for families and children with special needs.

Robert Jopp

2019 Stampede Lifetime Member inductee, Robert Jopp.

Robert has been a dedicated and passionate volunteer of the Calgary Stampede for nearly 30 years. His love and passion for the sport of rodeo is evident, as both a member of the Rodeo and Chuckwagon committees throughout the year and as a time keeper during the Stampede Rodeo. He first expressed interest in learning the craft of timing in the mid-90s, becoming a member of the Rodeo timing team. The role of time keeper is one that requires a razor like focus, as it significantly impacts the outcome and results of the rodeo competitions. It’s a role he takes seriously and one that he does with both professionalism and extreme care.

Robert continues to give back to the rodeo community, supporting many other Canadian Professional Association Rodeos, including Grassroots Finals, Hardgrass Bronc Riding, Lea Park, Pincher Creek and High River. Recently Robert has been teaching the craft of timing to other committees.

When he is not timing rodeo events, Robert is an enthusiastic and engaged volunteer throughout the year. He also participates in community Aggie Days. During Stampede time he was awarded the President’s Certificate for his significant contributions to the Stampede.

Hats off to these four individuals and all of our wonderful Stampede volunteers for everything they do. We wish you all a happy National Volunteer Week!