As 2019 has come to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. At the Calgary Stampede, we are passionate about community and creating exceptional experiences for our guests and community members. Here’s a look back at some of the things we did in 2019.

Downtown Attractions school breakfast program

Each spring the Downtown Attractions committee brings Stampede spirit to 14 schools within our community. Pancakes, country music and western hospitality are the key elements of these events, but it’s the sense of community and coming together that is the true purpose of this program.

The program runs from the beginning of May to the end of the school year and all the costs associated with these breakfasts are covered by the committee and their sponsor, Fluor.

New this year was a pilot project called Let’s Talk Science, where students learned about the Stampede and how science plays a big part in our agriculture industry. The pilot was a huge success and will be expanded in 2020.

Celebrating more than 30 years within our community, the breakfast program has excited and delighted 450,000 students and counting.

Caravan committee pancake breakfasts

The Caravan committee participates in community events year-round and is made up of 180 volunteers. To each pancake breakfast, they bring their equipment, enthusiasm and love of pancakes.

“We’ve done this for so long that we run a pretty well-oiled machine,” says Chris Haywood, Chair of the Caravan committee.

Guests can always count on delicious, fresh pancakes, a hearty breakfast sausage and countless smiles.

“It’s a joy for us to feed the community and to see the joy on everyone’s faces,” adds Haywood.

Last year, Caravan fed an impressive 111,000 people. At two pancakes per person that’s 222,000 pancakes. That’s an impressive stack, equivalent to 29 kilometers of pancakes!

Royalty

A time honoured tradition of the Calgary Stampede, the Stampede Queen and Princesses, along with the First Nations Princess act as ambassadors for the Stampede and embody our western culture and hospitality. During their reign they attend more than 400 events within the community and also showcase the Stampede’s western spirit internationally.

In 2019, Astokomii Smith, the 2019 Calgary Stampede Princess, performed in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, while the Stampede Queen and Princesses helped WestJet celebrate the inaugural flight of their Dreamliner aircraft.

The 2020 Royalty, have been just as busy as their predecessors. In the first few months of their reign, they’ve already attended a number of events including the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Youth education

An essential part of the Calgary Stampede is fostering programs and places for youth to thrive and be empowered to do amazing things. The Calgary Stampede Foundation offers a number of youth programs for young Albertans to develop their talents, character and leadership capabilities.

The OH Ranch education program brings student to the historical property to get a hands-on understanding of Alberta’s history, sustainability, ecosystem and environmental stewardship. Last year 975 students developed a deeper understanding of their impact and connection to the world around them.

Stampede School relocates the classroom to Stampede Park, where students are surrounded by western artifacts, unique cultures, animals and guest speakers to learn about our history, agriculture, First Nations and western heritage and values. Each year 24 classes ranging from grades 1-12 participate in Stampede School.

The Indigenous Youth Program brings Indigenous youth between the ages of 9-14 together to connect with other Indigenous youth and to their traditions and culture, all while having fun. The program facilitators are First Nations individuals who serve as role models for participants. Eighty percent of participants expressed a desire to attend the program again.

Additional youth programs include Stampede Summer Camps, where 65 children attend a week-long day camp to make lasting friendships while participating in various activities such as tipi raising and nutrition education.

4-H on Parade, which is the largest gathering of 4-H clubs in Western Canada, sees entries from more than 40 different clubs.

The Calgary Stampede Showriders, teach horsemanship in an engaging team oriented environment and perform their choreographed musical ride at more than 32 performances, which included 4 tours in 2019.

Performing arts

Together the Calgary Stampede Showband and The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts put in a total of 1,643 of practice hours in 2019. All of their practice and hard work pays off year-over-year as they dazzle audiences with their musical, dance and performance skills. With 157 Showband members and 131 Young Canadians, audiences are never disappointed.  This year, the Showband and a member of The Young Canadians had the honour of performing the nation anthem at the 107th Grey Cup, hosted in Calgary. Not only do these programs inspire a passion for the performing arts, they also encourage their members to develop strong interpersonal and leadership skills.

We are tremendously proud to be part of such a vibrant and diverse community, where our programs and participation at community events showcase the true meaning of community spirit and embody how We’re Greatest Together. Here’s to a fantastic 2020!