Calgary Stampede

Report to the Community 2018




The Calgary Stampede in partnership with the Calgary Stampede Foundation, provides young people with opportunities to pursue their passions through programs like The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, Calgary Stampede Showband, Band of Outriders and Calgary Stampede Showriders.

These programs teach valuable skills and allow the opportunity to perform around the world. In addition, students in our community have access to the modern Youth Campus – featuring indoor and outdoor classrooms, world-class training and performing spaces, TransAlta Performing Arts Studios and Calgary Arts Academy.

2019 Poster Competition

The Calgary Stampede Poster Competition, which began in 2018, is one of the largest arts scholarships in Canada with $20,000 distributed among the top eight finalists. Young Albertans were invited to enter for their chance to create the 2019 Stampede Poster art and participate in a youth achievement opportunity of a lifetime. Successful applicants participated in hands-on learning and development experiences, which included one-on-one time spent with local western artists and mentors.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for youth to showcase their talent on a world stage. We discovered how the next generation views the Calgary Stampede and the western way of life”

Dana Peers, First Vice-Chairman, Calgary Stampede Board of Directors

The Poster Competition is about more than the selection of a poster for the Calgary Stampede; the competition focuses on youth achievement and development by fostering and developing artistic skills. This program takes youth on a journey of craftsmanship and creation, an experience just as valuable as claiming the top prize.

“The whole experience of being involved in the Poster Competition was surreal. As a fifth-generation farmer I know how hard women work on the farm and that’s something that motivates me every day to do my best - it’s what I wanted to show in my piece”

Rebecca Shuttleworth, 2019 Calgary Stampede Poster Artist




institutes (AB)


Municipalities (AB)


In scholarships


Posters distributed

Youth Indigenous Programming

Five new Indigenous Youth Program days, presented by the Calgary Stampede Foundation, welcomed youth from surrounding areas. Participants gathered in Sweetgrass Lodge in ENMAX Park to explore their cultures, build new relationships and, most importantly, have fun.

The program days were all led by several Indigenous facilitators from various backgrounds and specialties. The facilitators’ roles in the community gave participants a way to believe in the possibilities of their future while feeling inspired to follow their dreams. The facilitation team shared traditional teachings through fun and interactive games, while engaging participants using dance, art, robotics and more.

“I was so very blessed to grow up with my family and learn about my culture, but so many Indigenous children didn’t. A lot of my friends who [were Indigenous but didn’t grow up in an Indigenous family] asked so many questions about their culture and what everything meant – like why we smudged and why it was just as important to give back just as much as you take. If there [were Indigenous Youth Programs], or people who actively went out of their way to explain why the recognition of culture is so important, I think it would have made a real transformation.”

Stephanie Big Plume, Program Facilitator

The Indigenous Youth Programming days were created in part by a generous donation from Mel Benson to the Calgary Stampede Foundation. Benson is president of Mel E. Benson Management Services Inc. an international consulting firm working in various countries with a focus on First Nations/Corporate negotiations, and is a member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, located in northeastern Alberta. He is a member of several charitable organizations and prides himself on being active in his community.

“There is an opportunity for my community to contribute to the social and economic fabric of this country. For this to happen, we need to equip future Indigenous leaders with empowerment, connections to culture and opportunities to re-integrate our values and ways of life back into their lives.”

Tim Fox, Program Facilitator and Director of Indigenous Relations at the Calgary Foundation




Program days


Robots built


Pipe cleaners


Guest instructors

Calgary Stampede Foundation Summer Camps

In August 2018, the Calgary Stampede Foundation welcomed students from grades three to six to Stampede Park for a brand new summer camp initiative. The summer camps were for young community members to experience an engaging and interactive learning opportunity. Summer camp participants felt a sense of belonging, had an opportunity to learn about First Nations, Alberta, Stampede history, and foster citizenship and community values.

Youth explored Rodeo and Chuckwagon artifacts, met First Nations’ leaders, took part in Blackfoot hand games, and built a tipi together. They also worked with local western artists to create their own masterpieces and show their Stampede spirit.

Students came together to participate in sport and food related activities. Through partnerships with Nutrition Students Teachers Exercising with Parents (NSTEP) and Stampede Catering, students learned about food preparation and nutrition, while experiencing common local foods as well as foods from around the world. Students also had fun playing sports including hockey and soccer.

The Summer Camps were held in collaboration with the Centre for Newcomers, CS Indigenous Youth programs and its partners to welcome and reach community members from various backgrounds.






Community collaborations

Western Heritage

The Calgary Stampede is a broader experience for our community with both new and expanded urban and rural programming. The annual Stampede and our year-round community celebrations reflect our agricultural roots, western values and the cultural identity of Calgarians.

Elbow River Camp

On Sunday, July 15, the Tipi Owners of Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede announced the joint decision to change the name of Indian Village to Elbow River Camp. For the past 106 years, Indian Village has been a place and a name with great historical significance. For many of the participants, it honours the relationship of the Tipi Owners with the Stampede and Guy Weadick from the very beginning.

How was the new name selected? Even though the languages of the five nations of Treaty 7 differ, one thing has always been consistent: the site is referred to as the Elbow. For generations, when tipi owning families came to the Stampede, they would point to their elbow to communicate where they were going. In Dene, Stoney and Blackfoot the word for Calgary refers to the bend in the Elbow River – the elbow.

This new change also brought the renaming of the first, First Nations Princess, Cieran Starlight.






First Nations Princess

2018 Western Legacy Awards Chairman’s Award

On Tuesday, November 20, three dedicated community members, one inspiring community group and a special relationship were honoured at the 14th annual Western Legacy Awards on Stampede Park.

The presentation of the Chairman’s Award by David Sibbald honoured the long-standing relationship between tipi holding families from Treaty 7 nations in Elbow River Camp and the Calgary Stampede. This is only the fourth time this unique award has been presented since the awards began in 2005.

The 2018 Chairman’s Award recognized family members—past, present and future—for their significant contributions to the legacy and treasured partnership that allows us to gather together and celebrate at Elbow River Camp.

Since 1912, this unique partnership has been built upon a shared dedication to preserving and promoting western heritage and cultures and sharing them with visitors from around the world.

The prestigious Chairman’s Award highlighted the many contributions of tipi holding families to the success of Elbow River Camp and acknowledged their hard work and dedication over multiple generations.

Agriculture Zone, presented by McDonald’s

From showcases to competitions, the Agriculture Zone presented by McDonald’s was a go-to for many families that visited Stampede Park and provided not only an educational but also an exciting experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. During Stampede 2018, guests were able to experience the Calgary Stampede’s Agriculture Zone in a whole new way. For the first time, all agriculture programming was showcased at the state-of-the-art Nutrien Western Event Centre with day-long and evening programming that offered guests an immersive agricultural experience.


The Calgary Stampede continues to build our vision as we develop Stampede Park. Creating expanded infrastructure and a central gathering place for Calgary and southern Alberta. We continue to move forward with the development of Youth Campus projects, with many completed and activated, in addition to the overall Master Plan. Developing Stampede Park, means diversifying the economy for our city and our community.

Rivers District Master Plan

The Calgary Stampede has embarked on an exciting project in partnership with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) called the Rivers District Master Plan. The Rivers District Master Plan will connect our planning efforts to the larger community in the years to come.

In 2018 we worked with CMLC to engage community members across the city to listen to their feedback on the plan, find out what matters most to them and share the vision for this new mixed-use development.

The Rivers District Master Plan includes Stampede Park and the BMO Centre expansion initiative and has long stood as the city’s entertainment epicentre. CMLC imagines east Victoria Park as a vibrant, high-density, mixed-use community that draws on the spirit of entertainment that resides in its DNA, as well as its natural surroundings. Some of the Rivers District Master Plan’s most important goals are integrating the existing urban fabric—including several heritage buildings, Stampede Park and the Elbow River—and reshaping east Victoria Park as an active, walkable, accessible community with enhanced connections to adjacent neighbourhoods.


Year vision


Acres of Calgary’s downtown east side


New residents


Surveys taken

4M Sqft

Mixed-use development space


Community engagement events

Doherty Hall

The Calgary Stampede Foundation, along with the Doherty family, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta proudly opened the doors to Doherty Hall in fall of 2018. Doherty Hall is the most recent addition to Stampede Park, and is envisioned to be a hub of professional arts activity and educational training.

Doherty Hall is a heritage replica of Westbourne Church, which honours the history and contributions of Calgary’s early communities. With special care some historical materials, most notably the brick cladding, were restored to their original state and incorporated into the replica building.

Artists at all levels and disciplines will come together in an inspiring, inclusive and creative environment where they can create, explore and enjoy arts and culture. Doherty Hall has been specifically designed to showcase a broad range of disciplines and engagement types; it will accommodate workshops, rehearsals, musical performances, art exhibitions and more.

“Our government is proud to have supported the construction of Doherty Hall, which gives the Calgary Stampede Foundation a new and much needed performance and rehearsal space that honours the heritage of the region. This new facility in Stampede Park will allow for expanded arts programming for years to come and will ensure the continued vibrancy of the arts scene in Calgary.”

Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.

“Our family wanted to contribute to a community gathering place. Our family is committed to seeing youth succeed; the addition of Doherty Hall to Stampede Park will certainly make an impact on the arts community.”

Mike Doherty, Doherty Family.


Person performance space


Arts disciplines


Stained-glass windows


Innovate digital grand piano

The Big Four Roadhouse

In 2018, the Stampede’s Big Four was transformed into the Big Four Roadhouse, a new event venue that offers a unique experience for our community’s celebrations. At one time, the venue boasted being the world’s largest curling rink. It also spent time as a casino. The Big Four is a building with many stories to tell and the legacy will live on as a perfect venue to enjoy live music and events year round, including special programming during the Stampede festival. The Big Four Roadhouse features 60,000 sq. ft., a permanent stage, built-in bars, capacity for up to 4,000 people and a state-of-the-art in-house sound and lighting system.


Stampede 2018 began and ended on a high note, with community spirit spreading throughout Stampede Park providing unforgettable experiences for the 1.3M guests who came to see The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

From our internationally renowned kick-off Parade to the evolution of an historical landmark—Elbow River Camp—Stampede 2018 was a celebration to be remembered.

Parade Marshal

Mark McMorris, two-time Canadian Olympic bronze medalist and 15-time X Games medalist, snowboarder, was the 2018 Parade Marshal. McMorris is a true example of the strength and resiliency of Canadians, as he became one of the most decorated and successful athletes in competitive snowboarding history, despite incredible challenges and devastating injuries.

“Mark McMorris is the guy that gives it all he’s got. His perseverance, passion, resilience and integrity are what makes his story a story the whole world has been watching.”

David Sibbald, President & Chairman of the Board of Directors, Calgary Stampede

“Being named as the Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal was such an incredible honour for me. I grew up in Saskatchewan and believe in prairie pride and the values that we share with the Calgary Stampede and with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

Mark McMorris, 2018 Parade Marshal and Snowboarder




Blocks ridden
in the Stampede Parade


X Game medals


Olympic bronze

Grandstand Show 50th anniversary
featuring The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede

In 2018 the Stampede celebrated 50 years of Grandstand Shows featuring The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. This celebration was the culmination of 50 years of hard work, dedication and creative performances for millions of people from around the world. The 2018 show featured some of Calgary’s most iconic moments with special guests and spectacular acts.

Alumni members of The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede helped us celebrate this momentous occasion by participating in the Grandstand Show via a digital orchestra. Members recorded themselves singing parts of What a Wonderful World and all pieces were put together to create a unified masterpiece.


TYC Alumni
featured in Alumni video


Audience members
throughout Stampede time


performance acts




Piece orchestra

Cenovus Family Day fed 25,000 guests
and only created one bag of garbage

The sun was shining, a light breeze blowing and the pancakes were flipping on Sunday, July 8 – Cenovus Family Day. The day kicked off at 8 a.m. with free admission and a pancake breakfast for the first 25,000 guests.

At the end of this fun filled morning, only one (22lb) bag of garbage was produced. How was this possible? It was thanks to collaboration between Calgary Stampede volunteers and employees who are passionate about waste reduction. Their combined goal of zero waste and achieving only one bag of garbage for an event hosting 25,000 guests, was remarkable. Volunteers and employees assisted guests to separate garbage from compost and recycling, used compostable garbage bags, plates and cutlery and literally went through all waste containers to manually separate garbage, compost and recycling to reduce the Stampede’s waste footprint.

“It was a beautiful morning for Cenovus Family Day. Not only did we serve 25,000 pancakes, but guests also enjoyed a rodeo and agriculture 101 – which educated our guests about rodeo competitors and agriculture, and included special performances by Ducks and Dogs and a trick roper”

Susan Beirnes, Programming Design Manager at the Calgary Stampede

22 LB

Bag of garbage


Pancakes and guests


Cenovus volunteers

McDonald’s Community Day and the Random Acts of Spirit team spread joy on Stampede Park

The McDonald’s Random Acts of Spirit team, made up of volunteers from the Calgary Stampede’s Next Generation committee, surprised some lucky guests with unexpected and unique experiences while they visited The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth on McDonald’s Community Day – the newest special day for 2018.

“It was a great experience for our girls and they had so much fun.”

Roselyn Viernes, Berlyn and Alexys’ mother

Berlyn and Alexys, daughters of the Viernes family were among the lucky recipients who were in for a special treat when the team took them for a behind-the-scenes tour with Miniature Donkeys Zoe and Silk.

The new special day kicked off at 10 a.m. with the first 25,000 guests receiving a special commemorative button, making use of #LOVEYYC, and admission was just $2 until 2 p.m. Roaming entertainment was provided throughout Stampede Park, courtesy of GlobalFest.




Community spirit


Buttons given out

Side Saddle Races inaugural year

2018 introduced the first-ever Side Saddle Races at the Calgary Stampede. On two special evenings, eight women took to the track following the chuckwagon races to showcase their incredible horsemanship skills in this exciting event.

This fast-paced race not only entertained the huge Grandstand crowd, but gave them a glimpse of a style of riding that historically provided women with the freedom to travel on their own. Two mother-daughter pairs were among the competitors and were thrilled to be a part of the Stampede’s evening entertainment.