More than 1.2 million people went through the gates this year at the Calgary Stampede, known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. For more than 100 years, Calgary, Alberta, has hosted this great event solidifying the importance of our Western heritage. My husband has attended the Stampede his entire life, and now as a Canadian resident, I find myself getting very excited as the summer approaches and Stampede nears.
This year was especially exciting on the Stampede grounds. We were able to take our niece and nephew and introduce them to many agriculture events. First though, what would a fair be without cotton candy and rides? Those smiles were priceless.
With all of the excitement, the two little ones were pulled in many directions. With the world stock dog championship, competitions galour, tractor pulls, rodeo, chuckwagons and numerous kids activities, we were excited to see everything!
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Our nephew is extremely competitive, and so, we had to participate in several of the midway games. I should mention, we not only had to participate, but we had to WIN! With a little extra help from Mommy and Grandma, prizes were won at nearly every stop. Batman was a fan favorite. Our niece was lucky enough that her big brother shared with her.
The Calgary Stampede is known for one of the best rodeos in the world featuring the world’s best rodeo athletes and the finest stock. Every afternoon of the 10-day event competitors face off in hopes of winning the championships of each event, taking home the $100,000 prize. More than $1 million are given away on the last afternoon. We enjoyed the pre-events to the rodeo, taking in the RCMP musical ride and fireworks.
In the evenings, the grandstands are once again full with onsighters, taking in the Chuckwagon races or the GMC Rangeland Derby. This is an event you never want to miss! The pounding of hooves and trembling of the ground makes everyone’s heart race as 36 drivers, 216 horses and their teams of outriders vie for over $1.15 million in prize money!
One of the coolest parts of Stampede in my eyes is the agricultural education featured on the grounds. Living in a world that is generations removed from the farm, I find it so important that the Stampede features numerous educational demonstrations daily and offers so many activities for the kids. The brand new Agrium Western Event Centre is a magnificient new building, and it’s full of hands-on-education for the kids. We were able to introduce our niece and nephew to dairy cattle (our nephew even got to milk a cow), Canadian’s famous crop – canola, the plant life cycle, and of course what we are most proud of, beef cattle in The Cattle Trail, a pasture-to-plate experience for visitors of all ages.
This year marked the first time for my husband Ryan Dorran to serve on the Steer Classic committee. As the richest steer show in Canada, the best of the industry is drawn to this event to win $10,000 for the champion. We couldn’t be happier for the McLeod family in winning this prestigious honor this year. The new Agrium stadium-style arena was a premier showcase this year. Again, I love how the Stampede incorporates educational demonstrations for the public. Meat specialist Fred Taylor taught the crowd about the wholesale and retail cuts of beef, what the judge is looking for and how to properly cook beef. The Calgary Flames announcer Beesley was there as a commentator. Ryan helped explain the process of purchasing and showing steers. The junior champion steers were once again auctioned off breaking a combined record of $26,750. As the prestigious judges Lee and Dawn Wilson selected the champions, it always gets to me the expressions of those selected and moment their parents reach them to extend a congratulations hug. This is what showing cattle is all about – the family bonding experience.
This year, Dorran Marketing Inc. teamed up with Bohrson Marketing to add $4900 to the breeding cattle show at Summer Synergy. The show takes place in Olds, Alberta, and then all of the breed champions and scholarship winners come to the Stampede! Young enthusiasts demonstrate their stewardship in sheep, dairy cattle, heavy horse and beef species classes to compete for more than $50,000 in scholarships and prize money. We were ecstatic to add $1000 prize money to each of the supreme beef female champions and randomly draw two additional champions to award $450 each.