Calgary Stampede 2016

Another Calgary Stampede has come and gone, and like usual, it feels like the shortest and longest ten days of my life, all at the same time.

Hey, that's me with the Blue Bareback flag!
Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede Rodeo
As many of you know that follow this blog, I've had the honour of being one of the Calgary Stampede Ranch Girls for the past four years. The group of girls that you see shooting out of the centre alley gate, amongst smoke and flame and fireworks, carrying the flags of the rodeo during the greatest outdoor show on earth. It's crazy, honestly it is, it is one of the craziest, best, coolest, glitziest, fastest things I have ever done, or will ever hope to do, and I always count myself lucky to be included amongst such a fantastic group of girls.

Little pre-show pep talk as we head in to the Agrium Event Centre for the Mercuria
This year was also incredibly special to me, as I got to split Ranch Girl duty with loping my most favourite stallion in the whole wide world, Reys From Heaven, owned and shown by my boss, at the Pre-Stampede show at Silver Slate, and at the Mercuria show at the Stampede itself. The Mercuria is a massive show in the cutting horse world, and only the best of the best are entered. Many of the horses we competed against this year are hauled down the road and showed at most of the major shows, a lot of them are amongst the top ten best Open horses in the world right now. We don't haul Rey down the road, but we know that he is special and incredibly talented. It has been a good year for Rey, coming off an exceptionally strong breeding season, where we bred tons of amazing mares and were shown so much support from the cutting horse community.

So, as a warm up, we showed Rey at a few shows, then headed to Calgary.  Rey worked his heart out for my boss in Calgary and they went through to the finals amongst a group of incredible trainers and prestigious horses. It was a great moment, and I am so happy that both my boss, and Rey, received the accolade of making the finals, and the recognition they both deserve.

My Sweet Rey, just love him.
The real story amongst all the glitz and glamour of the Mercuria finals is that Rey is an incredible individual. So often when I'm on him, getting him ready to show, people question if he is one of his offspring, because he's so quiet and well behaved. At the breeding farm, he comes off the trailer quietly, jumps the dummy, then goes for a quick and quiet graze, before he quietly get's back on the trailer. He is the epitome of a gentleman, one of the best looking "Dual Rey's" you will hope to find and he passes on his wonderful, sweet nature, good looks and exceptional talent to his offspring. The oldest being two this year. We, as a team, are so, so excited for their future.

Family Traditions with mama
I was also able to take in a day of the Stampede with my mom, this is the 22 year in a row that we've done our annual "Stampede Extravaganza" and it is always so much fun. Sadly, we didn't win the dream home or the million dollar 50/50 this year, but atleast we were able to take in the sights, sounds and dill pickle corn dogs of the Stampede together for another year. Also, a reminder for next year mom - you don't like corn dogs, as much as you think you do.

Gone Muddin' at the Calgary Stampede
Making the Mercuria finals was a huge high, and right from that high, I went right back to Ranch Girlin'. The last half of the Stampede was very, very wet. One of the absolute rainiest in recent memory, with some crazy storms rolling through. It took a lot to keep smiling through the mud and the slop, but like I said above, thanks to an amazing group of girls and coordinators, it was pretty easy to keep the morale high, and keep having fun. My horse this year, Freckles, was new to me, and he did an incredible job of keeping me safe in the mud. It's a little nerve-wracking to see an arena under water, and be able to trust your horse enough to run out there and have fun doing it. Super thankful for him.

The incredible Mary Burger with us Ranch Girls!
Photo Credit: Gail Cummings
The Stampede is always full of so many incredible stories, my personal favourite (and I know many others too!) narrative was that of Mary Burger, the 67 year old Grandma, who won all four of her go-rounds, then went on to win the finals by 0.001 of a second! Her incredible horse, Moe, handled the intense rounds of Pool A, then a sloppy, wet and raining finals in stride. She was a fan favourite, with the crowd giving her multiple standing ovations, and is incredibly gracious and kind. It really goes to show that at any age you can go out there and follow your dreams, and she is a true testament to that. Love stories like that!

Freckles & I, note the slicker I am wearing... very glamorous ya'll.
& so that's that, back to reality and the "real world", which I'm thankful continues to be horses, horses and more horses for me. (But a lot less hairspray, and makeup). I am so thankful for the Calgary Stampede. For the Rodeo Committee and everyone else that puts on the greatest outdoor show on earth. For everyone that has a hand in letting the Ranch Girls proudly fly the flags of the rodeo. For the Western Performance Horse Committee for putting on the Mercuria World Series of cutting - the crowd was incomparable to any other cutting i've been too, and they do SUCH a good job of keeping it fun and interactive for spectators. It has been such a wonderful ten days, and it's hard to believe it's already come and gone just like that!

Comments

  1. I was there for the first Saturday of Stampede, didn't watch the rodeo but we did go to the Chuckwagon races. I would have liked to stay another day, there was so much to see and I missed all the stuff going on with horses and the dog trials.

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  2. Mary Burger is such a bad ass!

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  3. i love the stampede too, one of the few years in a long time that I didn't go to the rodeo, but we did stop at the cutting. Was pretty good but I think I prefer others better, the obnoxiously loud music was not to my liking, even though I know its for the televising but I like the quiet so I can pay attention better. Saw you and Rey out there that is super cool. i wish I coulda been out there but not to be this year.

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