Well, another Stampede has come and gone. I have been to a few Stampedes in my lifetime and enjoyed each and every one. But this year marks something different for me – and more than just the fact that the Calgary Stampede celebrated its 100th Anniversary. My experiences this year were unique. This year I was one of 2000 volunteers that were part of serving the Stampede and its patrons.
Last year on Twitter, I started following an amazing young agvocate – Rosie Templeton. During the 2011 Stampede, Rosie was interning with the Ag Media Committee. Through Rosie, I was introduced to the great work that this Committee does in service to the Stampede and in service to agriculture overall. I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t this be a great Committee to work on with the Stampede?”
Well, we got the ball rolling – Rosie and I – and eventually I was connected to and embraced by an unbelievable group of women affiliated with the Ag Media Committee – all capable, professional, responsive and warm. I couldn’t ask for a better group of agvocate-colleagues! Through working with this Committee, I experienced many wonderful things at this year’s Centennial Stampede!
1. I got to help out various morning shows segments (Global, CTV, Breakfast Television) with the morning “hits” bringing animals (from Ag-tivity in the City, Country Critters and the Ag Barns) in for the programs and organizing special interactive features for hosts (Leslie Horton, Cynthia Roebuck and Jill Belland). Got to work with other radio personalities and journalists, too, all in the name of promoting and featuring agriculture!
2. I rode Hamish, a hugely handsome Clydesdale that is part of the Express Clydesdales entourage (thanks to Doug Sauter for his participation and support). Hamish also pulled the Express coach that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge rode in at the 2011 Stampede. I guess you might say that I am one step closer to Royalty! …Well, sort of.
3. I got to be part of the Centennial Celebrations by joining my fellow Stampede volunteers at one of the daily cake cutting ceremonies held in the Pavilion. Joining us was “Rancher Jack” who never ceases to entertain the crowds with his antics and humour! The Stampede gave out 500 free pieces of cake every day! Yummy!
4. Subsequently, I became quite a fan of “Rancher Jack” so I sent a colorful ‘incognito’ love note to him via his mailbox in the Pavilion signing it “your secret admirer” (tee hee – shhhhh, don’t tell The Cowboy).
5. I got to spend some time in the International Agriculture Committee’s International Room, meeting folks from all over the world! Australia, Germany, US, Jamaica. Good stuff!
6. My fellow Ag Media peep, Emily, and I participated in a Tweet-Off at the Social Media Hub hosted by the Calgary Herald. For the record, @embkay kicked my ‘sorry tweetin’ butt’.
7. Sat in on the Rodeo, cheered on the Chucks, ate kettle cooked popcorn ’til I was positively green!
8. And a big deal for me personally was watching my kid @tanyaryanmusic win the Nashville North Competition. Yay!!! Follow Tanya Ryan on Facebook and Twitter (@tanyaryanmusic). There is lots coming up for her!
At this year’s Stampede, I learned much; I experienced much. It was a great year! And I look forward to many, many more and to rejoining my Ag Media colleagues and other Stampede enthusiasts for next year’s celebrations! If you didn’t make it to Stampede, here is a link to what you missed: 100 Unforgettable Stampede Moments (Calgary Herald). I highly recommend that you put the Calgary Stampede on your calendar for next year!