Spotlight on…Team Cattle Penning!

Team Penning at the Saddledome

By:  Reginald Tiangha

First off, you may have noticed that I’ve ditched the use of all capital letters in the title. Doesn’t really look good with more than two words, but it shouldn’t detract from the fact that Team Cattle Penning (sometimes abbreviated to Team Penning for short) is one of the Stampede’s best kept secrets when it comes to fast paced and exciting events appropriate for all ages.

Taking place in the Saddledome, horse and rider teams of three have 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 on one side of the arena, and maneuver them into a 16′ x 24′ pen at the opposite side.

It sounds simple in theory, but in practice can be very difficult.

You see, most of those heifers have attitudes. Sometimes, a penning team might manage to separate out two of them from the herd, but the third one proves to be problematic. Or, the particular cow that they’re trying to separate out has made friends and they may have to deal with a wrong-numbered cow that may follow it out. Or, their friendship may be so strong that the team simply can’t separate any of them out and are forced to watch helplessly as the timer runs down and the cows silently mock them.

What makes it fascinating and exciting to watch is that success really boils down to teamwork and strategy. The team has to work together in tandem in order to outsmart the cows, and sometimes may have to choose to settle for two cows instead of three.

Easy to follow along, it’s something that really has to be seen to be appreciated, and is yet another event that is FREE with admission. Scheduling information via the on-line Stampede Planner can be found here.

Spotlight on…HEAVY HORSE!

Heavy Horse Show

By:  Reginald Tiangha

The definition of a Heavy Horse is any breed of horse that is suited to or used for drawing heavy loads.

The Calgary Stampede has two main committees that put on various events involving heavy horses for the public during Stampede week.

The Stampede’s Heavy Horse committee will showcase approximately 110 heavy horse competitions (called classes) during the first four days of Stampede as part of their Heavy Horse Show (held in the Saddledome and Big Top), while the Heavy Horse Pull committee will hold competitions during the final three days showcasing light, middle, and heavy weight classes of heavy horse as they try to pull loads of over five times their own body weight across various distances (held in the Big Top).

The Pull competitions are fun to watch.  The competition is based on how the horses used to be used in real life, and it’s fascinating to see how powerful these horses really are.

Heavy Horse Show

As for the Heavy Horse Show, while there are many opportunities to catch related events, my favourite of them all is the Heavy Horse Show with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, which are hitch and cart classes presented to music by the CPO.  They’ve been doing it for 10 years now, and sometimes it’s nice to escape to the Saddledome during a hot, rainy, and/or exhausting day to just relax and watch some beautiful horses “dance” to some wonderful music.

Schedule information via the on-line Stampede Planner can be found in the links above, and best of all, these events are all FREE with admission!

– Reg

Introducing: Spotlight on…STAMPEDE!

By:  Reginald Tiangha

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’ve got a fever that can only be cured with mini-donuts (and alas, not more cowbell; sorry Chris).

I can only speak for myself, but being a born and bred Calgarian, for the longest time growing up, my Stampede week only consisted of the midway and marketplace, mainly because it never occurred to me to do anything else.  It was only within the last few years that I discovered a whole different side to Stampede week that I simply wasn’t aware of.

With Stampede about a week away, I figured I’d take the opportunity to highlight a few events and activities that will be happening on the grounds or downtown during the ten days of Stampede that you may or may not know about. There is a lot to see and do for people of all ages, many of which are free or free with admission, and I’d like to share what I’ve found through personal experience with all of you.

So starting tomorrow, and every day or so up until the start of Stampede, tune into the Stampede blog where I’ll be shining a bright ol’ spotlight on some of the things happening during Stampede week that I feel you may not be aware of.

I hope that you’ll enjoy my “Spotlight on…” series, and in the meantime, if you have any stories to share regarding pleasant surprises or discoveries that you’ve made regarding events and activities during Stampede week over the years, feel free to leave a comment!

Cheers and see you tomorrow!

– Reg