In 2005, I started volunteering with the Calgary Stampede, a volunteer supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. The Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through its world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs.
As a born-and-raised Calgarian myself, it was important to me to do something that benefited the city and community I live in, and growing up, the Stampede was a big part of living here and appreciated by many, so I’m very ecstatic to be able to give back in some form.
In addition to having full-time paid staff to take care of the administrative details on the back-end, the Stampede consists of many different volunteer committees that are each responsible for running and maintaining a certain aspect of the organization, and this is where I have served the majority of my time. In honour of my efforts throughout the years, I was nominated by my peers to march as one of 12 Centennial banner carriers in the 2012 Calgary Stampede Parade.
I’ve done many things throughout my tenure with this organization. This page will serve to track some of the things that I’ve done during my time with the Stampede, as well as to highlight particular things of note that I’ve accomplished during my time here.
Next Generation (February 2005 – May 2010)
In 2005, I was recruited into the Next Generation Council, a group of 18-30 year olds who were asked to attend and evaluate various events and programming run by the Stampede, and relied upon to offer opinions, suggestions, and feedback regarding them in order to find ways to broaden the appeal of the festival to the young adult demographic. The feedback would then be relayed to the relevant parties within the organization to be analyzed and used to help with short and long-term planning.
In 2006, I joined the Next Generation committee, the body primarily responsible for running the Council, as well as other things behind-the-scenes. My duties have included acting as a liaison between NGC and other Stampede committees in designing, implementing, and analyzing evaluations tailor-made for each committee’s needs, as well as project lead in developing and implementing the website and IT strategies for our committee.
One of my later duties on NGC was being a blog writer for the official Calgary Stampede blog, helping to promote and report on various events put on by the Stampede. Here is a sample of some of the pieces that I have written for the blog as part of the NGC:
- The End of WorldSkills 2009 and the Beginning of the Next Chapter – Monday September 7, 2009 (local copy)
- Red Pill or Blue Pill? – Friday September 4, 2009 (local copy)
- It’s raining…signage?? – Thursday September 3, 2009 (local copy)
- The Spectator’s Guide to WorldSkills 2009 – Thursday September 3, 2009 (local copy)
- WorldSkills Quick Facts – Wednesday September 2, 2009 (local copy)
- Let the Games Begin! – Wednesday September 2, 2009 (local copy)
- Reggie’ll Try It: Tornado Potato – Saturday July 11, 2009 (local copy)
- Reggie’ll Try It: Deep-Fried Jelly Beans – Friday July 10, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…Bell Getaway! – Monday July 6, 2009 (local copy)
- Spreading Western Hospitality to the Rest of Calgary – Saturday July 4, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…Showbands! – Thursday July 2, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…Light Horse! – Wednesday July 1, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…Stock Dogs! – Monday June 29, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…Team Cattle Penning! – Sunday June 28, 2009 (local copy)
- Spotlight on…HEAVY HORSE! – Saturday June 27, 2009 (local copy)
- Introducing: Spotlight on…STAMPEDE! – Friday June 26, 2009 (local copy)
Starting in September 2009, I also became responsible for copy editing, vetting, and posting for all blog posts on the CS Blog by members of the NGC.
In May 2010, I left NGC to concentrate on my own Social Media initiatives with Promotion committee.
Promotion (November 2009 – OCTOBER 2018)
In November 2009, I joined Promotion committee primarily as their Social Media Lead, but also to help out from time-to-time with the work that their other subcommittees perform (for example, participating in or helping to organize the many events, appearances, and activities that the Promotion committee undertakes).
The mandate of the Promotion committee is to promote the Calgary Stampede brand that is identified with the City of Calgary. I was able to build and lead a team that was specifically responsible for finding ways to leverage social media in their promotion strategies and to help engage newer audiences online and eventually in person. My group eventually evolved to assist a variety of committees within the volunteer corps to design and implement their own social media strategies to help promote their programming and various mandates, in coordination with Stampede Marketing. I’m proud to say that my team was responsible in helping to design and launch the initial social media strategies of Chuckwagon, Rodeo and Aggie Days (just to name a few) and many of those processes that we developed endure even today.
General blogging and other social media duties also came with my responsibilities on Promotion committee. For example, in April 2010, I was asked to help manage the official Stampede Twitter account and act as Administrator on the Calgary Stampede Blog.
For a list of every single post I’ve ever written for the CS blog on behalf of the Promotion committee or through individual initiative, see here.
Concessions & Exhibits (January 2018 – Present)
As part of my duties as a Social Media Liaison within the volunteer corps, in 2013 I was invited to consult with Concessions & Exhibits committee to provide some social media expertise in helping them promote their newly-formed Stampede Midway food award program, aiming to promote food vendors and their offerings by building up Stampede food culture on Park and in the public eye through awarding prizes such as Best Deep Fried and Best Food-on-a-Stick on the Stampede Midway.
While most of this work was Marketing and Communications based, over the years I became more and more involved in the design and execution of the overall program, and in 2018 I officially joined the CEC roster to help run it.
Personally, food inclusion is an important topic to me, as I think it is wrong if the only thing stopping someone from either completely enjoying their stay with us, forcing them to leave earlier or even dissuading them from visiting at all is the fear that there is nothing available for them to eat at Stampede Park. So starting in 2017 and continuing into 2018, I helped design and organize a couple of food-sensitivity specific food tours aimed to raise awareness of foods that are vegan and gluten-sensitive friendly. The outreach was appreciated by those who have to eat those diets, and fun times were had by all:
- Calgary Stampede Veggie Options a Hit – July 8, 2018 (CBC Calgary)
- Eating Vegan on the Stampede Midway? Yes It’s Possible and Yes It’s Delicious! – July 8, 2018 (Calgary Stampede)
I am quite proud of the work I’ve done to try and shatter people’s perceptions and expectations on what food on the Stampede Midway is and can be, and the opportunity I am currently given on Concessions & Exhibits is allowing me to use the knowledge I inherited from my time on Next Generation in terms of how to grow audiences and the skills I had gained from my time on Promotion in order to interact with the public in positive and constructive ways.