New Equine Events for Calgary Stampede

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championship covers every aspect of Arabian horse use and competition, from reining to English Pleasure, and Western to Arabic dress. Photo by Tex Cam.

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championship covers every aspect of Arabian horse use and competition, from reining to English Pleasure, and Western to Arabic dress. Photo by Tex Cam.

For year-round excitement, just add horsepower! The Calgary Stampede is thrilled to welcome four major horse events to their new home, the nearly-constructed Agrium Western Event Centre. Each event will draw new participants and visitors to the heart of Calgary from across Western Canada to enjoy top horses and riders in action. Collectively, the events will add to the reputation of Stampede Park as a year-round gathering place.

When we embarked on this journey to build Canada’s premiere agriculture showcase space, these are the types of events we envisioned – big national and international shows that will connect the country to the city and draw guests to Calgary,” says Max Fritz, director of agriculture and western events for the Stampede. “We designed the building to meet their needs and to create exceptional experiences for participants, animals and guests.”

The following four events have signed multi-year agreements with the Stampede to host their major shows and competitions at the Agrium Western Event Centre:

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championships

July 21 – 26, 2014

Arabian Horse Association Region 17’s Western Canadian Championships in July will draw up to 500 Arabian horse entries from across the West and even some U.S. competitors. This spectator-friendly event showcases these beautiful horses and riders in the full spectrum of event disciplines. Website: http://www.region17.com/

Team Roping Canada, Canadian Finals

September 26 – 28, 2014

Expecting 1,200 to 1,400 teams and up to 2,500 spectators, Team Roping Canada’s Canadian Finals will feature ropers of all ages, from eight to 80 years old. This is the culmination of their association’s season, which spans the summer months and features professional, open, amateur, junior and shoot-out classes. Website: http://www.teamropingcanada.com/index.htm#

Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association National Finals

October 9 – 14, 2014

The National Finals for the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association brings together to up to 1,200 teams of three each, and an estimated 2,500 spectators to fill the stands and cheer them on. Competitors in this championship event come from across Western Canada and many U.S. states, including California, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington, all in the hunt for an estimated $285,000 in prize money. Website: http://canadianpenning.com

Royal West, produced by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping

October 23 – November 1, 2014

The Royal West is an all-new 10-day multi-breed show, offering Western Canadian riders an alternative, and prelude to the Royal Show in Toronto. Royal West will feature a division for international show jumpers, national hunter/jumper classes, hackney and heavy horse classes, and a multitude of other events including indoor eventing, terrier racing, barrel racing and even mutton-busting. Website: http://rmshowjumping.com/

Jordan Dodds  and Heeler Clark McCarroll team up to showcase the fast-paced sport of team roping in the summer of 2013. Photo by Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Jordan Dodds and Heeler Clark McCarroll team up to showcase the fast-paced sport of team roping in the summer of 2013. Photo by Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Agrium Western Event Centre

Agriculture is at the heart of the Calgary Stampede and the expansion activities underway with the Agrium Western Event Centre will provide a new focal point for agricultural events on Stampede Park.

One of the largest projects in our 100-year history, the Agrium Western Event Centre is a state-of-the-art facility for western events and agriculture education, exhibition and industry in southern Alberta. Designed to form a lasting connection between urban and rural communities, it will host an engaging, globally-focused educational program called Journey 2050, and it will play a central role in making the Calgary Stampede a year-round gathering place.

The Agrium Western Event Centre will be the new home for agricultural events on Stampede Park, hosting both regional and international competition, convention rodeos, and trade shows. The facility will include a 250’x150′ ft. show floor and 31,250 sq. ft. of clear-span space. It will also feature a 20,000 sq. ft. multipurpose hall, designed for competition, warm-up, trade shows, or exhibitions, as well as a magnificent 8,000 sq. ft. rotunda and entranceway.

Cattle Penning National Championships are returning to downtown Calgary each October at the nearly-completed Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Cattle Penning National Championships are returning to downtown Calgary each October at the nearly-completed Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Features in brief

250′ x 125′ Show Arena:

– Large arena for events that require the space, such show jumping, dressage and barrel racing, or to run simultaneous events within the same arena

– Allows events like team penning plenty of arena performance area with staging space alongside

– Arena seating for 3,200 including VIP suites, and stands with the right pitch for spectators wearing cowboy hats

– Concourse is fully open to main arena, ensuring great sight-lines throughout while accessing food and exhibits

20,000 sq. ft. Multi-purpose hall:

– Offers warm-up arena adjacent to main performance arena, can be used for smaller separate events or trade shows to accompany arena events

– Enables smaller events to stage their shows at the Agrium Western Event Centre and then grow their events to the size that merit booking the large arena

Animal-friendly features:

– livestock pens and traffic areas under stands instead of through performance arena

– adjacent multi-purpose warm-up arena with performance dirt and same-level ground throughout for optimal livestock and horse footing

– outside building roof overhangs to protect penned livestock from sun and rain

– direct access for participants and livestock to barn stalls through a no-traffic area

– Links with other Stampede developments to serve participants, including new bigger tunnel to infield livestock trailer parking, 1,200 additional stalls, RV Parking with amenities and improved Christie Bridge back entrance

Scheduled for completion before the 2014 10-day Stampede, the Agrium Western Event Centre will be an important milestone in the Calgary Stampede’s vision of becoming a world-class, year-round gathering place. The key sponsor, Agrium, along with the governments of Alberta and Canada, has been instrumental in helping the Stampede elevate its agriculture and outreach programs by creating this world-class facility.

Education will play a pivotal role in the legacy of the Agrium Western Event Centre. The building’s rotunda will be the home of the Journey 2050 program – an inquiry-based educational experience for Calgary-and-area middle school children. This world-class program will challenge students to sustainably feed the world’s nine billion people by 2050 in a fun and interactive way.

Show jumping returns to the heart of Calgary after a 30-year absence. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.

Show jumping returns to the heart of Calgary after a 30-year absence. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.

One of the most ambitious capital projects in the Stampede’s history, the Agrium Western Event Centre is an ultra-modern centerpiece for western events and agriculture education, exhibition and industry in southern Alberta. Slated to open in June of 2014, it is unique in Canada, creating 150,000 square feet of dedicated livestock-friendly space. The building’s key sponsor, Agrium, along with the governments of Alberta and Canada, has been instrumental in helping the Stampede elevate its agriculture and outreach programs by creating this world-class facility.

We’re thrilled to preview these four exciting horse events that will bring this building to life year-round. We’re looking forward to securing other major livestock and horse shows,” says Fritz. “Our ultimate goal is that regional residents, tourists and guests can enjoy western events, horses and livestock in the heart of Calgary most weeks of the year.”

Lorne Robertson of the Arabian Horse Association Region 17 says having a specialized agricultural arena in a major destination city will help grow their event. “Our Arabian horse championships are very colourful, elegant and formal events. Our horses are our primary focus, and our riders and trainers have confidence in the top- notch footing and facilities that have been custom-designed for the best care of our horses,” says Robertson. “We’re also hearing excitement from members because Calgary is a great destination city and they’re planning site-seeing activities around their visit.”

The unique features of the Agrium Western Event Centre convinced John Anderson of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping that Calgary is the right location for his show. Anderson is launching an all-new, ambitious 10-day show jumping and horse extravaganza in late October of 2014, called Royal West. Designed to provide Western Canadian show jumpers a prelude or alternative to the Toronto-based Royal Show, Royal West will showcase hunter-jumper classes plus a full spectrum of other events such as barrel racing, heavy horse shows and terrier racing.

I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Now this large arena and all the dedicated facilities make it possible,” says Anderson, who explains show jumping requires more space than standard arenas would provide, with careful attention to proper footing and warm-up areas.

Size and specialized facilities drew the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association back to the Stampede after several years in other venues. Their championships finals draw up to 1,200 team entries with many as 2,500 spectators in the stands.

Agrium Western Event Centre is an ideal set-up for us,” says Kent Hillard, vice-president of the association. “Adjacent warm-up and staging spaces ensure the horses and riders can warm up, stand by to watch cattle and then jump into the action fully warmed up. The livestock stalls for pens of cattle right under the stands make for quick transitions between pens. The audience is going to love this modern arena because they can see the action from anywhere, even on the concourse, and won’t have to take their cowboy hats off sitting in the stands.”

Art Gallais, manager of Team Roping Canada, likens the Agrium Western Event Centre to the top facilities in Las Vegas where the world roping series are held. He says the building design is not only ideal for smooth operation of his event, but he adds the open concourse and VIP suites in the arena allows for valuable sponsorship exposure and experiences, which will help attract more sponsors to grow Team Roping Canada’s National Finals.

About the Calgary Stampede

As we enter our second century, the Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme: We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

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