BY DAINYA SAPERGIA
Foretelling of a vicious southern Alberta storm couldn’t even keep hardcore western music fans away from the historic East Longview Hall last Friday and Saturday night.
It was a beautifully planned event by Delilah Miller, showcasing the likes of Californian western singer Dave Stamey, Turner Valley, Alberta cowgirl poet Doris Daley and Nanton, Alberta famed equine artist Shannon Lawlor. Held within the walls of the East Longview Hall, we knew we were in for a special event.
In a sea of expertly shaped hats and well-worn boots, the show couldn’t have pulled off western authenticity better. Doris Daley kicked off the
show reciting a small collection of some of her melodic tales, covering everything form the great love story of Flores Ladue and Guy Weadick to the conundrums of being a not-so-punchy cowgirl.
But we were all thrilled when the great Dave Stamey strolled up the aisle to take the stage. His very first time performing north of the 49th, Stamey’s performance kept the audience enthralled and giggling, with the perfect amount of both. His words flow like a hot knife through butter and, maybe most importantly, are truly authentic, ringing true to every fan there. It would be hard to pick a favourite of the night, but his Buckskin Horse song had a comical introduction, with a poignant message…
“…and she always wanted a buckskin horse and though life, can push a dream aside within the ranges of the heart there are miles and miles to ride if you ask, she’ll say it’s nothing, just a fantasy of course but like a secret hidden just behind her eyes there’s a buckskin horse”
But with all of the artistry flowing Saturday night, we were allowed a special treat when Ian Tyson meandered up the aisle to join Stamey in an impromptu rendition of the great ‘Bob Fudge’, flanked by two of Lawlor’s newest works. Two legends of western music before us, we all just sat and listened.
If Stamey ever decides to venture up our way again, make sure you get yourself a ticket and be in that room… and the trip out to the East Longview Hall isn’t that bad, either.
Coming soon to your mailbox and newsstand, I’m excited to preview the September/October issue for y’all here.
When I watched seasoned chuckwagon driver Chad Harden’s lead horse collapse and the subsequent pile-up of horses, humans and wheels during a heat of the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby on July 12, my heart leapt to my throat. Reviewing it on film, it was unimaginable the humans escaped injury, but fortunately they did. Three horses however, were lost; the Harden family and his barn subsequently devastated and heartbroken. Those immersed in the chuck racing circuit culture know and understand the level of care and love that goes into these animals, where horses are truly a part of the family.
Just three nights later on July 15, after the last heat of the races, 40-year veteran driver Grant Profit, sold his entire outfit including horses, during a retirement auction at the same barns Harden’s team had pulled out of three days before. A highlight of the sale was the right and left lead of Profit’s team – Forever Grand and Anglian Prince, a pair of former race horses. The 13-year-old Thoroughbreds sold for a combined $179,000 to another experienced driver, Kelly Sutherland. He later stated he felt the two horses who had been “barned together” for many years should stay together, illustrating the value these horses represent to their owners – not only in monetary means, but emotionally as well.
I spoke with Shelly Profit after the sale and she reiterated their devotion to their animals:
“All of our horses that we sold meant the world to us and we spent hours every day with them. Caring for them, feeding, brushing and training, each one of them have their own personalities and likes and dislikes. Even in the winter we would just go out in the pasture with them and they would all come up to us for a pet on the nose, and most of them loved peppermints and that was their treats. They were truly a part of our family, and we miss them dearly.”
A study on chuckwagon horses during races is currently in progress by a University of Calgary researcher who was on the scene at this year’s Rangeland Derby conducting a series of medical trials on the horses. Deanna Buschert’s piece, Scientific Experiment, reveals how that research may help not only chuckwagon horses, but other equine athletes as well.
The remains of a track of another sort stands abandoned in a field northeast of Calgary. The Balzac racetrack was destined to restore and nurture the growth of horse racing in Alberta. Instead it dissolved into a field of unrealized dreams. Writer Jessica Patterson spent a good month researching the timeline of how this dream went down for her story, Field of Dreams. There is a faint hope the track will move forward, though on a much reduced scale and with mini-steps. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
When we came across this photo of Chantal Sutherland in a recent issue of Vanity Fair, we knew we had to include the Ontario born jockey in Jenn Webster’s feature piece, Generation Y Cowgirl.
With numbers estimated as high as 70 million, Generation Y (those born 1981-1994) is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. This group of achievement-oriented individuals are both tech-savvy and conversely, uninterested in the fast track. They’ll gladly trade in the security of a job for a flexible work schedule and doing what they love. They are attention-cravers and motivated by praise and reassurance, whether by mentors or a much larger audience. Outside of the baby boomers, they are the most influential demographic group in our population. I love Jenn Webster’s interviews with four such incredibly driven females, including Chantal, in her story.
This feature quickly came forward as the subject for this issue’s cover. Thanks to photographer Neville Palmer for his conceptualization of this cover shoot.
Also in this issue, Managing Editor, Dainya Sapergia, also takes a up close and personal look at the relatively underground sport of polocrosse.
Western Lifestyle Editor, Deanna Beckley, together with photographer, Krista Kay, put together an eight page Fall Fashion feature, which simply wowed us all.
Deanna Buschert and I enjoyed a positively lovely afternoon hanging out with this gal and her Corgi’s in her incredible western home, and I was able to write about it in my feature, Western Retreat.
With show season in full swing we covered some of the very many events already completed, took a look at the Calgary Stampede’s Cowboy Challenge champion Jim Anderson’s favorite bit and kicked off a new regular feature, Show Ready, this issue showcasing must-have items every reiner has on their list.
In the realm of horse health, don’t miss our Equine Practitioners Guide, showcasing a selection of the top professionals in the business. As well, we take a look at five favorite equine supplements, get yourself versed on how to recognize and understand lameness, and develop an understanding for why some two-year-olds are shod.
Writer Melissa Sword penned a fascinating piece on barrel racer Gaylene Buff, in her piece, Driven to Succeed. As you will read, this is a competitor with a hard working attitude and intense determination to succeed.
Finally, it’s sale time! Check out the best sales of this fall in our annual Fall Sale Guide. (Be sure you are subscribed to our e-newsletter feed to catch updates on these sales and heads up of late additions.)
We hope we’ve hit the right mix of horsemanship, western culture and style for y’all with this issue. I hope you love reading it, as much as we enjoyed building it.
Not long ago I received a wonderful gift in the mail. An advance copy of a brilliant compilation dedicated to the rich Alberta ranching heritage and the Calgary Stampede.
Four Calgary-area artists, each an award-winner in their respective fields of historical writing, music, photography and western poetry, have collaborated on a CD project called 100 Years of Thunder: a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.
If there is only one 100 year Calgary Stampede Anniversary memento to collect, this would be it.
The CD itself features 10 original poems (Daley) and 10 original songs (Innes) that salute iconic Calgary Stampede themes like pancake breakfasts, Guy Weadick and Flores LaDue, the white hat, Outlaw the Bucking Bull, chuckwagon races, Indian Village, cowboy fever, the Big Four – it’s all here and then some. Bryden has written historical essays based on each of the past 10 decades of the Stampede, illustrated by Palmer’s breathtaking photographic art in the CD liner note booklet.
Innes aptly describes it as a “power-packed, emotional and entertaining ride through 100 years of Stampede history. Wendy’s essays and Neville’s photography add an historical and visual element not typically found in your average CD project.”
It’s true – this is so much more than just a CD. The voices within and visuals combine to fashion a whimsical and beautiful work of art, capturing the essence of the heartbeat of the Calgary Stampede. One hundred years of western spirit and rodeo history is worth celebrating, and 100 Years of Thunder serves it up with history, art, music, stories, emotion and cowboy spirit all rolled into one.
Here’s the great part. We have a special offer just for the Western Horse Review audience. Order either the CD or the limited edition boxed set (only 200 copies: first come – first served) and enjoy a 20% discount on your purchase. Just enter WHRFRIEND and automatically score a 20% discount when you order at 100 Years of Thunder.
As one viewer writes: “This is such a wonderful CD! A storytelling masterpiece of historical significance that will stand the test of time. EVERYONE that has ever been to the Stampede and experienced the greatest outdoor show on earth should get a copy.”
At the log house, the first day of the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede is decidedly quiet. Still, even, after the thunderous lightning storm which flowed through this part of the prairie for most of last night. In complete juxtaposition, downtown Calgary, at this minute is likely an organized mayhem of music, cheering and visual delights, as the Calgary Stampede Centennial Parade is winding its way through the streets, led by our own western icon, Ian Tyson.
If you didn’t catch the Screen Doors & Saddles post yesterday revealing the 2013 Calgary Stampede Poster, be sure to have a look at it. It features a working cowboy many consider another icon of our Canadian West, Vern Lonsberry.
So many little surprises at this year’s event.
We had a chance to gather up some shots of past Calgary Stampede posters, which we intended to run in our July/August issue, but didn’t have a chance to, so I thought I’d share them with you today.
Still thinking of iconic westerners, the 1912 poster was of course, painted by Charlie Russell. This one, two years later in 1914, featured less of a Wild West look and more of a cultured theme.
The Australian National Band and newly constructed Banff-Windermere Highway, as well as the famous chuck wagon races were the highlights showcased in the 1927 poster.
Although it was only 1935, this poster claimed a half century of the show. I’m sure there’s a story behind this.
Full color photography, depicting the “famous chuck wagon races” was introduced in 1946.
I love that rodeo and agriculture is true to center of these older posters.
One more vintage poster – Canada’s Centennial year. These posters are fantastic works of art, but each also gives us a snapshot of history in a fashion, often chronicling what was matter most to the culture of the day.
What I found really interesting is the fact there are a number of years for which a poster is unavailable. According to Aimee Benoit, archivist at the Calgary Stampede, we are missing posters for 1922, 1926 and 1930. The Stampede didn’t establish their own archives until 1999, so everything they have has been acquired since then. Incredible to think these three links to the Calgary Stampede history may never be found.
The art itself is a huge aspect of the poster and we’ve been granted so many artists vision for the event; it’s always an awe-inspiring surprise to see the next one, and so difficult to pick favorites, but this would have to be one of mine.
Finally, the millenium poster.
Whether it’s Stampede-flavored or not, hope you enjoy the beautiful weekend. Be sure to enter the Iron Horse jeans giveaway if you haven’t already. We’ll be drawing and announcing a lucky winner later on this afternoon.
At the 1912 Calgary Stampede, there was a rodeo, a parade, and a Charlie Russell Exhibition. Next to the rodeo the artwork of Charlie Russell was perhaps the highlight of the inaugural Stampede. For Russell’s career it was a defining moment, both critically and financially. He not only sold 13 of the 20 paintings he brought to the Exhibition, his work gained international attention and a host of new and wealthy patrons, including the titled Englishman who bought four, and the wealthy Torontonian, who took home three.
That year, Russell’s artwork was also featured on the first Calgary Stampede poster.
For eight weeks from June 2 to July 29, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary will be featuring 18 of those 20 works showcased at the 1912 Calgary Stampede, for a special exhibition, titled “Charlie Russell and the First Calgary Stampede.”
Aspiring journalist, Jenny Antonenko is currently interning with Western Horse Review, and yesterday she caught up with Glenbow Senior Curator, Lorain Lounsberry to ask her a few questions about the Exhibition. She discovered one of the greatest challenges of tracking down 18 (for the Glenbow already held two of the original 20) 100-year-old paintings was following the trail of title renamings over the past century.
As Lounsberry related to Jenny, “Not only are they scattered in private and public institutions over nine states and one province, the names kept changing on those paintings, so to be able to match up those paintings with the title that they now exist under was a bit of a challenge.”
The Glenbow crew worked with Dr. Brian Dippie, a Russell scholar, based out of Victoria, B.C., and they now have most of them nailed down, although, “there a couple that may not be the exact ones but they are very similar. We’ve been very careful; we do have a companion book [for the Exhibition], and Dr. Dippie in his essay indicates that it’s not one hundred percent certain, but it’s so close and so compelling an argument that we feel that if this painting wasn’t the one, it’s a good stand-in.”
The paintings were gathered from private lenders and such leading galleries as the Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), the C.M. Russell Museum (Great Falls, Montana), the Tucson Museum of Art and two works from the Glenbow’s own collection.
Undoubtedly this collection of Russells’ represents his greatest work, and all of his passions – the landscape, the wildlife, the ranches, the First Nations people, the cowboys. The Old West as Russell viewed it.
I believe we have been gifted with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view this collection of iconic art from the Cowboy Artist.
Russell’s links to the Canadian West were many, and his work is forever a testatment to his love of the land and people. After he died in 1926, A. E. Cross – one of the “Big Four” of the Calgary Stampede expressed what Russell’s passing meant for western Canadians with a note to his wife, Nancy. Within it, he penned this sentence:
“You have not only my entire sympathy, but the sympathy of all the old cow men in this country.”
Perfectly put, I’ve always loved that quote. And, I can’t wait to visit the Glenbow for this Exhibition.
How do you build a 1900 pound replica of a horse, using only recycled steel materials? Through the words elegance, quality and form, describes Chris McConnell, a senior student at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
“I used all recycled materials, that I found in a junkyard. All the steel that is used in the work is very thick giving it the ability to last over a 100 years outside, and if treated perhaps longer. All the steel was bent by hand forming its contour and parallel lines,” says McConnell.
“The decision of style and aesthetics of the spacing and organization of the steel was a big part of the work as well.”
For the last three years, McConnell has been studying Asian philosophies and culture. He feels the figure relates to Taoist’s belief of space as a second dimension.
McConnell asked himself during construction, how to place the materials to replicate the fluent, dynamic and natural feel of a horse.
“In doing so, the horse (sculpture) has what we call in the fine-arts world, a contrapposto.”
“The materials that I used were selected very special for this work. I did not want to show many known parts.”
To avoid the feeling that comes from obvious ‘recycled art’, McConnell explains he used steel as a medium to create the sculpture and erase the material’s association with its’ previous function.
“Some of the parts used were a propane tank, truck leaf springs, truck drive shaft swivel, three air tanks, re-bar, implements from tractors, as well as many different sized pipes.”
By relating to the words elegance, quality and form he feels that the contour line, has become most important in this work.
“The line works in a dynamic way – to show direction and muscle mass.”
This piece is a combination of the artist’s interest in Green Works (sculptures made from recycled products) and the form he was drawn to, in the a neighbor’s saddle bred horse. The 16.5 HH structure took four months, from construct to installation, and was placed last fall at the four star Red Maple Inn, in Burton Ohio.
If you missed last week’s great Christmas gift idea – the beautiful Kim Taylor On The Trail day planner, I have a new gorgeous idea for you today.
This week’s great Christmas gift idea is beautiful handcrafted Mara pottery. The sculptor Mara designed many pieces of pottery over her lifetime; you can read more about her here. Studying with world’s greatest modern artists, Mara developed and mastered the difficult technique of precise line drawing in ceramics.
I happened upon Mara pottery at the Canadian Supreme Western Lifestyle Marketplace a few weeks ago.
I’m not one for factory-made, so I was immediately drawn by the fact that each piece of Mara pottery is engraved and painted by hand, a tradition her family carries out in her name.
These gorgeous pieces are both contemporary and rustic. Love them.
A milk jug, but could also function as a wine decanter.
This is another of Mara’s designs – coyote cactus – which I think would work well with the horse set I already purchased.
I want to share this beautiful pottery, so I’m giving one of my newly purchased and unused pieces away! I haven’t decided which I can part with yet, but while I agonize over that choice, let us know in the Comment section below, who you have the most difficult time purchasing a Christmas gift for. You don’t have to name your giftee specifically, but can retain them some anonymity with a nickname, if you prefer. Contest closes Friday, Nov. 11 at midnight.