Search

BEST YEAR YET - CALGARY VICTORY STAMPEDE INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER BOOTH

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

Chris W. Tutty Interviews Public Relations Manager Jennifer Booth about this year's Calgary Stampede July 5-14, 2019


Photography by Katherine Calnan for I'm Here With Magazine Stampede edition of Jennifer Booth. Amber Marshall of CBC's Heartland is this year's Stampede Parade Marshal.


This year was record breaking. It was The Calgary Stampede’s second highest record of attendance!


By Chris W. Tutty and I'm Here With


For the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Calgary, you can always tell when the World’s Greatest Outdoor Show is around the corner. The Calgary Stampede is usually around the same time that Bret Wilson, of Dragons’ Den and Prairie Merchant fame, has his epic garden party in the elite district of Mount Royal. Bret’s events has helped the community of Calgary for well over a decade and every year it celebrates several worthy causes. As always, 100 % percent of the proceeds go to these charities. This year was also an interlude to a spectacular fundraiser that Paul Brandt and some “friends” hosted at Knoxville’s Tavern. PrairieRowdy centered around the #notinmycity campaign, a very powerful movement to help stop human trafficking across Canada.


Chris Tutty with Steve Gilliss with Paul Brandt who performed Sept 8th during Stampede.


As I headed down to the Calgary Stampede grounds to meet my crew, I could feel the rush, the energy, and the anticipation of the Stampede, and everything except the Cowboys tent seemed to be in place. This year the tent was across the street from the Casino and it was not as long of a party, due to city restrictions. But trust me it was just as epic, with entertainment like Snoopdog and Nelly, Metric, Billy Idol, Blondie and Bryan Adams. Business Owners including Paul Vickers, Scarlet Lee and Dave Urner, of Penny Lane Entertainment, have become names that are synonymous with Stampede even if two of them lived in Edmonton twenty years ago.


2019 Shows

Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell 2019

The Sheepdogs. Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell 2019

Photo Credit: Chris Wedman / Calgary Stampede 2019

Photo Credit: Blake Chorley

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede 2019

Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell 2019


Chris W. Tutty Experience:


As I walked down Olympic Way, there it was, the entrance to the Stampede! I marveled as a crew of high precision men, reminiscent of the typical big city worker, put up the awning to The World’s Greatest Outdoor Show. This would be the meeting place of my next interview.


Here I was with Jen Booth head of Public Relations Manager for the Stampede, and it was time to talk to this amazingly well organized woman about her illustrious career and all the things she has done for the city of Calgary.


Chris W. Tutty Interviewing Jennifer Booth one week before Stampede


It’s what most of us call Q and A time, or Question and Answer Time, wait wouldn’t that be Q and A and T time? (laughs)


TUTTY: Hi Jen I was hoping to ask you some behind the scenes ballbusting questions. I understand that this year is going to be the Victory Stampede. Can you tell us a little bit about why this is a special year.

JEN: It was the first Stampede following World War One, and it's the first one that really brought the community together in 1919, so this year is the 100th anniversary. Southern Alberta and Northern Alberta were somewhat divided following the World War, and so the Calgary Stampede brought the regions together to really bring life and spirit back into the community.


TUTTY: Well, that's incredible. I know the Stampede does really embrace the animals, the people, the culture and the traditions that embody the western spirit. I think I read that on I website ha ha! Now I believe that you guys are going to pay a little bit of tribute to the Canadian Army as well and tie this all in. Is that correct?

JEN: Yeah. So this year's honorary Parade Marshal is Brigadier General Stephen Lacroix, and he will be riding in the parade this year as a little bit of a homage to the military with regards to the Victory Stampede.


The Calgary Stampede introduces Heartland television series star Amber Marshall as the 2019 Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal in Calgary, Alta. on Wed., June 5, 2019. She poses with co-star horse Stormy called Spartan in the series. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal


Calgary Mayor Nenshi. Photo Credit: Graham McKerrell


TUTTY:

As an artist I understand you will be celebrating world famous cowboy artist Charlie Russell at the Western Oasis at the BMO Center. I heard that Guy Weadick the founder for the Stampede sought him out in 1912 and again for the 1919 Victory Stampede to showcase his art? What is that all about? Seems maybe part of the first original stampede was an art show?

JEN:

Yes this year in the Western Oasis at the BMO center we will be featuring 24 Giclees (reproductions) of the original exhibit in 1919 of Charlie Russell's works.


TUTTY:

Wow this is all very exciting! The Western Oasis is always my favorite place to socialize or take someone on a Stampede date before the chuck wagons because it is the only place on the grounds where you can get a fancy you really were instrumental in promoting that spirit and said that we needed to help the community and that a lot of your volunteers and the people at the Stampede Board were not qualified to actually go into these types of disasters. What were some of the things that initially were done to reach out to the community and how did you guys pull off the Stampede? I mean the Saddledome was like a swimming pool, you guys could have had a Sea World park there.

JEN:

Well, you know what we did is we really assess if we should have a Stampede and the communities made that loud and clear that they wanted one. So we had a number of volunteers, and we all got it done.


Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede 2019


TUTTY:

How many people helped rebuild and what resources did it take?

JEN:

We have 3,000 volunteers with the Calgary Stampede and we wanted to put them to use and they wanted to work, they basically knocked on our door the next day, because we needed professional help. We asked them to go into the communities and help the people impacted in the community and we were able we were fortunate enough to be able to call in professionals from all over North America to be able to help rebuild the Stampede and to make the necessary repairs for us to put on a great celebration.


Local Artists Candy and Andy Guba at The Calgary Stampede 2019. Wearing Wild Caveman Leathers. and Arcane Coda clothing.


TUTTY:

I can't imagine how much must goes through your mind every day while you set up for such an event, on top of a major crisis like the flood —Congrats to you guys. What sort of storage space do you guys have for the Stampede? Because I see a lot more than mini donuts and foot long hot dogs. Where do you store all this? Tell me what your deadlines are. When do you guys start preparing for actual setup, how far ahead do you need to be planning and organizing?


JEN:

We have a lot of storage, and start planning next year's Stampede right after the last day of the Stampede, with respect to programming and how we want it to look and feel and the different things to bring in for the year. The actual setup is really one of the first things that we start with. The dream home gets started usually in January or February and once that gets started, you know, then little pieces come to fruition over the next few months, but I'd say the two weeks before is really go time. So it's kind of the 20th of June is when we really start seeing, you know, these tents going up and different venues in part.


Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede. Bird's Eye View of Elbow River Camp


Much more than a ten-day long celebration with midway rides and bucking broncos, the Calgary Stampede is a gathering place that hosts, educates, and entertains visitors from around the world. Our purpose is to preserve and celebrate western heritage, culture, and community spirit. - CS.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede 2019


TUTTY:

Dream home? What company is building the home this year? Do they just truck this gigantic house into the Stampede or do they start building it on site in January? How does that happen? Because I mean that is one of the biggest features that my parents probably for over 40 years have always bought tickets for. They do not support any other type of lottery and I guess this is actually charity based. So if you can speak about the charity and the company, that would be great too.

JEN:

Yeah. It's Homes by Avi that does our dream home each year and they actually build it from the ground up. So there's no foundation on this particular one, but they build it and finish it, everything is here in Stampede Park. And then everybody comes through it, and buys their tickets and there are also, the trucks and RVs and motorcycles and everything that's part of the lottery package. All of the money is distributed throughout the community through the Rotary as well as Kinsmen Club. After the Stampede, they take the house apart and rebuild it in the community where it is going to.


Calgary stars Stephane Wilfred Legault & Shawna Pliva and their family are ready for Stampede. Photography by Andras Schram.


TUTTY:

Wow, that's amazing! I know a couple of friends who bought some of those houses as well, ya! Homes by Avi actually built my house up in the NW, what a community coincidence! So while it seems like you guys are really involved with the culture and what Stampede is, are there any other companies that standing out as long-term partners that you are working with?


JEN:

We have a really long list of sponsors that contribute and are a big part of the Stampede this year. We have a brand new sponsor doing the Grandstand Show. So it's Bell who sponsors the Bell Grandstand Show. We're really interested to see how they elevate the show. Bell will also be providing free Wi-Fi at the Stampede.


Jennifer Booth Public Relation Manager of The Calgary Stampede


TUTTY:

You heard it right here, free Wifi at the Stampede guys!

JEN:

Enbridge is also presenting our Elbow River camp (formerly Indian Village) this year. This has always been a place to represent the First Nations and make them a major part of the Stampede, and the choice of western wear here has always been with Lammles.


TUTTY:

Lammles? I love Lammles, the jacket I am wearing is from Lammles, my shirt is from Lammles', my boots are from Lammles, I just love alligator. So besides Lammles are there any cool fashion choices you think you might have for Stampede?

JEN:

Well, you know, everybody always looks good dressed up like a cowboy or cowgirl. If you are in a hat that’s a good choice, but I would recommend a straw hat on those hot days as well as making it your own style. So even if you don't have western clothes in your regular wardrobe, you can always make something western by throwing on a hat, belt buckle, and a really cool piece of turquoise jewelry. It's really easy to get western but make it your own.


Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede 2018. Merry Go Round at Night - ride on the Midway


TUTTY

There you go. That's the fashion part of our magazine, which seems to be a big part of I'm Here With Magazine. So now we're going to actually hit the grounds while we talk about some of our food experiences; as well any favorites or anything crazy? Like one year? I had a scorpion pizza, I’m also looking forward to the White Chocolate Cheesecake Mini Doughnuts, The Smoked Turkey Tacos, BBQ Chicken Hearts on a stick, an Octo Lolly or Octo Leg, maybe a deep-fried Twizzler or some Cotton Candy or Cinnamon Bun Mini doughnuts all followed by some Pepto Bismol. Basically I love food sandwiched with donuts.

JEN:

We have a Cheeto frog leg. So they're deep-fried frog legs, but they're zesty and hot. We also have for the more sophisticated the rose lemonade where they actually make it out of roses,rose petals and flowers. It is unbelievable! There's Cherry Blaster pizza. So it's cherries on a pizza with sriracha sauce,and it's actually pretty good. It’s like cherries on pizza? Kind of like pineapple on pizza.


Stranger Things has it's own area on the grounds.

Stranger Things star with Chris W. Tutty at the Stampede


TUTTY:

The economy has been tight this year, with problems in the oil and gas industry, and with getting our products to markets due to pipeline constraints. Do you see this as having any impact on the show?

JEN:

Not specifically this year. However, we each year try to make the Stampede a little bit new and different and so we understand that Calgary goes through ups and downs, but one thing that Stampede has always been is a place where people can come together, celebrate, and recognize the great community they are part of. You know, we really positioned ourselves to be fairly resilient and a place of reprieve over all the years.


The Grand Stand with Dave Kelly 2019 by Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell


TUTTY:

Well I'm still trying to get over the fact that there is free Wi-Fi because I'm not going to lie to you, that will help in these times of need. I understand that the Stampede has a really unique theme for the Grandstand this year, it like Trailblazers. Is that the correct name of it the show this year, which is a homage to the travelling western show such as Wild Bill.

Jen:

It's really focusing on women in Western culture and so on. Actor Onalea Gilbertson is our host and she's actually from Calgary, but she has a career in the theater Industry in New York. So we're really proud to have her as our host and we have a number of guests acts like the Gauchos a male dance company from Argentina. We will have all of the young Canadians on the stage. It's going to be a spectacular show, followed of course with fireworks.


Bret & Stephanie Hart with friends and family at the Calgary Stampede 2019.


TUTTY:

Speaking of women, it seems you have an epic Western Wonder Woman as your parade Marshall , and her name is Amber Marshall. This just seems like destiny, kind of, like how did this come about? How did you realize that such an amazing star was in our own backyard?Because I know you've had everybody from Sam Elliott, William Shatner, Prince Charles and Mickey Mouse, to Walt Disney host the parade. Amber certainly is my Wonder Woman as she agreed to appear in one of my arts shows to promote local charities.

JEN:

So each year our president chooses who we are we are looking at to be the parade marshal, Amber Marshall just seemed to be the perfect pick this year. We really wanted to focus on women in Western culture, and celebrate women in Western culture. So Amber Marshall just seemed like an obvious choice, she seems to be a bit of a role model! Not only does she play it on her television show, but she also really embodies it in her regular life. Living on a ranch just taking care of animals, loving to ride, that sort of thing and she's just a really kind young lady and we're so proud to have her lead the parade this year.


Water By Design work


TUTTY:

I remember very clearly Amber coming to my first art show and wildlife artist Glenn Olson (who has been a part of the Stampede Art Auction) did a painting of her and my dad actually bought the portrait of Amber.There are so many complex parts to running an art show let alone the worlds largest outdoor show. Like I just can't imagine what goes on through your mind on a day to day basis and the challenges you face. I think that it's just amazing what you're doing for the community. Can you tell me what Stampede means to you and do you have time to share it with anyone?


JEN:

Well, we always make time and that's why we work at the Stampede.

It's all for the fun. And you know, when I was a little kid, I would come to the Stampede every day. I'm a born and raised Calgarian and actually one of my very first jobs was working at guest services on the midway. So I knew that when I completed my schooling, I wanted to be a part of this organization somehow and so I was fortunate to be able to get a position where I was able to share Stampede with the entire world. I love doing that and now I have the opportunity to share it with my little girl. Last year, she was featured on the front page of the newspaper as one of her first Stampedes. And yeah, it's just great and I'm so excited for her to come down this year to take her on the different rides and see the animals. I think it will be exciting and I hope she shares as much love for the Stampede as me.


Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell. Midway with rides 2018.


TUTTY:

Wow. So one of your first jobs was dealing with people who maybe got to stick on the Tilt-A-Whirl, you know what I mean or the Himalayan or the slingshot?

JEN:

Yeah, that's exactly what it was. I was right at the clock tower when the clock tower existed and we would go and make sure that everybody was okay. And if something happened, or there was a complaint we dealt with it.


TUTTY:

Can you imagine it? Hi, I was on the Drop of Doom and I don't feel very well, can I have my money back. What about the Sky Chair thing were you see the whole park?

JEN:

The Sky Ride. It's it's a really great way to get across the park. It's I think maybe for tourists. It's probably a really great experience to kind of get that vantage point of the park, but it's a nice. It's a nice relaxing ride for the most part.


Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell. Cute dog at the Dog Bowl 2018.


TUTTY:

THE PBR has introduced a new thing called the Shark Tank. Is there any chance some of those things happen? And do you know what that's about.

JEN:

I don't know about Shark Tank, but we have a brand new event here called Bulls After Dark and it'll be on the final Friday and Saturday of Stampede. Its essentially that it's a plus 18 event where it starts at 10 o'clock at night, and it's free styling and they're going to have like fireworks and a live band with dancing. It's a really exciting event.


TUTTY:

That is an amazing idea guys because I don't know how many times me and my friends have been out late or at concerts at Cowboys, maybe not feeling too good, you know a little hair of the dog and it's hard to get to the rodeo , what time does it start , its two o'clock?

JEN:

One o'clock, one o'clock!


Stampede Accreditation Office Coordinators.


TUTTY:

That's my problem, see I thought it always started at two so it would be half over by the time I got there. The Shark Tank was an event where they actually put people in the infield in a cage so they can watch.

JEN:

Ya we don't do that.


TUTTY:

There's a lot of agriculture that's going on here too as well. So with the rodeo and the agriculture, what are some of the new highlights as well?

JEN:

We've got lots of different agriculture competitions and displays going on. Cowboy Up is a great place to see women in Western culture really commanding and you know having that relationship with their horses and running through, and of course we have that heavy horse pull, the ultimate strength competition. We also have the Calgary Philharmonic who does a great number with one of our agriculture shows. There is lots to see and do and it's just really a great way to get up close and personal with animals, you know people in the city don't necessarily get much opportunity to see and learn about animals. So that's that's one of the things we really highlight here at the Stampede.


Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede 2019


TUTTY:

Well, yeah, Cowboy up is the way to go with so many skills and action. My friend Kateri Cowley was actually a part of the Cowboy Up too, as well as her brother Dave Cowley and both of them work as stunt people in the industry. Do you have any favorites this year in the Chuck Wagons?

JEN:

Wow! I don't know Jason Glass obviously, but yeah and Mark Sutherland. Yeah, he's a great one. It's a lot of fun to watch. I think I cheer for everybody. I can't have a favorite.


Photo Credit: Ben Dartnell, Show riders at the Rodeo.


TUTTY:

I hear ya but I have a couple of favorites,I always liked it when I run into Tom and or Jason Glass during the Stampede now there a legend. What kind of money is up this year?

JEN:

Well for the Chuck Wagon race has it's a total purse of a million dollars. So the final Sunday is Showdown Sunday. And so it's $400,000 but leading up to that everybody has day money that they can win so you can win if you want every day and the final Sunday you've been well over $100,000.


TUTTY:

Could you kind of explain it to us a little bit ,about the Chuck Wagon races and how the stove and the tent pegs and everything fit in.

JEN:

So the chuckwagon race is essentially just a re-creation of games they used to play in the past and for lack of a better word. They would just throw the stove wherever they were camped and race to the next homestead and so it's a kind of a re-creation, it's a homage to that. But essentially, the chuckwagon starts at the starting barrels, which each wagon and their outriders must manoeuvre around and make the finish line with points taken off for knocking over the barrels. And they throw up a fake stove, it’s a kind of a rubber thing they throw into the back of the chuckwagons and then they race around the track with the outriders and the wagon driver that's led by a driver and four horses.


Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede 2019.


TUTTY:

When I'm in Los Angeles I'm always telling people you got to come to Stampede. You have no idea! People don't work for 10 days. They start drinking at about 8:00 am in the morning during the weekdays and it's usually Bailey's and coffee and free Stampede breakfasts. If you could speak to any of my friends in La-La Land as we call it or throughout the world, what would be the main reason that you would tell them to come here to the Calgary Stampede?

JEN:

It's really a spectacle that you've never seen before. So, that’s why we call it the greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, and it is yeah, we are spread over a hundred and thirty acres.We have everything like I mentioned from Western agriculture, Western culture, the rodeo, the Chuck Wagons. We’re are also one of the largest music festivals in Canada at the time. We have so much food. There's our dream home. There's a hundred thousand square feet of art exhibits. There's so much that encompasses Calgary Stampede it is something that you've just never really seen anywhere before but I think the most important thing is about the community spirit. You can't get off the plane without knowing that something amazing is happening in Calgary during the Stampede.


Photo Credit: Blake Chorley 2019


TUTTY:

Wow, thank you so much! I can't thank you enough for all you are doing in our community, and for the Stampede which means so much to us. I am very excited to highlight some of these very significant achievements and show some of the readers of I'm Here With Magazine what they're missing if they don't attend the Stampede.


AFTERWORD


With that said I concluded my interview and was grateful for the opportunity to talk to such an amazing person in charge of so much of our heritage and community spirit. Thanks Jen Booth.


WHERE THE WORLD MEETS THE WEST Each year, more than one million guests from around the world come to Calgary to experience the heart-pounding action of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, featuring bull riding, barrel racing and more. The GMC Rangeland Derby is a Stampede original, with 36 teams of horses and drivers racing to the finish line each night. The excitement is capped off nightly with the Bell Grandstand Show and a fireworks finale that lights up the sky for all 10 nights. The Calgary Stampede is also one of Canada’s largest music festivals, with five stages and 300 performers, including a slate of international music headliners. World-class agricultural events and adrenaline-pumping Midway rides will entertain guests of all ages. Experience First Nations culture and traditions at Elbow River Camp in Calgary Stampede’s beautiful ENMAX Park.


Calgary Stampede Social

July 5-14, 2019


Tickets

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter


Listen to their podcast interview on iTunes or Podomatic



Post and share your western wear at the Calgary Stampede to be featured!

Tag @calgarystampede and @imherewithmag

0 views

@2018 by I'm Here With Magazine