No gimmicks needed to travel back in time to the first Calgary Stampede
While you try the new food, rides and attractions at this year’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, you can also take a trip back in time to the first Stampede.
In Weadickville, in Quirk Cabin, the 1886 home of pioneers John and Mary Quirk, Christine Leppard shares the history of the Calgary Stampede as its historical specialist.
It’s an initiative of the Western Heritage Grouping, and the displays were put together by Leppard and her archiving assistant Shannon Murray.
Leppard has a PhD in Canadian history from the University of Calgary and started at the Stampede in March to tell about the Stampede’s rich history.
“They have had an archivist for years but they want to get the stories of the Stampede out a little bit more,” she said.
The cabin, purchased in 1912 by Patrick Burns, one of the Big Four, has become like an old-fashioned store in Weadickville, where she and volunteers showcase Stampede history.
A shelf of belt buckles tells a unique story.
“One of the things we wanted to show was the evolution of Stampede culture and one of the things that has happened is over the years belt buckles have become a status symbol in rodeo, but originally they weren’t,” she said, showing a buckle won by successful cowboy Pete Knight in 1932, which is much smaller compared to the newer ones.
“We really hope that Calgarians but also our international visitors can learn a little more about western heritage and values and experience the pride of place that the Stampede has in our western heritage.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to talk to other Calgarians and the many international visitors about where this deep love of the Stampede and our rich western heritage come from.”
The artifacts are all from the Calgary Stampede archives.
With the development of the SAM Centre, and the $15-million donation from philanthropist Don Taylor towards the centre, a component of the Youth Campus opening in 2017, the Stampede is working to grow its collection.