Friday, 13 June 2014

2014 Ukie Stampede Stomp

Calgary is the home of the world's largest and best known Rodeo - the Calgary Stampede! And just over a century ago a huge number of new immigrants to Canada from the mountains, foothills and steppes of Ukraine joined the Stampede fans - even participating wholeheartedly in the horse-play, lasso competitions, and horse riding hijinks! It was, of course a time when Calgary's first Ukrainian church community was taking their prayerful steps in setting root here, and just before Canada's First Internment Operations. But those are a lot of other stories about Ukrainians in Calgary!

A little connection you may not know though - there is increasing evidence supporting the hypothesis that horses were domesticated during the copper age, in the Eurasian Steppes centered in Dereivka, Ukraine between 3380-4570 BC! Dereivka is located in the Dnipro valley in Kirovohrads'ka oblast Ukraine. The herding and breeding of horses, beginning with the domestication of the horse, transformed Ukraine's steppe culture, and every subsequent society that adopted horse culture.  Horses increased mobility, and had an impact on transportation, trade, hunting and warfare. While the glorious age of Ukrainian Cossack State resonates in the memory, jump forward many centuries to the timely establishment of the Calgary Stampede! It must have been extremely enticing for new Canadians from Ukraine to join with their new countrymen in celebrating the horse culture on Canada's new frontier. The wild open spaces, the tradition, the colourful stories of Ukrainian cowboys - the kozaky - and everyone was a cowboy!

Lots of reasons to join in the Calgary Stampede Fun - and it is never too early for a Pre-Stampede Stomp! Getting your cowboy boots on?

St. Stephen's Cultural Centre is again the great venue for a Barbeque Steak and Perogie Supper on Saturday, June 21, 2014! Make sure to get your tickets soon! Yee! Ha!
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