Stampede has come and gone once again, but not without leaving us with some new memories, lessons, and battle wounds.

It’s our seventh year sponsoring the Stampede, and in the past we have managed to stay behind the scenes. Over the years, we’ve built a strong relationship with the Stampede Caravan Committee – a passionate group of volunteers who put on the ‘official breakfasts’ around the city during Stampede. We’ve supported this incredible group by building their website and developing a back-end site for these dedicated volunteers to organize their schedules during the ten days.

This Stampede, we decided to move from behind the scenes, to participating on the front-lines. How? We joined the volunteers at one of their pancake breakfasts. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into. Here’s a run down of our day, and a few things we learned along the way. 

IMG_0520

We started off our Thursday morning bright and early by gathering the team at our office at 5:30 AM. Yes, you read that right. Considering that a usual Thursday morning doesn’t start until 8:45 AM, this was a bit of a shock to our systems. Especially without caffeine.

Wasko offered the team her lime-green Ford Fiesta – ‘Sweet Pea’ – as one mode of transportation. Emily and Jamie found their way there on their own, showing up as the only two in full cowboy gear. Destination: Big Rock Brewery. Once there, we were graciously greeted by the team, and a ceremony of initiation proceeded. Let’s just say this initiation included having something that Mr. Worldwide would approve of, and is served on a piece of winter sport equipment.

IMG_0582

We then headed to McKenzie Towne, one of the two breakfast locations that were running that morning. We quickly realized how much time and effort goes into a pancake breakfast. Eight out of the ten mornings of Stampede, the Stampede Caravan Committee volunteers put on a free breakfast in two different locations. If you do the math that is SIXTEEN breakfasts, and each breakfast has thousands of attendees. That’s a lot of pancake batter! This year the committee claims to have mixed and flipped over 200,000 pancakes.

IMG_0579

During the breakfast setup, a few of us decided that a little friendly competition wouldn’t hurt – especially since we hadn’t had our morning caffeine. An orange juice unboxing competition took place. There is still no consensus on the winner, but there was some seriously impressive job role assignment and hand-eye coordination.

IMG_0630

Between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00 AM, we joined the rest of the volunteers to help flip flapjacks (pun intended), cook sausages, pass out juice boxes, and give kids pony rides. This is where we saw the incredible teamwork and hospitality of all the Caravan volunteers. We learned that a chuck-wagon driver inspired this friendly hospitality in 1923; this reputation has spread around the world (read more about this fantastic committee here).

IMG_0715

At the end of the day, we only had one casualty, and that was Wasko’s poor middle finger.

IMG_0560

So, what did we learn? Here’s just a short list (of the many):

  1. Don’t squat with your spurs on
  2. How to properly open OJ boxes
  3. Always wear your gloves
  4. Don’t put canola oil in syrup bottles
  5. If you can’t hear what attendees are saying, just smile and say “yahoo”
  6. What 2(sideways 2)P stands for
  7. Bring deodorant next year
  8. People really like pancakes
  9. The Caravan Committee volunteers are heroes