Canadian first for Angus farmer

James Arnott with the chuckwagon he sponsored for the Calgary race.
James Arnott with the chuckwagon he sponsored for the Calgary race.

An Angus farmer recently became the first ever non-Canadian sponsor at the famous Calgary Stampede during a visit to the country.

James Arnott, of Mains of Coul near Memus, stepped in to sponsor a covered wagon in the event’s chuckwagon race earlier this month after the original sponsor pulled out.

An Aberdeen Angus breeder, Mr Arnott makes regular visits to Canada as he maintains a small herd there as well as at his Memus farm and has visited the stampede before, but this was the first time he has ever been involved.

Billed as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’, the stampede is broadcast live in Canadian television and on networks throughout the United States and the 10-day event can attract up to one million visitors.

Mr Arnott said: “It’s the first time that anyone from outside the country has done that. Some of the money goes to the wagon drivers but the rest goes to the Calgary Food Bank, which is one of their major fund-raisers for the year.

“This year 100,000 people were displaced during severe flooding, so it was relied on more than ever. When the sponsor pulled out a friend of a friend at the food bank came and asked me, thinking it would be something different and a good advert for Coul Angus given there were 22,000 people in the showground and that it’s broadcast live in North America and Canada.”

Mr Arnott’s wagon came third in its heat and 14th out of 36 that made it through to the final. A traditional rodeo event, the race is a fast and furious affair with the wagons, pulled by four horses, covering the half-mile distance in just over a minute. Because of his sponsorship, Mr Arnott was invited to the stampede’s international reception where he met the its international chairman Keith Jones, chairman Bot Thompson, chief executive officer Vern Kimball and Verlyn Olson, Alberta’s Minister for Agriculture.

Mr Arnott added: “I was able to give them some history of the Angus breed and where it came from originally.”