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Calgary Stampede presents four Western Legacy Awards

The Calgary Stampede has honoured three inspiring individuals and one remarkable group based on their commitment to western heritage and values at the ninth annual Western Legacy Awards.

“The Western Legacy Awards are an important way to recognize the accomplishments of individuals and group,” says Paul Valentine, chair of the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Awards committee. “These individuals and organizations have helped to build and strengthen our communities while preserving western heritage and values.”

This year’s recipients genuinely embody the values and commitment to the Stampede’s western legacy:

Award for Youth – Carson Reiser: Organizing a yearly charity event is no small feat for any individual. But the fact that Carson Reiser has done so since the age of eight is simply amazing. Carson, together with a team of his best friends, has developed a yearly fundraising bike ride - collecting over $60,000 for Wellspring Calgary – a local cancer support centre. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a 13-year-old with such determination and willingness to volunteer throughout the community. Carson has inspired countless other youth and adults to do the same and his spirit and enthusiasm are contagious.

Award for Innovation – Brian Nimjean & Paul Wagman: Together in 2002, Brian Nimijean and Paul Wagman helped to create Camp Carmangay – a retreat southeast of Calgary for disadvantaged kids. Since the doors opened 11 years ago, more than 10,000 youth have passed through with positive results, learning about self-worth and control. Youth are taught to feed and look after rescued horses forming a unique bond. Camp Carmangay welcomes all kids, regardless of their past, appearances, culture or finances. Tipis, wide-open spaces and equine spirit grace the boundaries of Camp Carmangay, but it is the inspiration and dedication of Brian and Paul that have made it all possible.

Award for Sustained Contribution, Individual – Rick Smith: For close to three and a half decades, Rick Smith was the heart and soul of the Heritage Park Historical Village. During his 33 years there, Rick made the Park one of Calgary’s major tourist attractions, known for preserving the historical and western values of Calgary and Alberta. Rick is a member of many committees and organizations, including Tourism Calgary, Rising Sun Extended Care Centre, and the Longview Music and Arts Festival. His love for western hospitality is shown through the countless hours he dedicates to the community. If you’re trying to find Rick during the Calgary Stampede, look no further than the GMC Rangeland Derby – his love for chuckwagon races runs deep.

Award for Sustained Contribution, Group – Children's Hospital Aid Society: The Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS) has funded services for Calgary’s low-income, at-risk and ill children for over 104 years. It is an organization with deep roots in the community and was instrumental in the creation of the Children’s Hospital. In 2012 alone, CHAS was able to raise nearly $500,000 for children in the Calgary area. CHAS volunteers reach out to groups who help kids, rather than waiting to be asked – often focusing on smaller organizations without the capacity to raise funds on their own. One hundred per cent volunteer-run, the Children’s Hospital Aid Society is an integral part of the community.

The Youth category is open to young people under 25 years of age, and recognizes youth who have demonstrated their commitment to making a difference. The award for Innovation recognizes a person or group that has created a single visionary project that speaks to western values. Recipients of the Sustained Contribution category exhibit extraordinary community support over a number of years.

Shaw TV will televise the 2013 Western Legacy Awards Friday, October 11 at 10 p.m. and will repeat on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

About the Calgary Stampede - as we enter our second century, the Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west.  The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values.  All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

Calgary Stampede