History - Stampede City Kinsmen

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Stampede City

(Excerpt from Galaxy of Gold (1979))

History Number 1 (Al Black version)

The Stampede City club was chartered April 19, 1964 with sixteen charter members. The nucleus of this new club had come from a group known as the Jolly Fellows. With the intention of gaining notoriety as quickly as possible, the club concocted a little entertainment for the delegates attending the National Convention in Banff. A goose was released in the swimming pool of a local motel and after numerous complaints from hotel guests, National Parks personnel (for heaven’s sake) had to be called in to capture the honker.

The big flub came during the second year of the club, when it embarked on its famous oil try project. About twenty members spent 1,000 hours constructing the trays from Styrofoam with oil and mineral samples. These were to be sold during Stampede week. A grand deficit of $7,000 was realized from the non-sale of 15,000 trays which subsequently had to be stored once the stampede was over.

1967 was pretty uneventful but ’68 made up for it. That year relations with the Calgary club hit an all time low when the Stampede City club became well known to the Immigration Department, the RCMP and the Calgary City Police. It seems that Americans with Georgia accents were posing as Kinsmen while soliciting funds from local citizens.

In the 1968-’69 year, relations with the Calgary club were restored as each began to admit the other existed.

The tree burning festival was introduced for the first time in the 1969-’70 year. Kin collected tons on Christmas trees from all over the city and hauled them to a central location over a period of two weekends. A queen was crowned and a big dance was held around the flaming trees. Traffic was backed up for miles creating chaos along Highway 1 West and into Happy Valley recreation area.

The great stampede cushion rental of 1971, resulted in the purchase of a few thousand cushions and the rental of only ten of them. For some inexplicable reason half the members of the executive left town and showed up in executive chairs in other clubs, three of them in the Big Chief’s chair.

The famous or infamous stag at the Al San Club which was raided and an account of which ended up in the Calgary Herald’s pages was the news for 1972-’73.The following year the initiation to end all initiations was held and although available information alludes only to a takeover of the business meeting by the initiates, it is probable that more raucous activity took place.

A few years later Big Scoop and the Stumbler’s award were introduced. The Big Scoop Award was given to one of the three members picked each meeting night who had to stand up and give a three minute off-the-cuff speech. For the Stumbler’s Awards, all a person had to do was perform a number of physical or verbal goofs.

History Number 2 (Official)

The Stampede City club was chartered April 19, 1964 with sixteen charter members. The nucleus of the club had come from a group known as the Jolly Fellows.

And there the pats diverge!

During the first year the club staged a county carnival at the North Hill shopping centre, and looked into service work at a home for boys and a new convalescent hospital. The major service project in the sixties was the purchase of seven heart and lung resuscitators after a plea from a local doctor. These units were to be placed in city ambulances, only there weren’t enough qualified people in the ambulance service to operate the machines. Deemed to be a danger to life if not handled by properly trained people, they were put into storage. The club then began investigating and planning for an intensive care ambulance. The club also sponsored minor hockey in the city and bingo for the residents of the Glenmore Auxiliary Hospital.

Funds were raised by staging dances, raffles, newspaper bingos. Kintree carnivals, beer fests, and stag nights.

By 1966 the club membership had reached 25, by 1969 it had risen to 61, a fact which won the club the National Expansion Award in that year. The club received the Boake Efficiency Award from 1964 to 1969 and won the National Gimmel bowling trophy one year.

Even though membership had fallen to 52 in 1970, Bylaws were adopted, information nights were begun, and the club hosted the Spring Zone meeting. The club participated in the Calgary Kingo that year and netted $1,000.

In the early seventies the club began its Salvation Army Christmas parties, assisting the Boys Club of Calgary, and the Shinny Bowl game for Easter Seals. Assistance in the Shinny Bowl involves helping with activities and selling tickets. The club decided to assist the Boys Club of Calgary both physically and financially in the operation of one of their activity houses which was in need of aid due to a budget cut back by the United Appeal.

In 1971 the hearts and lung resuscitators put in storage two years earlier were dusted off and donated to a city hospital. Construction on the Kinsmen Sports Centre began in the fall of 1971 and was completed in February 1972. The Kin contribution of $50,000 was paid in full by the time the ice arena was completed. The following year activity was flourishing with the construction of the second Kinsmen Arena. This time the club contributed $115,000 of the $265,000 total cost.

New services added were sponsorship of the Calgary school patrol and the Kin Y pool. The club paid around $10,000 for a portable pool and donated it to the YMCA, who took the pool to such outlying areas as Canmore, High River and Strathmore and held swimming lessons. The club later supplied funds for pool repairs. The program was dropped by the YMCA after about four years.

From 1974 to 1978 the club assisted in a recreational program for the children at CNIB. Every Saturday afternoon members of the club spent two or three hours “showing” the blind children how to do various exercises and offer much needed physical and moral support in doing some of the more difficult movements. Although some of the children had some vision, all were legally blind and required close individual assistance and supervision. Although some money was spent on equipment the job was basically am manpower project. Also that year the club hosted five children’s Christmas parties: for Cystic Fibrosis Children, Salvation Army, Spruce Cliff Home for Juvenile Delinquents, CNIB and the Kin Kids.

By 1979 the club was still holding three Christmas parties each year, for the blind, the Down’s syndrome children and for those with Cystic Fibrosis. At these parties gifts are handed out by Santa, a skit is put on by the Kinsmen and a special visitor from the zoo is in attendance. Other activities provided dot these children have included aircraft and hot air balloon rides.

The third Kinsmen sponsored arena was started and completed in the spring of 1977. A $250,000 contribution of the $750,000 was required to twin the new Henry Viney arena to the existing Renfrew Arena in northeast Calgary.

For three years, 1975, 1976 and 1978, the club participated in the Tri-Club Telethons that raised over one million dollars for Kinsmen pediatric research. The club has also continued to sponsor the school patrol. Stampede City Kinsmen hold an annual blind car rally which consists of thirty to forty Kinsmen drivers and an equal number of blind people, who with the aid of Braille instructions, act as the navigators.

In 1979 the Kinsmen completed the renovations of two Calgary residences services housing paraplegics and Down’s syndrome patients. Funds were provided for a carpenter to renovate one house to make it suitable for paraplegics. A great deal of the decorating in these 5,000 square foot residences, such as painting and wallpapering, was done by Kinsmen. The total cost of the project was in the vicinity of $45,000.

The club has two major fundraisers, the Skate-a-thon and the Swing into Spring Fashion Show. The Stampede City club has exclusive right to run Skate-a-tons in the City of Calgary and each year thousands of skaters participate in then or eleven different arenas. This results in the club grossing approximately $150,000, The Skate-a-thon proceeds in the past helped to pay for the three arenas. Swing into Spring is for the ladies only. During National Secretaries Week, the Kinsmen contact the various city employers to sell them $35 tickets for female employees. Included in the evening’s entertainment are drinks, dinner, a fashion show and some appropriate “for ladies only” entertainment. The proceeds from the evening are directed to the Cystic Fibrosis research fund.

The Stampede City club has employed other fund raisers such as bingos, fall stags, raffles, beer fests and the Kinsmen Kitchen food booth at the Stampede.

Zone, District and National participation increased greatly in the seventies. The club sponsored four Deputy Governors; Terry Lawrence, Norm Asmundson, Larry Jorgenson and Bing Rundquist. Bing was elected as Vice-Governor at the 1979 Convention in Red Deer after the untimely assassination of opponent Sturdley Thrunch of Edson.

The club won zone curling, hockey, golf and public speaking competitions on various occasions, won the Founders Public Speaking Award in 1975, the District Bulletin Award in 1978 and an Outstanding President’s Award. Stampede City co-hosted World Council in 1977 with Calgary and Foothills City Kinsmen Clubs and will be hosting the District Convention in 1981.

The club has five life members, Doug Harding, Ray McCorquodale, Stan Sim, Ernie Kitzel and Mickey Boyle. It has various club awards, the Fellowship Trophy, Executive-of-the-Year and Kinsmen-of-the-Year Trophy.

The Stampede City Kinettes were chartered on June 26, 1965 with a membership of seventeen. It started out as a social club but after two years decided to become active. By 1979 the club had a history of helping Kin with their functions, conducting successful find raising projects, serving their community and participating in the National Kin organization.

The first fund raiser the girls put on was a box social and their first attempt at auxiliary work was helping Kin with a car award.

After a successful hard times party in the year two the streak of good luck was smudged with their third attempt at raising funds. The Kinettes were in charge of supplying the food for the teen dance at the first Kin Tree Carnival. And supply food they did as enough hot dogs were cooking on the stove to feed the expected 2,000 kids. But only 300 showed up with the result that there was more than a little munching on hot dogs at the wind up party held after the festival.

As each year passed more fund raisers were added such as auctions, bake sales, bottle drives and parties. Diverging somewhat from the usual Kinette fund raisers, during the seventies the Stamped City girls have been involved in taking inventory at the Bay. They have also stocked shelves for a Super S Store and acted as hostesses on opening day.

In 1976 a fur fashion show was held with the proceeds going to the Girl Guide Camp Jubilee. Also that year proceeds from a junk auction went into the World Council fund. The girls have held benefit bowls for Cystic Fibrosis and have generated funds through the Stampede food booth and also by preparing sandwiches for the annual Skate-a-thon participants.

The girls annually give away a Christmas hamper to a needy family, make layettes for the Unitarian Service Committee and hold regular teas and bingos, and up until 1978, exercise programs at the Chinook Nursing Home. For the fiftieth anniversary year, fifty children’s books were donated to schools in Calgary.

For entertainment the girls have mixed socials with Kinsmen, annual birthday parties, and past president’s nights. They sporadically partake in mischief making, such as stealing gavels, gongs and other paraphernalia form Kinsmen and other Kinette Clubs, or dressing up in 1920 bathing suits at National Conventions.

They have been active in the Association by raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis research, donating to National projects, and have also provided the Zone with two Co-ordinators, Myrna Marcinowski and Lorrie McClocklin. In addition the Freewheelers Travelling Trophy was donated to the Zone.

These two histories are both accurate, and are both related here. Take your pick. Obviously the Stampede City Club embodies the spirit of Kin, contributing to the needs of the community and providing fun and fellowship while doing so.