Perfect weather, live entertainment, plenty of activities, and a mighty fine pancake breakfast; there was no better way to kick off the 2023 Lions Labour Day Long Weekend Rodeo.

The Sept. 1 event saw the Stockmen's Memorial Foundation and Cochrane Lions team up to make the morning special.

"It was a great day," says Stockmen's executive director Scott Grattidge. "The weather turned out perfect and people could come and kind of get primed up and ready for the rodeo action this weekend."

"We wanted to have more than a regular pancake breakfast, so we were able to tie in the history. The Stockmen's is all about commemorating and honoring the builders of the livestock industry."

One of those people was Jack Morton, who is credited with creation of the original Calgary Stampede Breakfast 100 years ago.

"Wildhorse" Jack's granddaughter Brenda Joyce Leahy recently released the children's book "Flip Flop Flapjack" to tell the story of how the Stampede tradition came about. She teamed up with illustrator Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle.

They combined to present readings and drawing lessons. Copies of the book were also autographed.

"It's been received really well,' says Leahy. "Everybody loves their pancake breakfast, so it's been an easy sell. I think people love a story of how something began and the 100th anniversary brings more attention to it."

Already a published author, Leahy said this was her first children's book.

"There are other books out about Wildhorse Jack. Grant McEwan wrote an entire biography on him, and there are lots of other local history books that talk about him, but I wanted to bring his story to the children."

Leahy says they've held similar events since the book's release, but it's the first time she's participated in the drawing workshop. She says she was successful in drawing a horse but will stick to writing.

Carmen Erison, Cochrane Municipal Library program and engagement manager, was there to promote the relationship established between the Cochrane Public Library, Stockmen's Library, and the Marigold Library System.

Many of the Stockmen's books and historic documents can now be signed out through the local library. She believes it will help bring more attention to the history of Cochrane, ranching, and livestock with the increased accessibility

Simply go to, then type in the word Stockmen's. A list of the entire collection will pop up.

Found Books also had a booth displaying the vast selection of books available through their store on our Western Heritage.

The Stockmen had its branding cart on site, where people could have their own custom-made brand scorched onto old barn wood. Grattidge says they were starting to run low on wood near the end of the event but squeezed through.

They'll also be offering branding during the rodeo at a cost of $5 each.

Following in the footsteps of the George Fox performance here in January, Grattidge and company were up to more shenanigans with prairie oysters. At the Fox concert, Prairie oysters were the special ingredients in their Greenhorn Cocktail. There, Cochrane Now's Lauren Meister bravely drank one while being cheered on by the packed house.

This time around it was pancakes.

"We'd sprinkled a few Prairie oyster bits that we'd smoked into the pancake and cooked it up. And yeah, they weren't bad."

Community Services director Mitchell Hamm, Cochrane Tourism's Jo-Anne Oucharek, and yours truly were given the honours of tasting the special flapjacks.

The Stockmen's has previously offered outdoor movies to help kick off the rodeo weekend.

Financial support was provided by both the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County.

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, CochraneNow encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the CochraneNow app.