Stampede Poster winner, Rebecca Shuttleworth

CS 2019 Poster FINAL

The 2019 Calgary Stampede is quickly approaching, and for Balzac resident Rebecca Shuttleworth, this Stampede is extra special. Shuttleworth, whose grandfather is Three Hills resident Dave Matus, was chosen as the winner of the 2019 Calgary Stampede poster design contest.

Prior to 2019, the Stampede poster has been commissioned out to an established artist, chosen by the Stampede President. This year, for the first time, it is a competition including a memorial scholarship in honour of President Dana Peers’ late son. The $20,000 scholarship is distributed amongst the top eight finalists. Applicants must be Alberta residents, between the ages of 15-24.

In October 2017 Rebecca applied for the competition, which included the submission of a few pieces of art, as well as a write-up about herself. In March 2018, Rebecca found out that she had been named one of the top 30 contestants. The top 30 participated in a workshop, completed a sketch on the spot, were interviewed, and were asked to submit their idea for the Stampede poster. Two months later, Rebecca found herself among the top eight, which meant more meetings and interviews, as well as receiving a critique of the piece she had submitted. The eight remaining contestants were asked to submit their final drafts for judging. Rebecca found out in September 2018 that she had won the competition, and the results were unveiled to the public in October 2018.

Rebecca has been interested in art her whole life, colouring and drawing as a child, then decided to take it more seriously at 12 years old. She took lessons for three years with her first teacher, then with her high school art teacher in Airdrie. While she draws anything and everything, her forte is Western art. Rebecca grew up on her family’s fourth generation grain and cattle farm east of Balzac. She says “Western art hits home for me…I’ve lived every moment of those pieces in one way or another.”

Shuttleworth’s poster choice stems from her desire to salute women in western culture. “We kind of had free reign on what we wanted to do on the poster…I was quite competitive about this, so I thought, if I was going to create the piece that was on the poster it has to stand out and it has to be different. What I did was I researched and I looked up all the other posters that have been done for the past 100 years, and there has hardly ever been a poster of a woman, so I decided that is what I wanted to do.” Rebecca found a photograph to use as a reference photo, and asked the photographer’s permission to draw from it. Although Shuttleworth recognizes that men have an important role to play, she says, “I think that the Stampede does represent the past, present, and future, and it was time for them to have a female role take the lead.”

The Calgary Stampede organizers seem to really be celebrating the movement Shuttleworth has inspired and she says “the message behind this poster is really resonating, more than I could ever have dreamed, because now they are making everything female themed. There’s more female entries in the stampede parade, more female demonstrations, including ladies side-saddle racing.” Another exciting result of her poster is that women are starting to wear roses in their hats, like the woman in the picture, to salute women in the industry. The movement, Shuttleworth says, has “really taken off more than I could have imagined. They wanted to keep going with that message.” This competition has also been a great way for her art to be recognized, as she’s already received calls from people asking to buy her artwork, which has been very exciting.

Shuttleworth has been invited to participate in various aspects of the Stampede celebrations. She will be in the parade, will make a grandstand entry on horseback at the start of the rodeo, and will be interviewed on the grandstand stage during the chuckwagons. She will also be speaking at the La Due Ladies Lunch, an event in honour of Flores Weadick, who, with her husband Guy, founded the Stampede. It will be an exciting week for Shuttleworth who says, “I think they’re really happy with how the poster turned out, they’re spoiling me a lot!” The Calgary Stampede runs from July 5-14.