The Calgary Stampede Showriders are taking centre stage this year, bringing their youth, community spirit, and connection to equestrian excellent to the official 2023 Stampede poster.
The painting the poster was created by 22-year-old Alberta University of the Arts graduate Brooklyn Payne. It features bold colours and the realistic-but-not-quite style favoured by Payne, that depicts the Showriders performing a musical ride.
“I really wanted to focus on the show riders and their connection to the horses and that community that they have with each other,” said Payne.
Payne spent time during the summer with the Showriders, visiting their barns and taking in their shows.
“I think a big part is, it’s not really focused on any particular individual—the faces aren’t really distinguishable,” Payne said.
“It’s more focused on that connection between a rider and a horse, or the riders interacting with each other, rather than an individual person. And I think that really emphasizes the point I’m trying to make with it.”
Calgary Stampede First Vice-Chair Will Osler congratulated Payne on winning the Stampede’s Youth Artist Poster Competition.
“To have the 2023 Poster representing the Stampede Showriders, a dynamic team of young equestrians, fits in perfectly with our commitment to supporting youth,” Osler said.
Payne said that the feeling of winning the competition hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
“I still don’t know that it’s completely sunk in, like there’s something surreal about it. I’m just overjoyed to be able to be part of the Stampede and be part of its history in this way,” Payne said.
Competing since high school
Payne has been competing in the annual poster competition since high school, from the first year the Stampede has held the Youth Artist Poster Competition.
“My high school teacher sort of suggested maybe try this out, and I didn’t know what to expect,” they said.
“It’s first year, I didn’t know if my work was good enough get into the top 30, but I kept coming back—I made it top 30 that year and I kept coming back.”
As a result of winning the competition, Payne will be receiving a $10,000 Dustin Peers Memorial Scholarship, alongside part of the $10,000 in scholarship funding provided by the Brandon Flock Foundation to the top eight finalists. Together, it is one of the largest art scholarships in the nation.
Payne said that the goal is now to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts, and make a career from art.
“I’ve always wanted to be an artist and, you know, no matter what I’m gonna be making art whether or not it’s profitable,” Payne said.
“I’m gonna be working at being a better artist, always.”
The Calgary Stampede is now accepting entries for the 2024 poster competition, with a deadline of December 2. Alberta residents aged 15 through 24 are encouraged to apply at corporate.calgarystampede.com/foundation/programs/poster-competition.
The top 30 artists in the competition are given a masterclass workshop by local working artists, and the top eight receive one-on-one mentorship to encourage further artistic development.