News / Blog

Agricultural Roots Honored At BMO Farm Family Awards
July 15, 2013

Calgary – On Monday morning, the Calgary Stampede and BMO Bank of Montreal held the annual Farm Family Awards ceremony and reception at the Palomino Room in the BMO Centre.


Sixteen families, each representing a county or municipal district, gathered together to celebrate the values, heritage and hard work that built, and continues to build, Alberta’s rural communities and agricultural economy.


Each family honoured represents a multi-generational contribution to the health of their community – not just by growing a successful agricultural business, but also by participating in the various inter-related structures that make up a vital rural society.


Naturally, BMO Farm Family Awards honourees exhibit a strong sense of their place in the continuing evolution of agricultural practices, perhaps best voiced by Gary Malyk of Rocky View County, who said, “I feel a responsibility.  I’m here because of the people who were here before me.  There are all kinds of facets to that, like looking after the land and making sure it’s in better shape when I’m done with it.”


The common bond for all who earned a BMO Farm Family Award is their love and passion for what they do.  Farming or ranching is a life like no other and requires character and determination.  According to David Bruketa of the M.D. of Foothills, No. 31, “It facilitates strength of character.  You can’t affect outcomes as much as you learn to adapt to reality and to circumstances.”


Every year, the counties, municipal districts and special areas across southern Alberta – from Red Deer south – nominate one family to receive the BMO Farm Family Award.  This year’s award-winning families gathered at the Stampede on Monday morning for a reception and brunch, a greeting from a representative of the Alberta provincial government, an awards presentation and a family photograph session.  They were also guests of the Stampede at the Rodeo later in the day.


This year’s BMO Farm Family Awards winners were:


Special Areas No. 2:  the Finkbeiner family of Wardlow

County of Lethbridge:  the Atkinson family of Nobleford

Special Areas No. 4:  the Beier family of Altario

Kneehill County:  the Bertsch family of Drumheller

M. D. of Foothills, No. 31:  the Bruketa family of Calgary

County of Newell:  the Spragg family of Rosemary

Wheatland County:  the Pallesen family of Drumheller

County of Warner #5:  the Nelson family of Stirling

M. D. of Taber:  the Zelenka family of Taber

Vulcan County:  the Smith family of Champion

M. D. of Pincher Creek:  the Main family of Pincher Creek

Rocky View County:  the Malyk family of Airdrie

Cardston County:  the Quinton family of Cardston

County of Forty Mile:  the Nelson family of Burdett

M. D. of Willow Creek:  the Doyle family of Fort Macleod

Starland County:  the Russell family of Drumheller


The biographies of all 16 of this year’s BMO Farm Families Awards winners are at:


Photographs are available to interested media outlets.


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The Stampede will be webcasting all events being held in the Big Top this year.  Visit to see live streaming of action from the Big Top.


Agrium Western Event Centre

Scheduled for completion before the 2014 10-day Stampede, the Agrium Western Event Centre is a state-of-the-art facility for western events and agriculture education, exhibition and industry in southern Alberta. Designed to form a lasting connection between urban and rural communities, it will host an engaging, globally-focused educational program called Journey 2050, and it will play a central role in making the Calgary Stampede a year-round gathering place. For more information visit


For more information, please contact:


Megan Gauley                                                 Sharon Yeast

Ag Media Committee Chair                                Agricultural Program Co-ordinator

T 403.232.9087                                              T 403.261.9316

C 587.226.6766                                              C 403.815.4242

F 403.262.3067                                               F 403.262.3067

E                     E




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.


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