Hot off the Grill

The pictures are of the cafeteria which was located in the Ag Building during the 1970s - I’m not sure if it was before or after Security and Dispatch were located there. 

The first picture is of my Aunt Katie and dear friend Elsie (they were the cooks who worked at the cafeteria for many years.) Elsie (tall, with dark hair) lived most of her life in Victoria Park and lived there until her passing in the 80s.

The other photo is of my girlfriend Rhonda and me - we bussed tables, did cash and on lucky days were able to work behind the grill! (And I have to tell you, I made a mean pancake). I worked there for two to three years while I was attending school.

One particular event comes to mind. We were working in the cafeteria during an agriculture event. Our food preparation room was between the cafeteria and the back hallway in the Ag Building. The back door was left open and a cow wandered through into the cafeteria. (Legend has it that it might have been a bull...).

We screamed.

I’m not sure who was most scared… the cow or our team behind the counter. It scrambled frantically behind the grill; it looked almost like it was trying to jump on.  After it realized the grill was a dead end (pardon the pun), it turned around and was trying to get through our swinging doors into the main cafeteria when the cowboys who were eating breakfast jumped to action. Several of them worked feverishly to calm the animal and guide it back into the barn.

You can imagine the topic of conversation for several days to come was “hot off the grill!”

In keeping with the ‘full circle’ nature of Stampede life (after all, it’s now the Grill Café), my career with the Stampede continues.  I worked the first year that the Boys and Girls Club provided cleaning support during Stampede time and we actually worked a midnight shift. I then worked part-time for a few years during Stampede in the midway cash office and started back regularly on Stampede Park in January 1988 for the Olympics.

Linda McIntyre and Sharon Garnett hired me to work in the Corral concession office and I haven’t looked back since.

Rita Beauchamp
Customer Relations Manager, Sales and Event Management
Calgary Stampede