For many Calgarians, no Stampede is complete without a pancake breakfast or an evening at the Grandstand taking in the chuckwagon races, and it was the same man who brought us both.
The co-founder of the Gleishan Stampede, “Wild Horse” Jack Morton was recruited by Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick in 1923 to liven up the Calgary event, and that he did.
The legendary cowboy’s grandson, also named Jack, is in town taking in the event’s centenary.
He describes his grandfather as somewhat of a thrill-seeker who loved racing his cart everywhere he went, even if it was just a trip to the store, and his affinity for racing around in his cart is regarded by many to have been the seed that blossomed into modern chuckwagon racing.
Morton says he got a particular kick out of racing down 9th Avenue in his cart and having breakfast on the way.
“Halfway down 9th Avenue, he would take the chuckwagon oven out, start a fire, and they’d start making breakfast,” says Morton. “He was that kind of person, whose joy was to do something interesting and different and involve as many people as he could.”
This became tradition, embodied by the contemporary pancake breakfasts we now enjoy.