Alta. woman wins Stampede poster contest

Rebecca Shuttleworth said she wanted her competition entry of a woman and a horse to salute women in agriculture

For fifth generation rancher Rebecca Shuttleworth, winning the Stampede poster competition was the honour of a lifetime for a young artist.

Combining her love of western art and life on the ranch, she answered the call for the first Stampede poster competition, which received submissions from more than 100 young people. Her winning entry of a young woman on horseback in chalk pastel earned her a $10,000 scholarship.

The Calgary Stampede has traditionally commissioned an established artist but decided to open a competition for young Alberta artists from 15 to 24.

The poster is used to promote the western festival and is also considered a work of art.

Shuttleworth recently graduated with a diploma in agronomy from the University of Saskatchewan and has moved back to the family’s mixed farm at Balzac, Alta., where they raise about 160 purebred Charolais and manage grain land.

She won a $2,000 scholarship in the youth art competition in 2014 and has competed in Summer Synergy, a week of livestock events for young people held in conjunction with the Stampede.

“The Stampede has been good to me,” she said.

While she has received commissions and sold work as a teenager and university student, the Stampede offered her the greatest challenge.

She applied in October 2017 and all the artists had to go through a selection process with interviews and drafts of their poster proposals. That narrowed down to 30 and then eight people. The final group was eligible for scholarship money.

“Every kid should apply for this competition,” she said.

“There is nothing else like it that gives you the publicity and this much scholarship money.”

She had six weeks to complete the submission while she was studying for final exams and working full time.

She often works from photographs, and for this piece selected one from photographer Samantha Callioux of Wildwood, Alta., who created the original image of a young woman on horseback with long blond hair. Many ask if the work is a self portrait, but Shuttleworth’s greater intention was to salute women in agriculture.

“I think my pieces are good because I have lived every moment of them, and then people who are in the industry can feel that,” she said.

The original artwork becomes the property of the Stampede. More than 30,000 prints are made and the image appears on rodeo and chuck wagon tickets and other promotional items.

That kind of publicity for a young person is priceless and for someone like Shuttleworth, who wants to farm and be an artist, this is a step in the right direction. She has heard from a California gallery that is considering displaying some of her work, which opens doors to further sales through her personal website and word of mouth advertising for commissions.

Young artists are invited to consider applying by Nov. 30, 2019, to be the 2021 poster artist. For more information, visit

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