Special edition Victory Stampede coin designed by Calgary artist 

A Calgary artist’s sketch of a star cowboy competing at the stampede a century ago is etched into the Royal Canadian Mint’s latest collector coin.

2019 coin features image of cowboy who won the roping event back in 1919

The silver collector coin, which has some gold plated elements, costs $119.95. (Royal Canadian Mint)

A Calgary artist's sketch of a star cowboy competing at the Stampede a century ago is etched into the Royal Canadian Mint's latest collector coin.

The silver coin was unveiled at Stampede Park on Thursday, on the eve of the Victory Stampede Parade. 

The design has been a year in the making for local equine-artist Michelle Grant. 

This Victory Stampede was the second-ever Calgary Stampede. (Royal Canadian Mint)

"It's a cowboy who won the roping event back in 1919 and he's galloping really hard on his horse to the right with his [lasso]," Grant said. 

The Victory Stampede of 1919 marked the first Stampede after the First World War. 

When Canadian soldiers returned home, Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick saw an opportunity to celebrate the win and showcase a rodeo. 

The American-Canadian banded together with other cowboys and farmers to plan a special event that would boost morale in Alberta. 

An equine-artist from the city 

The Mint reached out to Grant about the opportunity to design the coin. 

While she doesn't have a ranching or farming background, she has designed several coins with horses on them before.

"I find the permanency of a coin very gratifying and that it's a very portable piece of art. People can admire and anybody can afford it," she said. 

Grant was hooked on horses after meeting a steed with "beautiful ears" who towered over her when she attended the Calgary Stampede as a kid. 

"I remember this cowboy on his big chestnut horse and I went, 'Oh look, that animal's most beautiful thing I've ever seen' — as only a toddler can do," she said. 

Attention to detail

Grant said she did "a lot of research" while designing the coin to make sure it represents the time period.

"I tried to stay historically accurate by putting the same outfit on the cowboy. The tack and saddle is very historic and accurate," she said, adding she also drew the original grandstand in the background. 

Using archive photos of the Victory Stampede, Grant also drew an original lariat — cowboy lingo for a lasso. She drew the exact number of strands in the braid that she saw in photos. 

Grant also wanted to convey movement in the inanimate object. 

This year's stampede runs Jul. 5 through July 14. (The Canadian Press)

"There had to have that sense of the next compulsion, the next stride in the gallop and [the cowboy] with his hand up in the air," she said. 

"There's a lot of movement in it and excitement and I can only imagine how those people felt 100 years ago watching." 

With files from CBC's Homestretch


Maggie Macintosh is a 2019 CBC Joan Donaldson Scholar. She has done multimedia reporting for the CBC in Toronto and Calgary.