Paul McKay's prized family heirloom is 1962 Central Alberta Stampede Association trophy leather saddle that was also used in a Calgary Stampede rodeo event.

CALGARY — A $1,000 reward is up for grabs for anyone who can help return a family heirloom stolen from a northwest Calgary garage earlier this month.

The missing item is a 1962 Central Alberta Stampede Association trophy leather saddle.

Paul McKay’s grandfather, Charlie McKay, wasn’t a rider but was heavily involved in horse racing and sponsored a chuckwagon. He passed the saddle down to his son, who passed it on again.

“I feel a little bit naive to have had it somewhere that was more vulnerable but definitely a lesson learned,” said McKay.

McKay said the saddle went missing sometime between Oct. 10 to Oct. 16 from a detached garage he temporarily rented for storage along 22nd Street N.W. in the community of West Hillhurst. He said the side door had been pried open.

“I had the saddle in a hockey bag at the back and it had dawned on me that was gone,” said McKay, who said the storage unit is only needed until he and his wife move into their new home next week.

“It makes me sick to my stomach and furious at the same time. I just hope that we can find it, it's a pretty unique piece so getting rid of it won’t be easy and we’ll never stop looking for it.”

Calgary police said the break-in was reported.

Earlier this month, police issued a warning following an increase of residential robberies throughout the city, with a 51 per cent increase in break-and-enters in the first seven months of the year compared to the five-year average.

McKay said he’s now taking security seriously, including for storage spaces.

“If you do that inventory and find something that you wouldn’t want to live without, then you should probably be taking some steps to secure it. I know that sounds like common sense but until something like this happens, you may not have learned the lesson,” said McKay.

“I’m offering $1,000 for any information that leads to its recovery,” said McKay. “If someone calls me and says I’ve got your saddle you can send me proof of it, I would honour that reward no questions asked.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.