Guide to the Calgary Stampede Festival in Canada

by Jules on June 24, 2013

The annual rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede is held this year on 5 July 2013 in Calgary in Canada’s Alberta province. Held each July, the festival runs for 10 days and has been nicknamed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

History of the Stampede

The Calgary Stampede has been ongoing since 1912. It began as a rodeo and then in 1919 a Victory Stampede section was added in recognition of the World War I soldiers. Eventually these events combined with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition and were renamed the ‘Calgary Exhibition and Stampede’. Now it is known world-wide as the Calgary Stampede. The event hosts a rodeo, exhibition and festival and is organized by the efforts of thousands of willing volunteers. Annual attendance averages around 1.2 million visitors.

Calgary Stampede Events

Rodeo – The Stampede rodeo is the biggest rodeo in the world and boasts the largest payout for event winners. The competitions include barrel racing, bull riding, saddle broncing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, and bareback riding. Nearly 20,000 people attend the rodeo each night.

Chuck-Wagon Racing – Chuck-wagon racing was added to the Stampede in 1923 when local ranchers were encouraged to enter their wagons and drivers to race for money. It is the largest attraction of the Stampede and people cheer on 36 teams that race over a half-mile of ground.

Grandstand Show – Each night of the Stampede there is show featuring different entertainers. It features 5 different genres of music so there is something for everyone.

Parade – The parade is the official start of the Stampede and is held at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of the event. Parade Marshalls are chosen each year and scores of marching bands, horses and floats march in the parade. Some of the more famous parade marshalls include Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Prince Charles, and the Queen of England.

Agricultural Show – The agricultural show and competitions make up a large portion of the event. There are over 1,000 exhibitors each year to teach people about Canada’s agricultural and ranching heritage. There are also competitions such as horse cutting, black smith competitions, stock dog showing, and team penning.

Location – The event is held in Stampede Park which is in southeast Calgary. It features the Saddledome and Corral, Big Four Building, the BMO Centre, the Stampede Grandstand and other smaller buildings. Several attempts have been made to move the location, yet it still stands where the first event took place over 100 years ago. Some of these buildings were used during the Calgary Winter Olympics. In addition to the Stampede, these buildings host over 1,000 other events each year.

By Julie Bowman

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