HOW TO STAMPEDE

Buckle up. Hold onto your hat. This is the moment you feel the thunder beneath your feet and learn the real meaning of horse power.

THE GREATEST OUTDOOR SHOW ON EARTH

Welcome to the world-famous Calgary Stampede, where more than a century of heritage is distilled into 10 unforgettable action-packed days of music, food, excitement, and the very best of western hospitality. Where a city is so gripped by cowboy fever and festival spirit, you’ll see people two-stepping in the streets. Where country-clad revelers belly up to the bars, eager families tuck into free flapjacks, and Stampede royalty mingle with the real McCoy.

Billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the Calgary Stampede celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2012 and attracts more than one million visitors each July, making it the highest grossing festival in Canada.

The Calgary Stampede is a rodeo, exhibition, fairgrounds, and festival that is celebrated annually. Upcoming dates are:

July 7-16, 2017
July 6 -15, 2018
July 5-14, 2019

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rodeo and the GMC Rangeland Derby
  • TransAlta Grandstand Show
  • Midway
  • Entertainment
  • Bannock Hunting
  • Agriculture
  • Shopping
  • The Stampede Parade
  • A Truly Citywide Celebration

A Truly Citywide Celebration

One of the biggest stories is not just about the organized activities, the venues, or the jam-packed schedule which delights more than a million visitors each year. The entire city transforms for 10 days, getting into the festive spirit, with restaurants and shops painting their windows and decorating their storefronts, corporations hosting parties, families inviting neighbours to BBQs and more than a million people dressed up in their best cowboy-esque duds.

Daily pancake breakfasts have become a family tradition during the Stampede, including that hosted by Chinook Centre Mall, known to attract up to 60,000 in one day.

Rodeo

TransAlta Grandstand Show

Wait for the dust to settle, literally. Plan to stay late because after the last of the chuckwagons have crossed the finish line, you can take in the Calgary Stampede TransAlta Grandstand Show. The Show will be a return to the classic grand spectacle that audiences have loved for decades.  The coast to coast Canadian journey, featuring the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede, boasts timeless musical arrangements and spectacular performances. This energetic group of young performers will shine throughout the evening featuring world-class vocals and precise choreography.  With a star studded line up of feature performers including the Alberta Ballet, premiering their new works on the TransAlta Stage, this upcoming show promises to become a Stampede Classic!

Entertainment

Anchoring the midway are two major music venues, and every year the Stampede plays host to a much anticipated line up of the world’s best country legends, rock royalty, and fresh new talent. Calgary Stampede is one of the largest music festivals in Canada.  Free with admission is access to the Coca Cola Stage where teens and adults take in evening performances. The over-18 crowd packs the house at Nashville North, a popular, fully-licensed tent and stage. The Saddledome arena is sold out every year for headliners like Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean. For emerging talent, The Stampede Talent Search provides performers the chance to be discovered, as country artist Paul Brandt would attest.

Midway

You’ll also see the fireworks if you’re taking in the lights, sounds, and energy of the Midway after dark, which is open from 11 a.m. until midnight every evening. Day or night, the Midway is the place to be for adrenaline junkies who want to be spun, slingshot, dipped, or twisted by some of the most extreme rides.

For those who prefer skills to thrills, there are plenty of colourful ways to whack, shoot, and score your way across the fairgrounds and take home a prize playing your favourite games. The Great Funtier also offers 26 rides and games perfect for pint-sized cowpoke, as part of an extensive line-up of children’s and family-friendly programming.

calgary_stampede_carousal

Rodeo and the GMC Rangeland Derby

At the heart of the festivities is the Calgary Stampede Rodeo, the richest tournament-style rodeo in the world, with more than $2-million in prize money at stake. Twenty thousand fans pack the stands and hold their breath as top international competitors ride, rope, and wrestle their way into the record books. Millions more tune into the televised coverage broadcast across the country.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat for the grit, sweat, and thrills of bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc and bareback riding — the six central rodeo disciplines. After grueling preliminaries, finalists face off in the highly anticipated Showdown Sunday, where go-for-broke performances are rewarded with coveted championship status and $100,000 each, making the day rodeo’s richest afternoon.

As day turns to evening, the thundering of hooves signals the start of the world’s premier chuckwagon race, the GMC Rangeland Derby (dubbed the “half mile of hell.”) ”The chucks” feature 36 drivers, 216 horses, and their teams of outriders all vying for more than $1.15-million in prize money.

Agriculture

The Agrium Western Event Centre is the new heart and home of agriculture on Stampede Park. True to its roots, the Agrium showcases agriculture in one of its impressively large rooms, expanding more than 20,000 sq. ft., which holds signature programs that feature adorable animals, fun showcases, and western events. The Canadian Miniature Horse Show is one such event, which is hosted in the technologically-advanced Agrium. Agriculture events are also held over the Stampede in the Scotiabank Saddledome. Take for instance the Cowboy Up Challenge where lights, music and demanding obstacles are set up to test the horsemanship of real cowboys – a fun event for all ages!

Bannock Hunting

Since the Stampede’s inception in 1912, Indian Village has been a cornerstone of the Calgary Stampede, sharing First Nations culture with the world. Five tribes of the Treaty 7 – the Tsuu T’ina, Piikani, Stoney, Kainai and Siksika – create “Indian Village” on the banks of the Elbow River in the southern section of Stampede Park. Be there as tipis are erected, pow wows are conducted, arts and craftsmanship displayed, and dazzling native costumes, dances, and traditions are presented.

Each year, an Indian Princess is selected from one of the five nations to represent the Treaty 7 as part of the Stampede’s royalty. Dressed in her authentic regalia, the Indian Princess joins two other Princesses and a Stampede Queen to be ambassadors for the event locally and worldwide.

Shopping

The Stampede Market boasts more than 14,000 sq.ft. of enclosed shopping space for a little, or a lot of, retail therapy. More than 200 vendors are in place for you to browse, and is nestled coolly inside the BMO Centre. The Market sells everything from western furniture to extremely unique health and beauty products. Visitors can also enter a sweepstakes lottery for a chance to win either a dream home or many other prizes including cars, cash and more. In the past 10 years more than $2-million has been raised and distributed back into the community. The Market is open 11 am to 11 pm, daily, for your shopping needs or just to escape the hot sun. But don’t forget right next door to the pop-up-retail space is a beautiful Western Oasis where you can taste different wines, view western art masterpieces, or just sit in the lush gardens that are surrounded by fountains – a place where creativity abounds

The Stampede Parade

Scheduled for just before 9 a.m. on the Friday kick off of the Stampede, downtown streets are shut down, employees are forgiven for being late, and fans line the bleacher-flanked core. Arrive early, in your cowboy best. Tucked in with other friendly waving spectators, expect to see marching bands, more than 150 floats, First Nations dancers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in uniform, and cowboy clowns for fun.

The big question on Parade Day is always “who is serving as parade marshal?”.  Previous marshals have included show business, sports, and political heavy weights. Would you believe Walt Disney, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby? Christopher Reeve, Rick Hansen, and Roy Rogers? And while royal favs Prince William and Duchess Kate participated in 2011, it was Prince Charles who got to lead the procession in 1977.

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