The Calgary Stampede
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
As every Calgarian knows, summer in Calgary is Stampede time! The Calgary Stampede is an annual ten-day rodeo exhibition and western heritage celebration at the city's 23-acre Stampede Park. It attracts more than one million visitors every year and contributes $345 million to Alberta's economy. In 2015, the Calgary Stampede runs from July 3 – 12.
What is the Calgary Stampede?
The first Calgary Stampede was held in September 1912 as a week-long rodeo competition supported by wealthy Albertan Ranchers known as the Big Four. It wasn’t until they joined forces with the Exhibition in 1923 that it began to transform into the spectacular event we know and love today. It evolved into a rodeo and western festival during the first quarter of the 20th century with popular music headliners joining the entertainment line-up in the 1950s.
Don't-miss Rodeo highlights
The rodeo is by far the biggest draw for visitors from here and abroad. There are a few things you might not know about the greatest attractions at the Calgary Stampede...
The Calgary Stampede offers over $2 million in prize money, the largest winnings for an outdoor rodeo in the world. The winner of each of the six major disciplines walks off with $100,000 each. The major disciplines are:
- Barrel racing
- Bareback riding
- Bull riding
- Saddle bronc
- Steer wrestling
- Tie down roping
The competitors in each major discipline compete for places in the final for seven days, usually from Friday to Friday. The losers get a last opportunity to compete for wildcard spots in the final on Saturday. The last Sunday is the big event, when the champions are crowned.
In addition to the major disciplines, there are several novice competitions that showcase the talents of ranchers of a variety of age groups and skill levels, but they are not eligible to compete for the big prize.
The rodeo wouldn't be the same without one of its biggest attraction: the Rangeland Derby - a harrowing 36-team chuckwagon racing competition.
- After you take in the rodeo, head down to the Agricultural Festival and see what life is like in today’s wild west. Features include everything from livestock, miniature donkey and dog exhibitions, to food production displays and the popular vintage tractor pull.
- The Indian village is an opportunity for indigenous Canadians to showcase their lifestyle. Discover how a traditional tipi is built, learn how to live off the land and witness cultural dances. It is one of the most organic and colourful experiences you will have this summer.
- If you need a break from the July heat, head inside to the Stampede Market at the BMO Centre. Every year, hundreds of vendors gather under one roof to present a vast array of food, drink, artwork and household items.
- No visit to the Calgary Stampede is complete without the Midway experience. Featuring hundreds of rides and carnival games, it is the perfect place for kids to get their thrills, and for adults to unleash your inner child.
- What would a party be without entertainment? There is always something happening on the Calgary Stampede’s three stages:
- Nashville North is one of the most popular stages on the Stampede grounds, with people lining up for hours to get through the doors. Featuring live country music from open ‘til close, it is the place to be for the 18+ crowd.
- The Coca-Cola Stage offers free entertainment for the duration of the Stampede. From children’s performers to must-see musical groups there is something for everyone on this stage.
- The Virgin Mobile Concert Series’ full-blown concerts are a Calgary Stampede highlight and pack enough punch to blow the roof of the Saddledome.
What to look forward to at this year’s Calgary Stampede!
- Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean and Stevie Wonder will be headlining the Virgin Mobile Concert Series.
- Every year, the creative food vendors add new must-try snacks to their menus. This year, indulge in a $100 dragon dog, some red velvet chicken fingers, mini donut popsicles and a foot-long pizza dog.
- Enmax is proud to present Cirque Éloize iD: Stampede Edition as the Enmax Corral Show. This modern circus act combines everything from acrobats and jugglers to break dancing.
- The BMO Kids' Zone features the high-flying Acrodunk team back to the Calgary Stampede. After blowing our minds on America's Got Talent, these athletes' tricks have only gotten bigger and better.
- The President's Choice Superdogs are back! With an all-star line-up and a brand new show, these pups will have you laughing and cheering from start to finish.
To start planning your trip to this year’s Calgary Stampede, click here. It really is the greatest outdoor show on earth. You don’t want to miss a second of it.
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