Once a year, Calgary, Alberta, Canada is home to what is fondly referred to as “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.” The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede is a volunteer driven event that occurs every year in July. To kick off the event, more than 350 000 people gather on 4.5 km of sidewalks to watch the Calgary Stampede Parade, which is also the biggest parade in Canada. In all, approximately 1.2 million people will attend the many events included in the ten day exhibition.
Although rodeos and fairs occurred throughout Western Canada for many years prior to the start of the stampede, the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede started in 1912 thanks to the Wild West entertainer Guy Weadick. Guided by his dreams of keeping the pas alive, he set up and produced the show. He is also credited with the invention of the controversial chuckwagon races as well as other activities associated with the main event. The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede has been running under its official name since 1923.
The rodeo portion of the stampede includes a wide variety of events that allow cowboys and cowgirls show their skill and with $60 000 divided among the winners and a cool $1M on the line for “Showdown Sunday,” the competition is shine to anyone’s buckle. Besides the exciting bronc riding and bull riding, there is also steer wrestling, and roping. Designed specifically for the kiddie cowboys, there are wild pony races as well.
Besides the exhilarating rodeo competition, there are several other activities and attractions included in the Calgary Stampede. The agricultural show highlights world-renowned informational displays on different agricultural practices as well as show animals.
As travelers and Calgarians attend the many shows and events around the city, the Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses mingle with the crowds and helping to represent the show. To end the exhibition, a Las Vegas style show called the Grandstand Show is accompanied by a fantastic fireworks display.
For Calgarians and travelers alike, it is no surprise that the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede is known as the “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.” If the stampede itself doesn’t have what you are looking for, almost every business in town has something special in honor of the stampede. Shops and stores hold fantastic sales, the midway is full of exhilarating rides, and the nightlife is spectacular. The stampede is easily one of the best events in Canada.
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