Calgary, Alberta is home to the Calgary Stampede, ten-day rodeo and agricultural
exhibition held the second week of July each year that bills itself “the Greatest Outdoor
Show on Earth”.
The first Stampede was held in 1912 and attracted almost 40.000 visitors its first year, far
more than anyone expected. Attendance at the 2006 Stampede was a record-breaking
1.26 million people. Stampede organizers recommend that anyone who wants to attend
the event make reservations well in advance.
The Stampede is famous for its chuck-wagon race, reminiscent of the races cowhands
would have in celebration at the end of long trail rides. Other rodeo events include pro
and novice bareback competitions, bull riding, saddle bronco riding, both pro and novice,
barrel racing, wild pony racing, and several roping events.
Not even nightfall slows down the Stampede. When the sun sets, visitors enjoy the
nightly Grandstand Show, a pageant that features Canadian performers and changes every
year. Each evening, stages all over Calgary light up with performances from country
music stars, comedians, dancers, and more.
The Stampede’s Midway keeps growing, too, and now averages over 30 adult rides and
20 kids-only rides each year. Midway guests can test their skill in one of 20 or more
games. When they get hungry, attendees can find refreshment at one of the dozens of
food and beverage vendors—and that is just on the Midway!
Agricultural events have been part of the Stampede since it merged with the Calgary
(Agricultural) Exhibition in 1932. Aggie Days is a family-friendly look at how milk gets
from cow to table and wool from sheep to sweater plus other fun activities for kids.
One of the Stampede’s best-known events is the Caravan Breakfast. Each morning of the
Stampede, a group of dedicated volunteers puts out a free breakfast for Stampede
attendees, a tradition going back over 80 years.