Stampede and Calgary: A Love Affair

For young professionals in the city, Calgary Stampede is as much about the chucks and rodeo as it is the networking and never-ending events. Love it or hate it, for ten days (officially) every July, the Stampede takes over the city. We don our cowboy hats and boots and take part in the western spirit and fun. This year is especially exciting as it marks the 100-year Centennial of the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” But do you know the origins of the Stampede?

In 1912, an American Wild West performer in the vaudeville circuit named Guy Weadick, and livestock agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway, H.C. McMullen, organized the first Stampede rodeo and festival.

In order to make this a reality, they gained financial support from the Big Four (we all know the Big Four Building on the grounds) – George Lane, owner of the Bar U Ranch; two other wealthy ranchers, Patrick Burns and A. E. Cross; and Archie Maclean, provincial secretary. That first year there was $20,000 in championship money and world championship titles up for grabs, which brought in riders from all over North America to compete.

In 1923 this festival became an annual event when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. 

Since then it has grown into one of the world’s richest rodeos and one of Canada’s largest festivals. The city welcomes over a million visitors, who come from all over the world to enjoy all that the Stampede has to offer.

If you are down on the grounds there is the midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon races, rodeo events, and the First Nations exhibitions to check out and enjoy. 

But what is really amazing for Calgary, locals, and visitors, is how the entire city gets involved. It doesn’t really seem to matter where you are, you can probably find a pancake breakfast and people walking the streets in cowboy hats. 

If you are looking for one of the rowdier events, there are various tents, and going-on throughout the city’s centre and various events happening at Fort Calgary, Prince’s Island Park and at most restaurants, pubs and bars.

So no matter what event or venue you choose to saunter into, as a YP we think sharing the history of the Stampede is sure to impress.