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What To Do In Calgary Stampede

by CiCi
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The Calgary Stampede is one of Canada’s most iconic and exhilarating festivals, drawing over a million visitors each year. Known as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the Stampede is a celebration of Western heritage, culture, and community spirit. From rodeos and chuckwagon races to concerts and parades, the Calgary Stampede offers a diverse array of activities and experiences for attendees of all ages. This article will providea comprehensive guide on what to do at the Calgary Stampede, ensuring you make the most of this spectacular event.

Rodeo Events

One of the highlights of the Calgary Stampede is the rodeo, which features some of the best cowboys and cowgirls from around the world. The rodeo events are divided into six major categories: bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, and tie-down roping. Each event showcases the skills and bravery of the participants as they compete for prize money and prestigious titles.

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Bareback Riding

Bareback riding is a thrilling and physically demanding event where riders attempt to stay on a bucking horse using only a rigging strap. The riders are judged on their ability to maintain control and style, while the horse is judged on its bucking performance.

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Bull Riding

Bull riding is one of the most popular and dangerous events at the Stampede. Riders must stay on a bucking bull for eight seconds, using only one hand to hold on. The rider and the bull are both scored, with points awarded for the rider’s technique and the bull’s agility and power.

Barrel Racing

Barrel racing is a fast-paced event primarily featuring female competitors. Riders must navigate their horses around a cloverleaf pattern of barrels as quickly as possible. The event requires speed, precision, and excellent horsemanship.

Steer Wrestling

In steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, a rider jumps from their horse onto a running steer and wrestles it to the ground. This event requires strength, timing, and coordination.

Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle bronc riding is a classic rodeo event where riders use a specialized saddle to stay on a bucking horse. The rider must maintain balance and control while the horse bucks and twists.

Tie-Down Roping

Tie-down roping involves a rider chasing and lassoing a calf from horseback, then dismounting and tying three of the calf’s legs together. This event tests the rider’s roping skills and agility.

Chuckwagon Races

The chuckwagon races are another major attraction at the Calgary Stampede. These high-speed races feature teams of horses pulling authentic chuckwagons around a dirt track. The races are a nod to the historic role of chuckwagons in Western culture, serving as mobile kitchens for cowboys on cattle drives. Each race is a thrilling spectacle, with drivers maneuvering their wagons at breakneck speeds, accompanied by outriders who help manage the horses.

Grandstand Show

The Grandstand Show is a nightly extravaganza that combines music, dance, and pyrotechnics. Held at the end of each day, the show features performances by local and international artists, creating a vibrant and entertaining atmosphere. The show concludes with a spectacular fireworks display, lighting up the Calgary skyline.

Parades

The Calgary Stampede Parade is a must-see event that kicks off the festival. The parade features elaborate floats, marching bands, dancers, and equestrian units. It is a celebration of Calgary’s cultural diversity and Western heritage, attracting spectators from all over the world. The parade route winds through downtown Calgary, offering plenty of vantage points for viewers.

Midway Attractions

The Stampede Midway is a carnival lover’s dream, with a wide array of rides, games, and food vendors. From thrilling roller coasters and Ferris wheels to classic carnival games, the Midway offers fun for all ages. The food options are equally diverse, with traditional fair treats like cotton candy and corn dogs, as well as unique culinary creations like deep-fried butter and bacon-wrapped everything.

Agricultural Exhibits

The Calgary Stampede has deep agricultural roots, and the agricultural exhibits are a testament to this heritage. Visitors can explore livestock barns, watch animal demonstrations, and learn about modern farming practices. The exhibits feature a variety of animals, including cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. There are also interactive displays and activities for children, making it an educational experience for the whole family.

Cultural Exhibitions

The Stampede also celebrates the rich cultural diversity of Calgary and the surrounding regions. The Indian Village, for example, offers a glimpse into the traditions and lifestyles of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Visitors can explore authentic tipis, watch traditional dance performances, and learn about Indigenous art and crafts. The Western Showcase is another cultural highlight, featuring art, music, and culinary demonstrations that showcase Western Canadian culture.

Concerts and Live Music

Music is an integral part of the Calgary Stampede experience. The festival hosts a wide range of concerts and live performances, featuring everything from country and rock to pop and hip-hop. The Coca-Cola Stage, Nashville North, and the Big Four Roadhouse are some of the main venues where visitors can enjoy live music throughout the Stampede. Many performances are free with admission, making it accessible for all attendees.

Shopping and Souvenirs

No visit to the Calgary Stampede is complete without some shopping. The festival offers a variety of vendors selling Western wear, jewelry, artwork, and souvenirs. The BMO Centre hosts the Stampede Market, where visitors can browse and purchase unique items from local and international artisans. It’s a great place to find gifts and mementos to remember your Stampede experience.

Family Fun

The Calgary Stampede is a family-friendly event, with plenty of activities and attractions for children. The Kid’s Zone features rides, games, and interactive exhibits designed specifically for younger visitors. The Agriculture Zone offers hands-on experiences like petting zoos and pony rides. Additionally, the Stampede Talent Search provides a platform for young performers to showcase their skills in music, dance, and other performing arts.

Evening Entertainment

As the sun sets, the Calgary Stampede continues to buzz with activity. In addition to the Grandstand Show, visitors can enjoy a variety of evening entertainment options. The nightly fireworks display is a highlight, offering a dazzling end to a day of festivities. There are also dance halls, bars, and clubs where adults can enjoy live music, dancing, and socializing.

Stampede Spirit

The Calgary Stampede is more than just a festival; it’s a celebration of community and spirit. The event brings together people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of camaraderie and pride in Western heritage. The Stampede’s commitment to giving back to the community is evident through its numerous charitable initiatives and volunteer programs. Visitors are encouraged to embrace the Stampede spirit by participating in events, supporting local businesses, and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Calgary.

Tips for Attending the Calgary Stampede

To make the most of your Calgary Stampede experience, here are some helpful tips:

  • Plan Ahead: The Stampede is a large and bustling event, so it’s important to plan your visit in advance. Check the schedule of events and make a list of the activities you want to see and do.
  • Dress Appropriately: Embrace the Western theme by wearing cowboy boots, hats, and comfortable clothing. The weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for both hot days and cool evenings.
  • Arrive Early: Popular events and attractions can get crowded, so arrive early to secure a good spot. This is especially important for the parade and rodeo events.
  • Stay Hydrated: The Stampede grounds can get hot, especially in July. Make sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks in shaded areas.
  • Try the Food: The Midway offers a wide variety of food options, from classic carnival treats to unique culinary creations. Don’t be afraid to try something new and indulgent.
  • Explore Beyond the Main Grounds: The Stampede extends beyond the main grounds, with events and activities happening throughout Calgary. Take the time to explore the city and experience the local culture.
  • Respect the Animals: The Stampede features many animal-related events and exhibits. Treat the animals with respect and follow any guidelines or rules provided by the organizers.
  • Capture the Memories: Bring a camera or smartphone to capture the excitement and memories of your Stampede experience. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the festival.
  • Have Fun: The Calgary Stampede is all about having fun and celebrating Western heritage. Embrace the spirit of the event, make new friends, and enjoy the diverse array of activities and entertainment.

Conclusion

The Calgary Stampede is a vibrant and dynamic celebration of Western heritage and culture, offering a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages. From thrilling rodeo events and chuckwagon races to lively concerts and cultural exhibitions, there is something for everyone at the Stampede. By planning ahead, embracing the Stampede spirit, and exploring all that the festival has to offer, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience at “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Stampede-goer, the Calgary Stampede is an event that truly captures the heart and soul of Canada.

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