Some of us see the Stampede as a place to cut loose have a super fun time, but in reality, it is so much more than that. It is a celebration of the unique western culture that was, is, and will be Calgary in the years to come.
Strip away the concerts, shows, rides, games, and everything else you’ll find at the Stampede, and you’re left with a rich history going back more than a century.
Did You Know?
- The very first show took place in September of 1912 and lasted only six days.
- Over 100,000 people attended the first Stampede.
- The first rodeo awarded $20,000 to competitors.
- In 1912, more than 2000 aboriginal peoples led the Calgary Stampede parade in full ceremonial attire.
- Women were allowed to compete in fancy roping, bronc riding and trick riding in the first Stampede. Today they can only compete in barrel racing.
- Guy Weadick, the main driving force behind the show in its early years, led the Stampede’s operations for 20 years.
- Weadick couldn’t have done it without A.E. Cross, A.J. MacLean, Pat Burns and George Lane, the “Big Four” businessmen who contributed $100,000 to the first show.
- The very first show generated approximately $120,000 in economic benefit, making it a great success!
- In 1923, the first free Stampede breakfast was held at a campsite just outside the Canadian Pacific Railway station close to downtown Calgary. Jack Morton, a chuck wagon driver, invited his loved ones and visitors to enjoy free pancakes at the camp, creating a tradition that still exists today!
- The same year (1923) was the first year where chuck wagons were used in the Calgary Stampede parade.
- The greatest outdoor show on Earth didn’t become an annual event until 1923.
- The Stampede has its own Queen and princesses. In 1946, Patsy Rodgers became the first Calgary Stampede Princess. In modern times, one queen, two princesses and one aboriginal princess are appointed to represent the show at various events around the city.
- By 1950, 7 movie productions had filmed scenes at the Calgary Stampede.
- In 1959 the Big Four Building, named after the “Big Four” businessmen who helped fund the Stampede in its early stages, officially opened.
- The daily Grandstand Show began in 1964 that included the Calgary Kidettes, a group of young performers who would evolve into well-known and talented Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede.
- It was in 1968 when the show officially became longer – a 10 day event instead of 6.
Kick up your boots, enjoy a bannock picnic or some of the 34 new and unique food offerings (including sweet grasshopper popsicles), and take in the entertainment!