Yaahoooo…It’s the Calgary Stampede!

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    elcome to the Calgary Stampede. With $100,000-prize rodeos, unrivaled chuckwagon races, First Nations exhibitions, the two-and-a-half-mile opening parade, and over one million visitors in 10 days - it's the greatest outdoor show on earth.

    Endless crowds at the Calgary Stampede
    Endless crowds at the Calgary Stampede. Credit City News Calgary

    According to the Stampede’s official website, the first stampede was held in 1912, making the event 111 years old this year. The idea of an outdoor exhibition, however, began with the establishment of the Calgary and District Agricultural Society in 1884 which held its first fair for farmers and ranchers in 1886 - the Stampede is still very much about farmers, herders, and the aboriginals...

    Denim, boots, hats, rodeos, bucking broncos…yeehaw

    Jeans, plaid flannel shirt, cowboy boots and hat, leather vest, and leather belt with an oversized buckle - now your cowboy makeover is complete. 

    So strap on yer boots and yer hat, mount that appaloosa or mustang and he’d up to tha Calgary stampede, let’s go round’up som’ steer.

    Typical cowboy outlook from a scene in Brokeback Mountain
    Typical cowboy outlook from a scene in Brokeback Mountain. Credit: brandeis.edu

    At the stampede, you will be up close and personal with real-life cowboys and cowgirls just as you’ve seen in the Westerns. Even though it's a Canadian event, there are tons of visitors from across the border, so you’ll also get to hear some of that Southern drawl you’re conversant with in cowboy flicks.

                                                                                                                                Bucking Bronco

    And there are loads of cowboy action every day for 10 days: barrel racing, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, and bareback riding. You’ll never want for action at the Calgary Stampede.

    100 years of The Chuckwagon race

    You’d be right too if you called it the food wagon race.  

    The chuckwagon, a sort of mobile kitchen, was introduced in 1866 by a Texas rancher, Charles Goodnight. The horse-drawn carriage - usually stocked with easy-to-preserve food items like salted meats and coffee - ensured that traveling herders got fed all through the trail (which could last months). Cowboys also called food ‘chuck’, hence the name chuckwagon. Some of the practices surrounding the chuckwagon were repurposed for competition.

    The first ever chuckwagon race was held in 1923, at the Calgary Stampede, no less. 2023, therefore, stands as a towering milestone of an old cowboy tradition. You wouldn't want to miss a chance to be part of this centennial.    

    Indian Relay Race 

    Dubbed  ‘the oldest extreme sport in North America’ by Kyle Peacock, the horse-swapping event was showcased in 2017 and became a staple the following year.

                                                                                                               Indian Relay Race. Credit: Emerald Downs

    It is an exciting, fast-paced sport to watch. The rider finishes each lap with a horse and quickly swaps to another horse for another lap and so on for three laps.

    The Indian relay race is one of the several performances by the first nations who have lived in Calgary and other parts of Alberta and Canada for centuries.

    Powwows, and camping in teepees along the Elbow River are some of the must-see attractions during the stampede. 

    And just in case you’re wondering if there are other similar events as the Calgary Stampede, here’s a short list: 

    Greeley Stampede - Greeley, Colorado, United States

    Ponoka Stampede - Ponoka, Alberta, Canada

    Pendleton Roundup - Pendleton, Oregon, United States

    Dodge City Days - Dodge City, Kansas, United States

    But none comes close to the fame and grandeur of the Calgary stampede

    The People

    Calgary is already one of Canada’s most diverse cities. The Stampede - with visitors from all over the world simply swells the multicultural status of the city for the 10-day period. It is therefore a good time and place to meet people from across the world, make friends and learn directly about their cultures. 

    You might even fall in love!

    The Calgary Stampede is Calgary’s oldest and biggest cultural carnival - a heritage all Calgarians - individuals and organizations - are proud to be associated with. The Stampede parade on day one of the event features Canadian companies and municipal services like the police and fire services all matching past to cheers from excited onlookers. 

    Like many other organizations, ABM College hosted its Stampede breakfast on Tuesday, 11th July, in continuation of the Stampede tradition.

    ABM College President at the 2023 stampede breakfast
    ABM College Stampede Breakfast 2023
    Stampeders at the ABM College stampede breakfast
    Stampeders at the 2023 ABM College Stampede Breakfast

    ABM College heartily welcomes you if you’re visiting Cowtown for the Stampede. If you’re a Calgarian, we wish you another happy Stampede season. You can contact us if you’re interested in specialized courses to boost your career and earnings.


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