The Calgary Stampede
Friday July 3-Sunday July 12, 2015
The parade serves as the official opening of Stampede and begins shortly before 9 a.m. on the first Friday of the event. The event features dozens of marching bands, over 150 floats and hundreds of horses with entrants from around the world, and combines western themes with modern. Cowboys, First Nations dancers and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their red serges are joined by clowns, bands, politicians and business leaders.
The rodeo is the heart of the Calgary Stampede. It is one of the largest, and most famous event of its kind in the world. There are six major disciplines – bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc and bareback riding – and four novice events – junior steer riding, novice bareback, novice saddle bronc and wild pony racing.
Chuckwagon racing at the Stampede is referred to as the Rangeland Derby, also nicknamed the “half-mile of hell,” and has become the event’s largest attraction.
The agricultural exhibition remains an integral part of the Stampede. Nearly half of all visitors attend the exhibition, which is made up of 50 agricultural programs organized by more than 1,000 exhibitors. Numerous competitions are held as part of the exhibition. The American National Cutting Horse Association sanctions a World Series of Cutting event, and the World Championship Blacksmith Competition attracts top blacksmiths from around the world. Farm and ranch demonstrations feature numerous breeds of livestock along with stock dog trials and team penning competitions.
The Calgary Stampede midway is considered an essential component of the Stampede, but is separate from the predominantly western theme. The midway opens on the Thursday night before other events begin, known as “sneak-a-peek” night. In addition to the traditional rides and carnival games, the midway features two concert areas: the Coca-Cola Stage and Nashville North, which feature rock/pop and country music respectively, and draw acts from all over North America.
The Stampede Market has vendors selling artwork, toys, household goods, foodstuffs and other items. The Western Oasis, a subsection of the market, offers cowboy and western-themed artwork, bronze statues, craftwork, foods and wine.