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All you need to know about the Calgary Stampede

Published July 3rd, 2015

Yeehaw cowboys and cowgals, it's summertime in Calgary and that means just one thing… Stampede time is upon us! Don your cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans and boots, because the rodeo is town and you’re in for one wild ride.

What’s it all about?

The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of all things country and western. It’s a rodeo, festival and exhibition dubbed ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’, and it’s been held in Calgary in one form or another since the late 1800s. Nowadays it’s one of Canada’s largest festivals and with one million visitors each year, it’s one of the world’s biggest rodeos. The best cowboys from around the globe are invited along to compete in the notoriously lucrative rodeo, making for one heck of a Wild West showdown.

Yeehaw! Bucking bronco

When is it held?

The Stampede starts the first Friday after Canada Day in July each year and lasts for 10 days. ‘Cowtown’ spirits are at an all time high at this time of year, buoyed by the warm weather, the revelry of Canada Day kicking off, and all the fun of Stampede in store. If you’re going to visit Calgary, this is the time of year to do it.

Calgary stylez

Where does it take place?

The core of the Stampede takes place at the huge Stampede Park. This is where you’ll find all the rodeo events including all the classic rodeo events of bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel riding, bareback riding and tie down roping. The First Nations village, and the Stampede Market are also located here. Stampede Park is easily accessible from the city centre via the light rail system.

First Nations teepee

Attractions

The festival kicks off each year with the Stampede Parade led by the world famous Stampede Showband, featuring over 150 beautiful floats and a whole lot of pageantry. For the next ten days, Stampede is one great big amusement park, with so much to keep you occupied, from the bucking broncos and bull racing, to the real deal cowboy costumes jostling around the joint. Head down to the southern edge of Stampede Park for a dose of culture at the fascinating Indian teepee village complete with Pow Wows, traditional costumes and examples of craft by the First Nations people representatives.

Don't miss the Calgary pancake breakfast

Party time

There’s only one thing Canadians love as much as Stampede, and that’s pancakes, so it’s only fitting that the two go hand-in-hand. If you’re into this breakfast delight, you’re in for a treat, with pancake breakfast parties hosted everywhere all over the city throughout Stampede. For the ultimate pancake party head to the Chinook Centre Mall where over 50,000 diners tuck in during their pancake party day. Calgary also goes wild by night during Stampede, so if you’re up for some serious partying, you won’t be disappointed.

Calgary night skyline

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Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.