Written by on Thursday July 30, 2015
Billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, the Calgary Stampede certainly delivers. The atmosphere in the city is electric and the buzz, excitement and enthusiasm from the locals is unsurpassed. The city of Calgary is truly alive – and this is all before you even get near the actual Stampede!
The Stampede events themselves are just fantastic! The rodeo show offers 9 different events for both men and women including the broncos, bull riding and bareback events, and with a packed stadium the atmosphere is just incredible. The Stampede Rodeo events feature the worlds best riders and with over $2 million in prize money on offer you can understand why this is the real star of the show. This event takes place every afternoon from around 1pm across ten whole days.
The Chuckwagon Races and Grandstand evening shows on the second day present even more entertainment as you get caught up in all of the excitement of the races. Each night at 7.45pm a klaxon sounds signalling the start of the GMC Rangeland Derby - a chuckwagon race dubbed as a “Half mile of Hell”.
The thundering hooves of the horses is a truly heart-stopping experience as 36 drivers compete for the title and over $1 million prize money.
As soon as the last wagon crosses the finish line it’s time for the world famous Grandstand Show with elaborate song and dance numbers, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and a spectacular fireworks finale!
There is also a Stampede Parade which takes place further into the ten day event with floats, marching bands, riders and celebrities winding their way through the streets of downtown Calgary. This does require a 9am start so if you do plan to attend this make sure you head down there early to ensure a good spot!
It’s not all about the rodeo - in addition to this there are various other events and entertainment venues on offer throughout the festival itself such as the Western Oasis with a range of western arts & crafts, music, and food and wine activities or the Stampede Midway with rides rollercoasters and games to keep the whole family entertained and maybe even have the chance of winning a prize yourself.
The food and drink is also not to be missed from the mini-donuts to freshly squeezed lemonade or the famous wood fired BBQ Beef - sampling the cuisine is an essential part of the experience!
As with any major city there is also shopping galore with Calgary Stampede souvenirs, local crafts, or why not get yourself a great pair of cowboy boots and a hat to really get into the spirit!
Whatever you’re looking for from your Canada experience this is definitely an event that should be on your “bucket list” - it certainly lives up to its reputation!
Colum Murray, Canada Cruise Expert