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The Most Extravagant Summer Rodeo: Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede isn’t referred to as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” for no reason, join me as I explore why Calgary made it to our “Best of Summer Rodeo” feature. 

Home of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, nightly concerts, the world’s premier chuckwagon event, and more, it is no wonder why Calgary Stampede is known as the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’! Held in September of 1912, the first Stampede was produced by Guy Weadick, the visionary who believed in the need for an event celebrating the Old West. The parade was the biggest hit at the inaugural event and drew in 80,000 people, which is double Calgary’s population at the time.

About the Rodeo

Today, the 10-day celebration is vibrant, exciting and still holds true to its Western roots. The competition in the rodeo arena starts at 1:30 p.m. daily, and it is one of the most spectacular demonstrations of athleticism, horsemanship, and pure grit. Each performance features both the best contestants and animal athletes in the world in six rodeo events. It is widely accepted that legends are made at this rodeo, and it’s proven with every past winner that is inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

The 2022 champions included Logan Hay, Rocker Steiner, Shane Proctor, Caleb Smidt, Will Lummus, and Kassie Mowry. The 2023 event has a purse of more than $1.5 million to award its contestants.

Supplied by the Calgary Stampede Communications Team

Chuckwagon Racing

In 1923, the Stampede staged the world’s first chuckwagon race, and it has since become one of the most notable aspects of the event. Celebrating 100 years of the event inspired by cowboys racing home from camp in the Old West, the Stampede features 10 nights of chuckwagon racing with 27 drivers and nine heats per night starting at 7:45 p.m.!

The Cowboys Rangeland Derby is a sight to see with teams of trained and decorated horses thundering around the track competing for more than $1 million in prize money. No other chuckwagon race compares to the Calgary Stampede.

Photo by Covy Moore. Supplied by the Calgary Stampede Communications Team

Evening Show and Activities

Each night, once the last chuckwagon crosses the finish line, the Bell Grandstand Show features live music, acrobatics, stunts, dazzling pyrotechnics and so much more! It is also the premier performance for the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.

In addition to all the long-standing traditional events, the Stampede continues to bring new and fresh entertainment to Calgary each July. Whether it be live music performed by some of the most popular artists, agricultural education, shopping, art experiences, or specialty acts, the production of such a large-scale event will leave you in awe.

The 2023 Stampede will feature country music supergroup Alabama, superstar Pitbull, an All Elite Wrestling Tour stop, a new breakaway and team roping event called the Rocky Mountain Cup and so much more!

Why Calgary Is A Must

When it comes to summer rodeos that take your breath away and keep you on the edge of your seat, most professional rodeo athletes and fans alike have Calgary at the top of their list.

“There are two rodeos that give you chills before you get on, and those are Calgary and the NFR,” said Logan Hay, 2022 Calgary saddle bronc riding champion and NFR qualifier. “They are in a different league than the rest.”

“Competing at Calgary is a feeling like no other,” said Stetson Jorgensen, 2021 Calgary steer wrestling champion and NFR qualifier. “To be able to run a steer in that world-famous arena makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Winning Calgary in 2021 is one of my biggest accomplishments to date.”

“There is no organization like the Calgary Stampede,” said President and Chair of the Board Will Osler. “It means so much to the community and embodies our spirit as a city.”

For more information about the showiest summer rodeo and to purchase tickets, visit

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Originally from Earth, Texas, a small town in the Texas panhandle, I was raised around rodeo, agriculture, and the western lifestyle. With a degree from Texas A&M University, I have found a passion for promoting the lifestyle that made me who I am today. I am an experienced writer, marketer, and event professional with a strong desire to share the stories of those in our industry. When I’m not busy seeking out ways to promote the western way of life, I enjoy following those I care about around to rodeos, hunting, and going on runs with my blue-eyed, blue-merle Australian Shepherd.

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