Strap on your bolo tie—the Calgary Stampede is in full swing in Alberta, Canada. This summertime rodeo, exhibition and festival is the self-described “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” Developed at the turn of the 20th century, the event was conceived as a celebration of the creators’ lives as cattlemen.
The earliest version of the event is said to be a fair produced by the Calgary and District Agricultral Society in 1886. Then, in 1912, an American promoter named Guy Weadick organized the area’s first rodeo festival, dubbing it “the Stampede.” The second Stampede took place in 1919, as a Victory Stampede celebrating soldiers returning from World War I and the festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.
Today, more than a million visitors crowd Stampede Park to see exhibitors compete in trades such as blacksmithing, team penning, stock dog trials and cutting. Not sure what those competitions entail? Check out our glossary below to learn about these traditions and more!
A timed race in which a horse and rider create a clover-leaf pattern around barrels, competing for the fastest time.
An equestrian sport where a team of Thoroughbred horses pulls a covered wagon around a racetrack.
An equestrian event in which a horse and rider attempt to separate a single cattle from a herd and keep it away for a period of time.
A competitive sport based around the cattle riding and herding traditions of Spain and North America.
Stock Dog Trial
A competitive dog sport in which herding dogs move sheep around a field as directed by their handlers, often guiding them around obstacles such as fences or gates.
An event in which three horsemen attempt to separate three marked cattle from a herd and guide them into a pen at the opposite end of the arena.
Want to join in on the action? Visit Calgary.