Dust off your Stetson, Pardner – the Calgary Stampede is coming! 2012 is the centennial of the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” held annually in the vibrant city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As many as two million people will join the festivities July 6-15 for 10 days of a spectacular celebration of western heritage and values.
Everyone loves a parade – even cowboys. The World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband will kick off the celebration by leading a pageantry of floats, bands, riders and celebrities along a two and a half mile parade route starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 6, 2012.
The rodeo events are always a huge draw at the Calgary Stampede. Crowds cheer on the cowboys as they do their best to stay on the backs of bucking broncos or fiery 2,000 pound bulls for eight seconds at a time. Barrel racing, saddle bronc and bareback races are equally exciting for tens of thousands of western clad spectators. Steer wrestling and calf roping are other rodeo favorites that demonstrate the speed and skill necessary for life on the ranch and range. While spectators are enthralled with seeing the cowboy’s dexterity and expertise in action, there are also big cash prizes (up to $100,000 per event!) for the winning riders, ensuring that the Calgary Stampede rodeo showcases some of the best cowboys in the world.
The chuck-wagon races are another wildly exciting signature event at the Calgary Stampede. Nicknamed “half-mile of hell,” the races are fast and furious. Each night, heats of four teams race to stay in contention for the $50,000 sudden death prize at the end of the Stampede. Each team has one driver for four horses pulling a light weight wagon plus four outriders. When the claxon sounds, chaos reigns as the outriders throw items representing a stove and cooking utensils into the wagon. The wagon driver has to complete a figure eight around barrels then take off on a breakneck race around the short track while the outriders who loaded the wagon run to their horses, mount and race to catch up to their wagon for the finish. The whole thing takes just over a minute, but it is a wild and frenzied 60 seconds that everyone loves!
The TransAlta Grandstand Show will provide a variety of stage entertainment and for the centennial, they are pulling out all the stops. Paul Brandt, the most awarded Canadian country music artist ever, will be the headliner performing a set each night along with The Young Canadians, song and dance numbers, comedy acts and a huge fireworks finale.
Plenty of carnival rides and games await kids of all ages on the Stampede Midway. The Bell Centennial Plaza will showcase local talent and acts from around the world. Some of Canada’s finest western art will be on display in the Western Oasis and Indian Village and Draft Horse Town will recreate other important traditions and western heritage. Of course, cowboy and cowgirl fare will be served up by the
This internationally recognized event is put on by a not-for-profit community organization and over 2,200 volunteers. The Calgary Stampede’s mission is to preserve and promote western heritage and values. For a rootin-tootin good time and a taste of the wild west, pull on your cowboy boots and contact Covington Travel to make your arrangements.