The Calgary Stampede: “A Romping Rangeland Rumpus”

Calgary Stampede 1912Poster from First Calgary Stampede in 1912

Many people associate Calgary, affectionately nicknamed “Cowtown”, with its annual summer Stampede in the same way that a place like New Orleans is tied to Mardi Gras. The character of those places seems inextricably linked to these major civic festivals. Prior to the area’s post-WWII oil boom, Calgary was predominantly an agricultural area and held a traditional yearly agricultural fair called the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.

The Stampede was conceived in 1912 by an American rodeo promoter, Guy Weadick, as a way to add a cowboy-themed element to the fairly staid farm-focused Exhibition.   After some fits and starts the two events combined in 1923, with the Stampede under Weadick’s longtime guidance eventually overshadowing the Exhibition.   Ever since, the cowboy theme has stuck with Calgary even though agriculture, farming and ranching are now only a very small part of its economy.   This year’s Stampede will take place July 7-16 and, as can be seen on the official Stampede site, will be quite a spectacle with something to offer just about everyone.




Image Credits:  Calgary Stampede Archive, University of Calgary

25 responses

  1. I lived in Calgary for 6 years. The ten days of the Calgary Stampede were good fun! I included it in my book, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone.Love your collection of old posters. I have a couple myself.

  2. Interesting post. I did not know about this event and my immediate concern was animal welfare, so it was interesting to do a bit of research on this. I have to say I was very impressed with the level of care and also Dr Temple Grandin’s comments. She had a lot of good things to say. The event sounds great.

  3. Of all the posters, I liked the 2nd one (1923) the best — the drawing has such action packed into it. The newer ones have color, but no pizzazz. 🙂

    From posters to websites! Geez, they even have a Coca Cola stage. It looks like it’s going to be quite a ride this year.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great poster collection. I am from Alberta and have been to a number of stampedes, Calgary’s and those of other cities. I’ve always felt like a fake wearing a cowboy hat though. I wouldn’t know an Angus from a heifer …

    • Hi, I think the Stampede website is a good resource to narrow down options based on your interests. I’m sure others may have some good suggestions for you as well. I hope it’s great fun for you.

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