The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

08 July, 2015

Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is an annual event held in July which started in 1912 as a roping and bronc event with competitors from throughout North America west. During the onset of the first world War and the depression the event was not held, but commenced again in 1919 to celebrate peace and the end of the war. In 1923 the Stampede joined with the Exhibition and also started the tradition of the pancake breakfast, which back in 1923 was offered out the back of Jack Morton chuckwagon to visitors and locals. For Calgary it remains a celebration of the old west and showcases the modern multicultural city it has become.

Bull Busting was the first event we attended. It was held the night prior to the parade and is a heat to the rodeo which runs during Stampede. This rodeo was held at Ranchmans Bar and seemed to be a corporate outside event which we were lucky enough to get some complimentary tickets.

The crowd gathers as the sun sets over the rodeo 

Quite a bit of action throughout the night

All the riders are introduced to the crowd.

Friday morning we were up early to head downtown for the Calgary Stampede Parade. The parade starts at 9am and like so many special events you need to get there early to get a front row, especially for the kiddies, as they expect a crowd of around 200,000 people to attend.

Arrived early to get a good vantage spot for the parade.

Young cowboys and girls waitin for the parade

The parade consisted of 35 floats, 15 music bands and 42 horse entries which equates to 700 horses - that's what the Stampede is about!!

We asked the local police for a family photo before the parade - this is their tough stance.

Start of the parade

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Wagons and horses


Well presented coach 
Cheerleaders for the local football team.

Chuckwagon racers

First Nation participants 

Local politicians 

Marching bands

Multicultural representation

Performing groups

Even the street sweeper looks like a horse, and cleans up the horse poop as it travels along 

Aero Space Museum 

Ctrain is great for commuting around Calgary and transports the crowd quickly out of town.

Stampede breakfast with more than 200 pancake breakfasts held over 7 days during the Stampede it's a great opportunity to join in with the Stampede spirit, so we managed to attend 2 on separate mornings.

Cowboy cooking pancakes for the Saturday breakfast

Cowgirl cooking spuds organised by local member David Swan

Hungry Aussie eating pancakes 

Lined up waiting for pancakes on Monday breakfast at the local shopping centre

There were 4 tents like this one cooking breakfast

Entertained by the Calgary Roundup Band

Standing room only 

Entertained by country music during breakfast

Saturday was our day to check out the Stampede grounds - we had passed by them a few days earlier in the Ctrain but all we could see was the side shows which looked like many shows in Australia, so we headed off to check out what was on offer.

Ready to take in the Stampede 

Seemed to find our way to the food section

Some real Stampede food - deep fried pickles!

These statues represent the historical and modern-day life story that reflects the spirit of Calgary 

Blacksmith making horseshoes 

Even chuckwagon races for the little cowboys and girls.

GMC are a major sponsor and I liked this display!! 

Even saw this Kiwi at the sheep shearing competition.

Monday night was our last event for the Stampede, the chuck wagon racing and stage show. The chuckwagon racing was quite different and much quicker than I had expected. The horses are thoroughbred and seem to run as fast all harnessed as a normal racehorse.

Opening ceremony 

Racing to the finish line

Racing around the barrels in a figure 8

The idea of the race is that 4 teams run together starting with a barrel being placed in the back of the chuckwagon, they then do a figure 8 around 2 barrels before completing a lap of the track. This takes around 1 min 15 sec.

On the starting line
After the chuck racing we watched a performance by young Canadians dancing and singing telling the story of the history of Canada. The night ended with a great fireworks display.
Fireworks to close the night

The Canadian Classic stage show

1 comment:

frankeeg said...

OMG!!! Whooee! We just spent 2 months in Canada and left at the end of June, so sad too bad we missed the Calgary Stampede. We spent a couple of weeks in and around Calgary so did get to see more than the average visitor. We did go to a fancy wedding at the Fairmont Hotel. Which we wrote about in our blog. We also did a day trip to Drumheller and I loved it. Only wished we had more time. While you zoomed around in a Ford Mustang Convertible we had a Toyota 4Runner!!! Next time we will hire a car (Mustang) and not be dependent on family to get us there. We have only just got our internet sorted out so will catch up on your posts for the last three months which we have not yet seen. We were away in Alaska and Canada and USA since April.