Calgary explodes when the world’s largest rodeo blows into town, and it’s not only cowboys saddling up. Well over a million visitors revel in the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, which features concerts, parades, competitions, races, and legendary pancake breakfasts around the city. For 10 days during the Calgary Stampede, everyone in Cowtown embraces Canada’s western tradition, dressing the part, and celebrating the legacy of frontier life.
Length of Trip : 3-7 days
Cost : Depends on your accommodation, dining and activity choices. For more info on prices, including concerts, clubs and other event prices, visit: www.cs.calgarystampede.com/tickets/
Best time to go : Stampede is usually held first two weeks of July
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Official Site : https://www.calgarystampede.com/stampede
Getting There : Once you arrive in Calgary, the atmosphere will be hard to miss. Head to the Stampede grounds, which gives you access to the Mid-Way. Follow the signs to the rodeo grounds, or to various performances taking places in the Saddledome.
Note from Robin : Talking to vets, riders, farm owners and fans, here’s what I can tell you about the rodeo’s treatment of animals: 1. It’s in nobody’s interest to hurt or harm these animals, which are cared for by those who live, love, and work with animals every day of their lives. Animals are not beaten or kicked to make them buck. 2. The flank strap sits in front of the hind legs, and it’s a physical impossibility for it to come anywhere near the genitals of an animal. Since the animals are prized for their breeding capabilities, the myth of “strapped testicles” is exactly that. 3. Rodeo animals receive excellent nutrition and care, and live healthy long lives. The Calgary Stampede has a special rodeo farm for retired animals, many of which live out their days grazing in open fields. 4. Flank straps are lined with sheepskin and are soft to the touch. It’s illegal for any sharp, friction, or rubbing material to be placed on the strap.
PHOTO: IAN MACKENZIE
PHOTO: IAN MACKENZIE