The Calgary Stampede: The Greatest Show on Earth

For 10 days every July for over 100 years, with just a few notable exceptions, the people of Calgary and Alberta have welcomed the world to the Calgary Stampede, aka The Greatest Show on Earth. The 2021 Stampede is set to take place July 9 to 18, and while it will look a little different with fewer crowds and social distancing measures in place, the city of Calgary is looking forward to hosting, if not the world, then some very lucky people who will attend this year’s show.

This annual event boasts a full rodeo, multiple concert stages and countless stalls to visit and is a showcase for world-class rodeo talent. Beyond the Stampede grounds themselves, the spirit of this festival is felt by all and the whole city takes part, bringing about a real sense of community to the bustling metropolis that is downtown Calgary. Most business people trade in their corporate suits and work wear for jeans and check shirts, many offices are decorated in Western style and there are wooden fences and hay bales all over the city.

Children in cowboy hats at the Stampede

In previous years, the Stampede has attracted well over a million visitors in the course of the 10-day extravaganza as it is one of the most popular rodeos in the world. A big attraction is the rodeo competitions for cumulative points throughout the event, featuring some of the best talent in North America vying for prize money in the various events including Saddle Bronco and Bareback riding events, ladies barrel racing, steer wresting, tie-down roping and the most dangerous event of all – Bull Riding.

Bull riding at the Stampede

Other events include the Grandstand Show which is an outdoor stage spectacular, lavishly-produced and choreographed non-stop musical 2-hour variety grandstand show, well worth a watch. One of the most exciting events is the Chuckwagon races; Chuckwagon racing is an amazing contest of nerves and horsepower – a challenge that ignites thousands of fans.

Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Racing

The Calgary Stampede creates a festival atmosphere all around the city, with pancake breakfasts every day, concerts – and not just country music – parties, pop-up bars and, of course, fireworks.

Fireworks over Calgary during Stampede

The 2022 Stampede will take place July 8 to 17 and it will be a popular event. It is always best to book a package with your flights, hotel and Stampede tickets for the most popular events as these sellout early. Demand will be high for 2022 as the Greatest Show on Earth returns, hopefully, to normal.

Julie Thompson
Frontier Canada