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The kickoff of the 105th year of the “greatest outdoor show on earth” is quickly approaching. The Calgary Stampede is back on July 7-16, 2017. This one-of-a-kind event is Canada’s only city-wide party, and features great live music, rodeo events, food and brews.
With so much to do, and without a little direction, you’re liable to end up running around Stampede Park like a charging bull. So step back, take a deep breath, and read up on our 2017 Stampede bucket list so you can enjoy and stack enough stories and memories to carry you through to next year’s party.
If you’re not familiar with this amazing tradition, you’re in for a treat. Many of Calgary’s businesses get behind serving delicious (and free) pancake breakfasts during the Calgary Stampede. You can check out the breakfast calendar featuring every restaurant and venue giving away a breakfast at stampedebreakfast.ca
The calibre of a rodeo comes down to two things: the skill of the competitors and the quality of the horses, bulls and steers. The Stampede Rodeo features the world’s best competitors and animals. Every afternoon at 1:15 cowboys and cowgirls face off in a furious display of skill and grit, with every win building towards Showdown Sunday—Rodeo’s Richest Afternoon.
Obviously the rodeo was going to make this list. Featuring a massive $2 million dollar purse, the Stampede Rodeo has the world’s largest sum of prize money in tournament-style rodeo. As a result, the Stampede Rodeo features some of the world’s best athletes and animals competing in barrel racing, tie-down roping, bull riding, saddle bronc and more. All of this builds towards rodeo’s richest afternoon: Showdown Sunday.
Sure, the Stampede Rodeo is something to behold. But if you ask some Calgarians what their favourite event of the Stampede is, many will tell you it’s The Chuckwagon Races. 36 drivers led by 216 horses and their pounding hooves compete for $1.15 million in prize money in this incredibly entertaining GMC Rangeland Derby.
A Calgary staple, Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall is a genuine Western bar with a dance floor, a stage, mechanical bull and a delicious menu featuring country classics like ribs and wings. Of course, Ranchman’s ramps up its regular festivities with the arrival of Stampede. Check out some of the best boot stompin’ and scootin’ in the city as well as complimentary line dancing lessons during their Stampede kick-off party.
The Stampede brings with it the epic party that is Cowboys’ and Wildhorse’s Stampede tents. Playing some great country songs in a legendary high-energy atmosphere, once these party tents get going, they run through for the entire Stampede. This year’s Cowboy’s Tent Party lineup includes performances by The Chainsmokers, Fetty Wap, Brett Kissel, Big Sean, Dustin Lynch, The Offspring, Sublime and the Beach Boys. Check out Cowboys and Wildhorse’s websites for ticket and party info.
This infamous tent is a mainstay for country music fans and will feature some of the best up-and-coming and classic country stars on the planet. This year’s lineup includes Chad Brownlee, Aaron Goodwin, Neal McCoy, The Dungarees, Doc Walker and more. Have a drink, take a step or two, and get back at it on the Rodeo grounds.
If you know anything about the Stampede, you probably already guessed that you would be seeing The Stampede Parade on this list. Floats, marching bands and Stampede celebrities trail behind the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband. It kicks off at 7:30am and we highly recommend arriving early to get a great spot to view the show.
The amazing foods and snacks featured at the Calgary Stampede are so good and unique that we dedicated a whole article to some dishes worth trying. Rolled Ice Cream, Double Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Dog, The World’s Hottest Pizza, Deep Fried Jello, Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls, Chili Lime Popcorn Shrimp Perogies…Need we say more?
If you’re the type of rodeo-goer who’s in it for the adrenaline and excitement, then you’ll enjoy what’s going down at the Adrenaline Ranch. This crew of world record and gold medalist holding Motocross athletes send it with some insane stunts that will make you leap out of your chair.
Free with admission to Stampede Park, the Coca-Cola Stage is where you should head if you want some great music. With 10 straight days of performances, you’re sure to find a band or musician you can sing along to. 2017’s lineup includes USS, Theory of a Deadman, Nelly Furtado, Sabrina Carpenter, Marianas Trench, The Strumbellas, Ben Harper.
This isn’t The Westminster Kennel Club, it’s the Calgary Stampede. These cute fur balls won’t just be prancing around on artificial grass, instead they’ll be doing high-flying stunts like high jumping and dock diving. Check it out if you want to appreciate some doggo athleticism, or, you know, just appreciate how cute they are.
If you’re intending to go to the Stampede and don’t already have your Stampede attire, don’t panic. Authentic Alberta-made boots, jeans, and cowboy hats are sold everywhere on the Stampede grounds and at tons of retail locations across Calgary. If you want to do it right, a visit to Smithbilt Hats and Alberta Boot will get you set up for success for 2017’s iteration of the Stampede and beyond.