Despite being one of the country’s best and most beautiful cities, Calgary is still often overshadowed by Toronto and Vancouver when it comes to pop culture – until July. For 10 days every year, Alberta holds an event so iconic, it’s actually made its way onto the pages, scripts and screens of entertainment all over the world. From the longest-running TV series in history to cult favourites and even a beloved reality shows, here are 11 times that the Calgary Stampede was referenced in pop culture.
THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 26 EPISODE 13
Now, if you’re a big fan, then you may have noticed that Calgary is actually referenced a few times in The Simpsons – in fact the entire episode I’m Spelling As Fast As I Can is based entirely in the city – though that’s not where you’ll actually SEE this Stampede reference. Instead, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled during episode 13 of season 26 where a Calgary family can be briefly seen sitting on a wagon at the rodeo singing about the city. Don’t blink or you might miss it!
PARKS AND REC – SEASON 3 EPISODE 8
Though it wasn’t really ‘mentioned’ per se, the Calgary Stampede was used as a visual reference for the Pawnee Harvest Festival. Pause it just right and you can actually see the entire midway in all of its glory!
ARCHIE COMICS – ISSUE 403
From space to beaches all over the world, Archie and the gang have travelled all over the globe – but our favourite stop? The Calgary Stampede! Read by almost every millennial growing up, The Archie Comic books were and are still a major deal, especially now that the CW has revived the franchise with Riverdale.
In issue 403 (coincidence?) Archie actually competes in the Stampede Rodeo, while jughead enjoys a pancake breakfast – you can actually check out the whole thing in the link above!
XMEN – VOL. 1 NO. 121
If you’re a Marvel fan, this one almost shouldn’t surprise you. As many of you may already know the comic book’s most iconic character, Wolverine is actually from Calgary – however, Shoot Out At The Stampede (vol. 1 121) was hardly a reunion. Instead, midway goers are collateral damage to a fight between good guys Cyclops, Colossus, Storm and a mysterious villain who seals off the entrance, putting those attending the event in danger.
Jeopardy has to be one of the best game shows in history – covering everything from pop culture to historic events, shedding light on some of the crazy smartest people the world has ever seen, so really, was it any surprise that ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth’ was once listed under one of their many categories? What is … no it’s not.
THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN – VOL. 1. NO. 4
1992 was a pretty cool year for Calgarian comic book fans. Not only did Archie and the gang take to the event, so did Peter Parker. Featuring images of the Saddledome, the city’s skyline and of course, the rodeo, the issue titled Chaos In Calgary was set entirely at the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.
THE CALGARY STAMPEDE (1925)
In the years shy of film’s Golden Age, The Calgary Stampede, made in 1925 and produced by Universal Pictures, was an entire silent western about a cowboy (played by Hoot Gibson, a pretty big star at the time) accused of killing the love of his life’s father. No this may not be the most popular on the list, but this was probably the first time the event was mentioned in the film and we think that warrants a mention!
M*A*S*H – SEASON 11 EPISODE 9
We’ll be honest, we’ve probably never seen an entire episode of MASH despite our grandparents watching nothing but. However, if we did, we may have noticed that the Calgary Stampede was actually referenced by the character Winchester in season 11.
TWIN PEAKS – SEASON 1 EPISODE 6
From log lady to llamas, Mairzy Doats and the Tibetan Rock Method, Twin Peaks has to be one of the most enjoyably unsettling shows in history. A big player in that? The bizarre characters – one of which was Audrey Horne, who, in episode 6 mentions that she actually worked at the Calgary Stampede for a brief time.
CANADA’S DRAG RACE – EPISODE 1
Eh-Leganza Eh-Xtravaganza! Drag Race Canada’s premiere episode the queens are actually tasked with creating outfits using materials packed in country-themed boxes. One of those boxes? The Calgary Stampede! Was the look a win? Well, no…. but it certainly wasn’t the worst and for that, we can be proud!
YELLOWSTONE – SEASON 4 EPISODE 6
This one should almost come as no surprise! Starring Kevin Costner, Yellowstone is as ‘country’ as it gets, so it was only a matter of time before one of the show’s characters referenced one of the most famous rodeos in North America. What we didn’t expect was for their Stampede shoutout to be so sweet, with a prominent character calling it his “favourite event.”
Whew. There you have it, friends. 11 times that the Calgary Stampede was referenced in pop culture. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!
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