A look at how far the Calgary Stampede has come since 1912 (VIDEO)
YYC is one resilient city. Somehow, through two World Wars, Hell, high water, sickness and recession we’ve found a way to keep the spirit of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth alive. Yes, in 2020 the Calgary Stampede was cancelled, but we’d argue that this is the year the event brought us closer than we ever were (even when walking side-by-side through the crowded midway). In celebration of community and the rodeo that made us, we thought we’d take look at how far we’ve really come.
The very first Stampede-like exhibition was in 1908, 24 years after the town of Calgary was founded. Guy Weadick had travelled from New York with the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show – which the town had gone absolutely nuts for.
Inspired, Weadick came back in 1912 in hopes of creating a bronco bustin’ event unlike anything else the world had seen. This event was funded by The “Big Four,” George Lane, Pat Burns, A.J. McLean, and A.E. Cross, and known as the Stampede at Calgary Alberta.
The parade itself drew over 80,000 people… which was actually double the city’s population. No big deal. Then, in true YYC fashion, it rained for the rest of the week, so that sucked.
In 1913 the exhibition was taken on the road and held in Winnipeg but was back here in 1914, where it stayed for good.
1946 – 2011
Between 1914 and 1945 the world had seen two global wars, the Stampede lost 2 years of the event to the recession and chaos, then it came back stronger than ever. Chuckwagons were introduced in 1923 and in 1946 the first Stampede Queen was crowned.
In the next 50 years, the city would celebrate the introduction of the Stampede Corral, a park expansion, the Young Canadians, Aggie Days, the Sky Ride, the Round-Up Centre, and the completion of the Saddledome.
2011 – Now
In 2012 The Calgary Stampede celebrated its 100th birthday, and the 10-day party was record-breaking. The parade, shows, and concerts were legendary, the fireworks were bigger and better than ever before and the YYC pride was out of control. The city ended that July on a high note.
With an extremely successful year under its oversized belt, the next summer extravaganza should have been a cakewalk, and then the floods happened. In the weeks leading up the event, Calgary was knee-deep in Bow River BS, people lost their homes, a hippo almost escaped the zoo and people were kayaking through the streets. Somehow, though – The Calgary Stampede still happened that year and every year that followed, until now.
We’ve been through a lot, folks. It’s been one hell of a ride, but with fans of the event worldwide, millions of attendees, and that Calgary-brand Yahoo, we’ve been able to pull off 108 years of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. This year may not have taken to the grounds but it certainly took to the history books.