Ah, the age-old debate. Do folks of the Calgary Stampede ‘yeehaw’ or do they ‘yahoo?’ As die-hard attendees and devoted locals will tell you, there’s one clear answer and it’s written in big block letters all over the city.

A natural exclamation used in comic strips and literature throughout history, ‘Yahoo’ has become synonymous with the Calgary Stampede and while it sounds unnatural to some, it’s the countrified outcry the city has chosen as our #1.


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Now, obviously, there’s no way of knowing who or when it was used in relation to the Stampede for the very first time – but The Calgary Herald (the city’s longest-running paper) wrote that the earliest they had printed it was July 15th, 1949.

“A reader wrote a letter to the editor published that day, in which she suggested we give Stampede officials a “yahoo” and thank you for their work in putting on that year’s event,” they said.

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During this time, ‘Yipee’ and Texas-derived ‘Yeehaw’ were also used to hype people up but the people wanted uniformity.

Yipee was later phased out, but the discourse continued on for years – so much so that it was addressed by the publication in 2006.

They, like so many others, were unsuccessful in settling the debate – though they brought up an interesting point.

The official Stampede mascot, Harry the Horse (who debuted with his bell and signs on March 14, 1985) has always said ‘Yahoo.’


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Though it really should’ve ended with Harry, people continued to go back and forth until 2018, when The City of Calgary finally stepped in.

After years of discussion, they took a very official Twitter poll – and the rest is history.

With an overwhelming 80.6% of the vote – ‘Yahoo’ came out on top – claiming its place as THE slogan for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Honestly, yeehaw just doesn’t have the same spirit anyway, and while it’s uncommon to hear ‘yahoo’ in old westerns, it’s ours and it works.

Do you reject Yeehaw, or is Yahoo too ‘soft’ for the Calgary Stampede? Let us know over on our socials and happy cowboy week!

Stay safe and enjoy!