Let’s be honest, the Calgary Stampede is definitely the most highly-anticipated event of the year in the city.
From July 6 to 15, Olympic Way will see more than one million visitors eager to take in the action at one of the world’s largest rodeos. There’s going to be everything from a parade to stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, First Nations exhibitions, as well as Instagram-worthy food.
And some beer. There’s definitely going to be some beer.
Since the Stampede is dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” you’re going to want to channel your inner wild western self to do it in style. Figuring out how to do that alone could take forever, that’s why we’ve rounded up the top five ways you can do it like a pro.
Arrive early, dressed the part
Since crowds are expected to arrive at the Stampede in their droves, you’ll want to be one step ahead by getting there when the gates open at 11 am. But you don’t want to just show up, you’ll want to be dressed up from head to toe in your finest denim blues with a big buckle belt, check shirt, and a necktie, all topped off with an iconic cowboy hat. Do it even if you look hilarious because this only happens once a year. If you don’t own even one of these items, you can pick some western gear up at Stampede Park.
Go to at least one rodeo
Seriously though, can you even say you went to the Stampede if you miss the rodeo? Every afternoon at 1:15 pm, cowboys and cowgirls face off with skill and grit as they vie for a winning spot that will bring them into Showdown Sunday.
Arguably the world’s richest tournament-style rodeo, you can expect to see everything from bareback rides to ladies barrel racing, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, tie-down roping, and of course bull riding. Note: the bull riding may inspire you to take on a mechanical bull later in the evening (just saying).
See exhilarating chuckwagon races
GMC has been a partner with Calgary Stampede for more than 30 years and this year they’re bringing back the heart-pounding Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races. Get a good seat for this show as you feel the energy of 36 drivers racing 216 horses as they compete for over $1.5 million in prize money. You can get tickets for a nightly race which starts at 7:45 pm and head to the famous Grandstand Show afterward.
Try some weird and wonderful festival food
Calgary Stampede has a reputation for literally going above and beyond when it comes to food selection. By this we mean you can try some of the most outrageous and delicious items that you could ever imagine.
The brilliantly creative food lineup this year includes everything from cricket grilled cheese, hot ice-cream donut sandwiches, deep-fried banana-peppers, prairie oyster balls, the big pickle tornado, smoking charcoal ice cream in a cup, “the hangover mac and cheese”, as well as Mexican-style street corn. Trust us when we say you will be Instagramming the heck out of this food.
Experience something new at Stampede
New to the event this year is the GMC “Stampede Like A Pro” experience, where six local dealerships will be giving you the chance to engage in Stampede-like activities in their fleet of mobile trailers – without the crowds.
So skip the lines (and the crowds) by visiting your local GMC dealership during Stampede for an exclusive Stampede experience
These activities will be complimenting Stampede parties, so there will always be a party waiting for you somewhere. Make sure to get your photo taken with the GMC All-Mountain which will lead the opening parade, decked out in a Stampede-themed wrap.
When: July 6 to 15
Where: Calgary Stampede – 1410 Olympic Way SE
Price: Certain events are free, tickets can be purchased onsite