The Calgary Stampede, dubbed the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, truly is a spectacle and something your entire family (no matter the age) can enjoy. More than a million people from around the world attend this July event, which became an annual event in 1923.
General Admission Events
The General Admission ticket grants you access to the entire, expansive outdoor space. There are amusement rides, carnival games, an agriculture center, shopping, food trucks, live marching bands, street performers, amazing dog show, BMX bike show, Bollywood performance, First Nations performances and so much more. There are even kids’ “rodeo” events like a toy wagon race! There’s also an indoor concert arena hosting a variety of stars like Usher, Zac Brown Band and Stevie Wonder (varies each year and tickets sold separately).
Then there is the actual rodeo, which requires a different ticket but grants you access to everything General Admission offers in addition to the rodeo. The rodeo events run each day in the afternoon and if you’ve never attended a rodeo, this is the one to see! These expert cowboys and cowgirls show off their skills at the Grandstands, where several events take place. There are bucking horses and bulls, calf roping and steer wrestling, lady’s barrel racing and much more. All of the competitors are vying for a large cash prize at the end of the 10-day event.
Grandstands Evening Show
But that’s not all! The Grandstands Evening Show is outstanding and not to be missed! The Evening Show (which takes place each night) again requires a separate ticket (this being the most expensive), but again includes everything within general admission. It does not include the Rodeo Show. The Evening Show kicks off early with the Chuckwagon Races, a rodeo event that is rare to find these days. Four teams of chuckwagons, pulled by four horses each, race around a figure eight of barrels before then racing around the horse track. When the horn blows, it is fascinating to watch the synchronization and speed at which the horses and wagons race. There are nine nightly heats and the teams are racing for more than a million dollars as a prize!
Once all the chuckwagons race off the track, it’s time for the show (if the chuckwagon races weren’t show enough). The Grandstand Evening Show is something to see and difficult to describe because there are so many different elements to it and the shows vary each year. There is a tightrope walker (whose rope happens to be on fire), First Nations performers and singers, local children performing songs and dances and acrobats flying from the air and performing on top of bicycles, all while being ridden around the stage. There are Irish dancers performing under a constant fountain of water (they were soaked and dancing barefoot when we saw them!), ballet dancers and a laser light performance. Each segment of the show happens seamlessly. The fireworks display that ends the show will have you shaking your head in disbelief and amazement as you exit the Grandstands. While the evening show can be a late night for little guys (the fireworks wrap up close to midnight), your family will be thoroughly amazed by this Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
The Calgary Stampede runs for 10 days in July and is open from 11 a.m. to midnight each day. Check the schedule for rodeo, show, parade and event times for each day.
Varies based on the ticket or show purchase. General admission is $9 for ages 7 to 12 and $18 for ages 13 to 64; children under 6 are free.
There are hundreds of food trucks and stands to purchase food. You will never go hungry while attending Stampede; however, healthy options are few and far between. Every fried food you can think of (or have never thought of frying before) is available for purchase, like fried Oreos, fried pickles, fried coffee and even fried Jell-O. There are plenty of BBQ options as well, and there are concession stands available (which also serve alcohol) inside the Grandstands Stadium.
Parking and Transportation
There are several parking lots surrounding the area for an additional fee. There are also Uber and taxi stands situated around the perimeter and the C-Train is just outside as well. Note that there are different entrance points to enter Stampede and tickets (as long as they are not sold out) can be purchased at the main gate.