History of the Calgary Stampede

We thought it would be kinda cool to look in to the history and heritage of rodeo since the Stampede is upon us for the next 10 days.
Most people think of the parties, and the midway food and rides when they hear the word Stampede. However, the Calgary Stampede was originally founded and created for cowboys to compete and test their skills in the sport of rodeo.

In March of 1912, a gentleman by the name of Guy Weadick pitched the idea of a six day event to feature a world class rodeo competition. Originally wanting to call it the “Frontier Day Celebration and Championship,” four prosperous southern Alberta ranchers: A.E. Cross, George Lane, Pat Burns and A.J. McLean, collectively known as the Big Four, supported Weadick in naming it the Stampede.

First held in September of 1912, the Stampede featured roping and bronc events with competitors from throughout the North American West. Women participated in the saddlebronc and trick riding competitions.

What about those yummy pancake breakfasts everywhere during the Stampede? They have history too!
In July of 1923, the Stampede joined with the Exhibition holding one event – the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. This was the first year of the pancake breakfast, started by Jack Morton, offering breakfast to visitors and locals alike from the back of his chuckwagon parked downtown.

Within a few years, attendance broke 200,000 and the spectacle continued to grow into what we all know as the Stampede we love today.

Wanna know more? Check out Stampede historian Aimee Benoit’s story about the heritage of rodeo and the Calgary Stampede website about the history of the Calgary Stampede.

It’s good to know where our roots are. Wear that cowboy hat with pride Calgary!

Story and photo credit to:
The Calgary Stampede