GET IN THE STAM­PEDE SPIRIT

Where Calgary - - HOT DATES -

PA­RADE

Ev­ery­thing kicks off on July 7 with the Stam­pede Pa­rade, which fea­tures more than 150 western-themed en­tries, in­clud­ing 30 march­ing bands, 40 floats, 750 horses and 4,000 par­tic­i­pants. Ar­rive early to get a good van­tage point.

RODEO AND GRAND­STAND SHOW

The skill of the com­peti­tors and the qual­ity of the bulls and steers at the Stam­pede Rodeo are among the best in the world, mak­ing for non-stop, edge-of-your-seat ac­tion. Events range from break­neck bar­rel rac­ing to heart-pound­ing sad­dle bronc, bare­back, and bull rid­ing. Every win builds to­wards the fi­nale at Show­down Sun­day on July 16. Day­time rodeo gives way to thrilling chuck­wagon races in the evening, fol­lowed by the Grand­stand Show with spec­tac­u­lar song and dance num­bers, ac­ro­bat­ics, and nightly fire­works.

MU­SIC

Stam­pede clearly em­braces its coun­try roots, and that ap­plies to the mu­sic as well—the Nashville North stage has hosted many of coun­try mu­sic’s most beloved su­per­stars. This year, watch for Chad Brown­lee (Jul 6), Aaron Good­vin (Jul 7), Neal McCoy (Jul 9), and Doc Walker (Jul 11) among many oth­ers. It’s not all boot-stompin’ and South­ern twangs, though—if your mu­si­cal taste leans to­wards rock and al­ter­na­tive, head to the Coca-Cola Stage for acts such as The­ory of a Dead­man (Jul 8), Nelly Fur­tado (Jul 10), Mar­i­anas Trench (Jul 11), and July Talk (Jul 16). If that’s not enough, the Vir­gin Mo­bile Stam­pede con­cert se­ries will host leg­ends Johnny Reid (Jul 12), Brooks & Dunn (Jul 13), Alabama (Jul 14), and Usher & the Roots (Jul 15) at the Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome.

MID­WAY

Those who come to the Calgary Stam­pede ex­pect­ing “all rodeo, all the time” are in for a sur­prise when they see the size and scope of the mid­way. Spin, twirl, twist, and loop your way through adren­a­line-in­duc­ing rides, test your wits and hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion on games of skill and chance, and slow it down for a ride on the gi­ant Fer­ris wheel that of­fers an amaz­ing view of the grounds.

FOOD

Mini donuts and beef on a bun are sta­ples, but every year food ven­dors outdo them­selves to of­fer the most mouth-wa­ter­ing—or dare­wor­thy—con­coc­tions. Leave room for del­i­ca­cies such as deep fried Jell-O, a metre-long sausage, uni­corn white hot cho­co­late topped with rainbow sours and blan­keted in cot­ton candy, and pizza in­fused with Carolina reapers, the Guin­ness World Record’s hottest pep­per.

The Calgary Stam­pede (July 7 - 16, page 40) is sim­ply not to be missed, from the pageantry of the open­ing pa­rade to the spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of fire­works on the fi­nal night. Don your cow­boy hat and get ready for the “great­est out­door show on Earth.”

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