This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


Photos: The Calgary Stampede celebrates 105 years

Canadian Geographic creative director Javier Frutos shares photos from his visit to the world-famous western celebration
Expand Image

Calgary is known for many things: the oil boom, the 1988 Olympics, and proximity to the Rocky Mountains. But perhaps the city has no more globally-recognized event than the Calgary Stampede. As one of the world’s largest rodeos, the Calgary Stampede draws over a million visitors each year to celebrate western heritage, culture and community spirit. From midway rides and bucking broncos to sold-out concerts and, er, creative culinary concoctions, the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” has been turning the city into a party since it was first officially hosted in 1912.

Canadian Geographic creative director Javier Frutos travelled to the Calgary Stampede earlier this month with GMC Canada and got a taste of the western extravaganza. Here, he shares some of his images. 

Expand Image
One of the most iconic symbols of the Calgary Stampede, and rodeo in general, is the cowboy hat. Smithbilt Hats has been making cowboy hats since 1919 and they still make them today the traditional way using 100-year old machines.
Expand Image
A demonstrator from Smithbilt Hats explains the process of hat-making, from choosing the right materials from across the world to crafting the final product to perfection.
Expand Image
Volunteers welcome people to the Calgary Stampede morning events.
Expand Image
Turkey legs on the BBQ. From deep fried Jell-O to one-metre-long sausages, the Stampede “Midway Eats” vendors cover all imaginable cravings. Among the new heart attack-inducing edibles for 2017 were the so-called Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls: bacon wrapped around a hot dog and pickle, cut in half, battered and then deep fried and served on a stick.
Expand Image
The Stampede Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world and features the world’s best competitors and animals.
Expand Image
Some of the Stampede events include: Rodeo, chuckwagon races, ladies’ barrel racing, bareback, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc and bull riding. 
Expand Image
The Calgary Stampede also offers the largest purse for the winner for any outdoor rodeo – $2 million.
Expand Image
Local Indigenous peoples are represented at the opening ceremony of the afternoon Rodeo show. In 2017 the Calgary Stampede introduced the Indigenous Relay Races, which involved teams of four members with three horses. From a standing start, the jockey laps the track riding bareback, then switches to another horse, then laps the track again. All told, it’s three times around the track on three different horses. 
Expand Image
The Calgary Stampede has nine rodeo events, including saddle bronc (left) and the chuckwagon race. In the photo on the right, driver Troy Fled competes in the first race of the day.
Expand Image
Fireworks close the evening show performances, hosted by Canadian artist Jann Arden.

Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

Chuckwagon racing


A hundred years of rodeo

Capturing the spirit of the Calgary Stampede on the eve of its centennial

  • 2043 words
  • 9 minutes


Biodiversity by design: A birds and bees tour of Calgary

Alberta’s largest city has a lofty goal to restore some of its roadsides, boulevards and other open spaces to a more natural state. Here’s a look at some biodiversity-friendly projects already underway. 

  • 1910 words
  • 8 minutes
Harland Smalleyes, a dancer representing the Stoney Nakoda and Blackfoot First Nations, performs during the 2017 Stampede

People & Culture

Photos: A celebration of First Nations at the Calgary Stampede

Beyond the rodeo and the chuckwagon races, the Calgary Stampede is one of the country’s longest-running public celebrations of Indigenous cultures

  • 858 words
  • 4 minutes


5 endangered species the Calgary Zoo has saved from extinction

The Vancouver Island marmot, burrowing owl, greater sage-grouse and northern leopard frog are thriving again thanks to the zoo’s efforts 

  • 1342 words
  • 6 minutes