How many Stampedes does Calgary have?
If you answered one then you are missing out. The Strathmore Stampede has been around since 1966 and runs annually on August long weekend and is home to Running with the Bulls, CPRA Pro Rodeo, and World Professional Chuckwagon races. We hit the road bright and early to get there with enough time to experience everything this Stampede has to offer, from the food trucks, entertainment, a tradeshow, the midway and children’s activities – we didn’t want to miss a thing.
The weather wasn’t on our side, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time, it just meant no line-ups for the amusement rides. We indulged our inner child on everything from the Scrambler, to the Tilt-A-Whirl, to The Zipper, to the giant slide. We left no ride unturned.
Who doesn’t love a good round of Whack a mole? There’s nothing like competing for the grand prize (in this case a big red hippopotamus) with hopes of walking around the fairground grandstanding with your new favorite stuffed animal. (Note, we tried but went home hippoless!)
When it started to rain, we decided to check out the tradeshow and treat ourselves to a little massage. The tradeshow was full of local vendors and we were able to cross someone off our Christmas list with a beautiful … I can’t say what in case my mom is reading this, but you get the drift.
Mini doughnuts & Gourmet Burgers, yes please!
Time for lunch. Of course mini-doughnuts were on the agenda, we’re at the Stampede, but we started with gourmet burgers from Wilk’s Booth which hit the spot and fuelled us up to settle in for the main event, the Pro Rodeo held each day in the Cervus Stadium. The rodeo includes bareback racing, saddle bronc, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, novice bareback and team roping, and the crowd’s favourite, bull riding.
Running With The Bulls
One of the highlights of the Strathmore Stampede for me was watching the Running with the Bulls event. Since 2003, the Strathmore Stampede has been the home of Running with the Bulls within Canada – an adaptation of the infamous Pamplona event in Spain. The way it works is, the runners face three rounds of wild, untamed bulls. An inner circle of fencing is set up within the infield, creating a track. The objective for runners is to be the bravest, most daring, and crowd entertaining runner alongside the bulls. A panel of judges and the Stampede Fans in attendance determine the winner for a prize of $1000 and bragging rights.
Words can’t convey seeing the bulls for the first time – the athleticism the animals possess while barrelling through the ring was something to behold. That, combined with the tension from the crowd as they charged the runners made the energy in the arena electric.
In all honesty, I can’t imagine being in the ring with these animals up close and personal. Although beautiful to behold, we did see some close calls, but if you think it’s something you may like to knock off your bucket list, there is a sign up booth for Running with the Bulls on the grounds so you too can test your courage and try your luck.
If you’re looking to see the rodeo, watch the brave run with the bulls, and enjoy the entertainment, you should break out the boots, belt buckles and cowboy hats and check out the Strathmore Stampede on August long weekend. Located just 25 minutes east of Calgary it’s worth the drive.
What are you waiting for? Giddy up. To plan your own visit to the Strathmore Rodeo visit their website.
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Is this a sponsored post?: While we were graciously hosted by the Strathmore Stampede, our opinions, experiences and photos are our own.