Travel. August 26th, 2021

Calgary Stampede | Experience the greatest outdoor show on Earth

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Calgary stampede overview

Calgary stampede experience “the greatest outdoor show on Earth” post pandemic fun for families, friends, and kids visiting as tourists in summer. This post contains a full day experience of first time visitors from Toronto. It will guide you through the three main themes; the carnival, the farms and “the greatest outdoor show on Earth” – Calgary Stampede. This is the only place where Calgary locals get to enjoy the carnival food, carnival rides and carnival games, therefore, the tokens and tickets are very expensive for these rides and games. You also get free loss child service at this event which is great given the high amount of crowds it attracts.


Table of contents:

  • What is Calgary Stampede?
  • What are the dates for 2022 event?
  • Is Calgary Stampede free admission?
  • Calgary Stampede 2021 show
  • The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth competitions
  • Top attractions at Calgary Stampede
  • The Calgary Stampede video tour



What is Calgary Stampede?

Calgary Stampede is a ten-day event, labeled as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. It attracts millions of visitors and tourists from around the world every year. It provides a complete experience with largest rodeos, parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions and First Nations exhibitions. You will also be entertained with carnival food, rides, games and so much more.


What are the dates for Calgary Stampede 2022?

Calgary Stampede is scheduled for summer 2022 and will last from July 8-17, 2022. If you are planning to visit Alberta next year, try to accommodate Calgary Stampede in your itinerary. The tickets will be on sale from Fall 2021.


Is Calgary Stampede free admission?

It offers a variety of deals and discounts throughout the season for different groups of people. For example, free entry for kids under 19, free entry for social workers and their families and so on. However, the carnival has an entrance ticket but it doesn’t include the Calgary Stampede show. You have to book the show tickets and seats in advance and they sell fast. If you plan to skip the show, you can still enjoy all the carnival activities with the entrance ticket. Get all information for tickets at their official website.


Calgary Stampede 2021 show

We visited on July 14, 2021 and the show started at 1:30pm. It was a four hour long show and it was a lot of fun to watch. The seats that we booked were on the left side of the stage and the screen was right in front of us. We could also walk down to the front of the stage for pictures. Interestingly it was not very crowded on our side as compared to the right and the backside of the stage. This worked as an added advantage and we could walk down for a clearer view when it was not sunny. In summer, Calgary is super hot, my advise is to book seats in the shaded area.


The greatest outdoor show on Earth competitions

The show has six competitions in total with a mid break featuring Calgary Stampede show band. The following shows are listed in order of occurrence when we visited:

  • Barrel racing
  • Bareback
  • Steer wrestling
  • Calgary stampede show band
  • Saddle bronc
  • Tie down roping
  • Bull riding


Barrel racing

Close attention to detail and partnership are the key to this event. The horse and rider compete against the clock, as they circle three barrels in a triangular shape and make their way back to the scoreline.



The rider holds on to the leather handhold for rigging and a pad in bareback event. He needs to hold on to it for at least 8 seconds. The higher the spurs, the higher the scores.


Steer wrestling

In this race against the time event, the cowboy requires lots of coordination and strength. The steer wrestler waits on the horseback behind a rope barrier. The steer is released and gets a 12 feet head start. The cowboy then chases the steer, drops down from his horse and grabs the steer by horns to bring it to a halt.


Calgary stampede show band

Created in 1971, this show band serves as the musical ambassador for the event. The Show band program encourages youth to participate in performing arts and achieve personal excellence in music and performance. In 2021, the band started with a musical performance on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.


Saddle bronc

In this event the cowboy and his horse have to coordinate for eight seconds. The cowboy holds onto the braid rein that is connected to the horse’s halter to help him balance himself.


Tie down roping

In this event speed, finesse and skill are the key events. This event is inspired by the old roping and tying down of animals skill. The cowboy waits on his horseback behind a rope barrier and the calf gets a 10 feet head start. The cowboy chases the calf, quickly drops down on his feet and ties its three legs. Time is stopped when the cowboy lifts his hands in the air and the calf is quickly released.


Bull riding

This is the most renowned event at the Calgary Stampede. Here the cowboy has to hold on to the bull as it jumps and spurs. The points are higher for spurs. Out of all participants only four were able to compete and the rest were disqualified in the show we attended. This shows the challenge and obstacle level of this final event.


Top attractions at the Calgary Stampede

The following are the top attractions at the event:

  • Food and drinks
  • Midway
  • Carnival rides
  • Carnival games
  • Chairlift
  • Rodeo side shows
  • Farmers future plans
  • Petting zone
  • Exhibition
  • Elbow river camp
  • Live concerts
  • Fireworks



Food and drinks

Lots of food and drink options that you find at the carnival. The noted ones are:

  • Butter chicken bombs
  • Hawaiian cowboy poutine
  • Rainbow street corn
  • Street corn coconut
  • Taco fiesta pizza
  • Pickle lemonade
  • Freshly squeezed lemonade
  • Hamburgers
  • Fruit in fruit
  • French fries
  • Funnel cake
  • Marshmallows



Midway and carnival rides

Kids were super excited for the rides. Check out updated information about the coupons and daily passes here. A few notable ones include:

  • Zipper
  • Crazy mouse
  • Wave swinger
  • Mega drop
  • Polar express
  • Cliff hanger
  • Haunted mansion

Carnival games

You can play and win at these carnival games such as:

  • Ball and bucket toss
  • Balloon and dart
  • Basketball
  • Bottle sand
  • Bulldozer
  • and so much more


Rodeo side shows

Lots of other shows are going on at this event everyday. You can find details about these on the website. You will also get a schedule at the entrance providing all the details. Some shows we saw:

  • Dog bowl
  • Freestyle motor cross
  • Heavy horse pull



Farmer future plans and exhibition

At this indoor exhibition place, kids get hands on information from farmers as they demonstrate the farming experience. There were the following exhibitions in 2021:

  • Honey bees demonstration
  • Farmers future plans
  • How Alberta farmers produce milk?
  • Animals exhibition
  • How Alberta farmers grow produce?
  • How nature’s cycle helps irrigate the system?
  • and so much more



Petting zone

At the petting zone there are all the farm animals. Some were for see and some for petting as well. Wash basins were installed everywhere to keep hands clean. Some notable petting zone animals are:

  • Horses
  • Llama
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Cows
  • and more


Elbow river camp

The Elbow river camp is an exhibition displaying cultures of Indigenous and First Nations. You will find 26 unique tipis for display, local artisans selling art and jewellery, traditional dancing, bannock and so much more.




The event lasted till midnight on the day we visited. Since, the summer days are so long and hot the fireworks were scheduled for 11pm. The fireworks lasted for 15 minutes. We didn’t stay for the fireworks as we came early in the morning at 10am. A lot of people also visit in the evening. If you are not keen on the “Greatest outdoor show on Earth”, it is wiser to come in the evening and enjoy the other attractions this place has to offer.


The Calgary Stampede video tour

To get a complete experience and idea of the show along with other features of this event in less than five minutes check out this video tour.


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I’m a mom of 2 decorating and soulfully designing our home. I love to share crafts and simple ideas for home and garden.

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