Calgary Stampede

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The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, attracts over one million visitors per year and features the world's largest rodeo,[2] a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions. Calgary takes on a party atmosphere during Stampede; residents don western wear and events held across the city include ever popular pancake breakfasts and barbecues.

The Stampede's roots are traced to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. American promoter Guy Weadick launched the first rodeo in 1912 though the second was not held until 1919 when the Victory Stampede was organized to honour soldiers returning from World War I. A 1923 merger with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition created the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and it has been an annual event since. Over two million people visit Stampede Park annually as events are held throughout the year.

With over $2 million in prizes, the Stampede is among the richest rodeos in the world and attracts top competitors from across North America.

Contents

History

The Calgary and District Agricultural Society was formed in 1884 to promote the town and encourage farmers and ranchers from eastern Canada to move west. The society held its first fair two years later, attracting a quarter of the town's 2,000 residents.[3] By 1889, it had acquired land on the banks of the Elbow River to host the exhibitions but crop failures, poor weather and a declining economy resulted in the society ceasing operations in 1895.[4] The land passed briefly to future Prime Minister R. B. Bennett who sold it to the city. Naming the area Victoria Park after Queen Victoria, the city leased the land to the newly formed Western Pacific Exhibition Company which introduced a new agricultural and industrial fair in 1899.[5]

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