July 3, 2023

Calgary Stampede 101: For First-Timers

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Updated for 2023 Stampede

YAHOO! Calgary Stampede is just right around the corner, starting this Friday, July 7 and running until next Sunday, July 16!

The first Stampede was hosted in 1912; however, it might be the first for many of our graduate students at the UCalgary.

Stampede can be overwhelming for first-timers, especially when another million or more people from all over the world will join Calgarians in this biggest outdoor show on earth this year.

Therefore, the GSA puts together a simple guide the GSA puts together for any graduate student attending Calgary Stampede for the first time. The guide includes basic information and special tips from the GSA staff and board so that you can at least navigate through the Stampede ground on one of these ten days!

So… what is Stampede?

Not everyone knows what Stampede is all about so this is an obvious question. The first Calgary Stampede was hosted in 1912 for 4 days from September 2 to September 5 to celebrate the Old West with a parade, rodeo and grandstand shows attracting 80,000 visitors. Since then, it has grown into the so-called “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, stretching over a period of ten days in July and filled with shows, music, attractions, and Western events and agriculture. Calgary Stampede is famous for its rodeo and chuckwagon races, the evening shows with the spectacular Grandstand shows and fireworks, its food kiosks, music, and cultural and agricultural showcases!

What should you do at Stampede?

There are so many things to do at Stampede but GSA recommends that you attend the free Stampede Parade (happening on July 7), try out the food at the Midway Food area, enjoy free music shows on the Coca-Cola Stage, get amazed by the free show at the Monster Energy Compound, do a few rides with friends at the Mid Way, and visit the Elbow River Camp and Agriculture Showcases.

If you have some extra budget, the Grandstand Show would be a spectacular event to attend.

View some suggestions from our staff below:

My favourite part of Stampede is exotic food. I will try out the cricket hot dog or the meal worm hot dog.

Jaime – GSA Staff

I would love to take my daughter to see the Dog Bowl this year and experience Stampede for the first time.

Thao – GSA Staff

What are ways to save on a Stampede visit?

Stampede is fun, but it can be expensive if you don’t plan ahead! Fortunately, there are multiple ways to save on admission, transportation, and all of the other expenses.

First, we would recommend that you take transit via train or bus as parking is at least $25/day. CTrain stops at two Stampede entrances, and train rides are covered by your UPass. Allow time for transit delay as thousands of other visitors will also choose this convenient option.

For admissions, take advantage of Stampede’s Value Days with free admission offer. You can also get admission for free if you purchase an Evening Show or Rodeo ticket.

For all spending at the park (including admission), you can save 20% on Stampede in-store by getting $50 in Stampede Bucks for $39.99. These Stampede Bucks can be purchased at Costco, while supplies last.

And another general rule is to take advantage of the free events including music shows and showcases. They are free and they are good!

How to plan your visit in advance?

First, decide on which day you want to go depending on your schedule or Value Days to get free admission for you and your family.

Second, plan out your route, know which C-Train station you get off from, and calculate approximate arrival time to ensure you can claim the free admission on Value Days. Allow time for delays on transit and admission line.

Third, review the Stampede map and daily schedule and pinpoint what activities you want to do. Some popular free activities such as Dog Bowl shows have limited capacity which means you will need to stand in line very early to secure a spot.

Plan to spend at least 4 to 5 hours on the ground to browse around the whole area as you might be interested in many different showcases.

What to wear for Stampede?

Typically, a cowboy hat, a plaid shirt, jeans and leather boots would be the go-to outfit for Stampede. However, your casual t-shirt, jeans, and running shoes would be alright if you don’t have any of these items already.

Make sure to check the weather the day before! With the unexpected nature of Calgary weather, you never know what the weather will be the next minute!

If you have kids, bring water bottles, hats, sunscreen, and possibly umbrellas for the occasional rain!

For all of the details on Stampede, please visit the Calgary Stampede website! YAHOO! https://www.calgarystampede.com/

Other useful article about Calgary Stampede:

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