Why You've Gotta Go to Calgary Stampede

  • slide 1

    Cowboys Everywhere

    Put on that cowboy hat, because you'll most certainly fit in when you don your best Western getup. Since Calgary Stampede celebrates Western culture and heritage, you'll definitely see plenty of cowboys walking around. If you haven't perfected that "cowboy couture" look, head to the Stampede Market for the finishing touches.

    Photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn - Calgary Stampede

  • slide 2

    Stampede Parade

    Each year's events kick off with the family-favorite Stampede Parade, 2.5 miles of pageantry, featuring floats, celebrity guests, marching bands and cultural performances, led by the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband.

    Photo courtesy of Tye Carson - Calgary Stampede

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    A Full Lineup of Rodeo Events

    Each year, 120 of the world's best rodeo competitors come to Calgary for the highlight of Calgary Stampede, the rodeo. Over the course of the week, more than $2 million in prize money will be awarded, culminating in Showdown Sunday, dubbed "Rodeo's Richest Afternoon" when $1 million will be awarded.

    Photo courtesy of Bill Marsh - Calgary Stampede

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    Legends of Country Music

    Calgary Stampede pulls in some of the best acts in country music and rock 'n roll, year after year. Past performers have included Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Pam Tillis and Kid Rock. Tim McGraw and the Dixie Chicks are already lined up for the 2013 installment.

    Photo courtesy of Tye Carson - Calgary Stampede

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    Chuckwagon Derby

    You can feel the ground shake as soon as the GMC Rangeland Derby begins, and dozens of chuckwagon teams race for over $1 million in prize money. Calgary Stampede hosted its very first chuckwagon race back in 1923, making this one of the festival's most historic events.

    Photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn - Calgary Stampede

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    Family Fun at Stampede Park

    What's a rodeo without a midway? The Stampede Midway comes complete with thrill rides, carnival games and lots of food. A special Kids Midway has 26 rides and attractions for your little cowgirls and cowboys, and the BMO Kids Zone will feature free rodeo-themed activities for kids and families.

    Photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn - Calgary Stampede

  • slide 7

    Tasty Midway Food

    The food is reason enough to get excited about Calgary Stampede, and some of this year's newest offerings are over the top. Besides the usual favorites, you'll find double bacon corndogs, chocolate-dipped jalapenos, alcohol-infused fudge and deep fried everything: butter, Doritos, bubble gum, avocados and pie to name a few.

    Photo courtesy of Tye Carson - Calgary Stampede

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    TransAlta Grandstand Show

    The TransAlta Grandstand Show debuted in 1912 and has been delighting audiences ever since. Performers from around the globe partner with the Young Canadians of Calgary Stampede for a musical performance filled with special effects and a fireworks show at the end.

    Photo courtesy of Kevin Bernhardt - Calgary Stampede

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    Educational Agricultural Showcase

    Animals play a fundamental roll in the Calgary Stampede, and they're celebrated throughout. Learn about the animals and the agricultural way of life by stopping in for a sheep-shearing competition, horse show and the Cattle Trail, where you can learn about the story of beef.

    Photo courtesy of Tye Carson - Calgary Stampede

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    For a Good Cause

    The Calgary Stampede Lotteries raises money for causes near and dear to the city each year, including the Envros Wilderness School Association who help counsel teens with substance abuse problems, and Inn from the Cold, an emergency family shelter serving Calgary's most vulnerable citizens.

    Photo courtesy of Tye Carson - Calgary Stampede

About Lydia Schrandt

Lydia, photo editor and Readers' Choice Production Manager for USA TODAY 10Best, has traveled to more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America, and has lived in Albuquerque, Galveston, Austin, Thailand, Korea, China, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and now Spain. When she's not at her computer in a cafe, she's out photographing the city, writing fiction or cheering on Barça.

Read more about Lydia Schrandt here.

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