Ryan O'Rourke a RoamRight Blog Author

Guide to the Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Image source: Flickr - Danteling

Planning a trip to Canada this summer? If there's any Canadian summer event that you simply cannot miss, it's the Calgary Stampede.

Every year a crowd of over a million strong descends upon Calgary, Alberta for what has been dubbed "the greatest outdoor show on earth." As huge of a spectacle as it comes, the Calgary Stampede is a bout of non-stop action, even if cowboy boots and oversized rancher caps aren't part of your regular wardrobe.

Since the first event over a century ago, the Stampede has evolved from a simple local parade and rodeo to become Canada's foremost summer festival full of high-octane rodeo competitions, belt-busting foods, and world-class concerts.

At the Calgary Stampede's main arena, the world's bravest cowboys and cowgirls get the crowd roaring as they meet face-to-face with untamed beasts to compete in events such as bull riding, steer wrestling, chuck wagon racing and roping. For these gutsy competitors, the risks are high but so too are the rewards with winners standing to cash out at $100,000 for each individual event.

Besides the rodeo itself, the showgrounds in Stampede Park have become an important part of the event. The large midway—an excellent family-friendly alternative to the high-energy rodeo events—features carnival rides, game booths, and live shows including concerts and magicians.

On the main stage at the nearby Saddledome, some of country and rock music’s biggest stars rock out through the night. In the past, the Calgary Stampede has welcomed artists like Garth Brooks, the Beach Boys, and Brad Paisley while those lucky enough to attend in 2014 will enjoy music from country superstars like Keith Urban, Shania Twain, and Reba McIntyre.

For adventurous foodies doubling as attendees, however, the Stampede's biggest draw is quickly becoming the eccentric food stalls dotting the main park. All of the typical Canadian festival food fixings are there—hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and poutine—along with a few quirky, and unexpected, surprises.

If blasting your taste buds with obscure dishes is a must, have a gander at some of this year's wackiest Stampede food choices including crocodile burgers, deep-fried donut bacon cheeseburgers, deep-fried Reese peanut butter cups, and Tokyo teriyaki corn dogs. Still not adventurous enough for you? The eccentric Stampede chefs have got you covered with their creation of the most bizarre food of the 2014 Calgary Stampede: seasoned scorpion pizza.

Whether you visit for the intense action or the offbeat foods, there's one guarantee: the Calgary Stampede will forever be as wild as the wild west that inspired it.

Would you ever attend the Calgary Stampede? Which event or activity would you look forward to most? Have your say in the comments section below!

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About the Author

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke, a RoamRight Blog Author

A perfect storm of wandering wordsmith and travel photographer, Ryan O'Rourke lives and breathes travel. For the last decade, Ryan has roamed around the world, living in 4 different countries and visiting over 30 countries along the way with no signs of slowing down. Ryan's insatiable wanderlust inspired him to found Treksplorer where he now writes about his adventures and offers unconventional travel planning, language learning, and travel photography tips for independent travellers.

When not out and about, Ryan calls Northern Ontario home, and enjoys basking in the great Canadian outdoors and lazily chilling by the campfire with an acoustic guitar. Follow Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

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