In 1912 the great Stampede was born from the vision of Guy Weadick, a famous working cowboy and vaudeville entertainer featured in the traveling wild-west shows that were popular world-wide in the early 1900s. He was a man with a dream of celebrating the romance of the old west.
The Stampede we enjoy today has evolved from Guy's vision. Weadick was a dreamer, but a dreamer with a difference. As well as being a showman and a performer, Weadick was a promoter and organizer extraordinaire, and he had the substance to make his dream a reality. The only thing this cowboy lacked was money.
He haunted the lobby and the bar of the Alberta Hotel and told his story to anyone who would listen. Finally, a meeting was arranged with E.L. Richardson, General Manager of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition. Faced with an Exhibition that had been slowly losing steam and in need of a new spark of life,
Richardson was intrigued and thought that Weadick's hair brain scheme might keep the exhibition from sinking into the red again. Weadick needed a $100,000 bankroll and Richardson assured Weadick that if responsible financial backers came along, he would recommend a rental of the Exhibition Grounds, but that would be the limit of his involvement.
As Weadick, frustrated and dispirited, returned to the Alberta Hotel, he was met by a man who had heard his story. He introduced himself as H.C. McMullen, general livestock agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He listened to Weadick's proposition and asked for a week to arrange a meeting between Weadick and four prominent Calgarians:
George Lane, A.E. Cross, A.J. McLean and Patrick Burns. These men, who later became the Big Four, agreed to back the project to a total of $100,000 and the deal was cemented with a handshake. It would be known as The Stampede and if it proved to be as successful as Weadick expected it to be, the word Stampede would always be synonymous with Calgary. The first Stampede, held in September of 1912, was everything Weadick promised - a resounding public success. Thus the stage was set and the script written for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
The winner of each event during the Showdown on the final Sunday will walk away with $100,000, double the amount of last year's payout, making it the 'world's richest ride in rodeo'. As Guy Weadick stated in 1912, The money is here, come and get it.
The parade opens up the Stampede, and is always the first Friday morning of the Stampede. The parade is always a highlight of the Stampede, even for people who've lived in
Calgary all their lives. About the only people who skip it are those hung-over from the night before's festivities. The parade is televised locally and across Canada (9:30 - 11:30 am). It attracts about 250,000 people, plus another million on TV). The parade begins west on 6th Avenue at MacLeod Trail, and continues to 10th Street SW, and then east again on 9th Avenue. The parade begins at 9 am, and runs till about noon (depending on where on the route you are).
The Calgary Stampede has been billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth due to its renowned rodeo that includes events like saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping and steer wresting.
The Rodeo is a hit with big audiences and the world's top cowboys/cowgirls. It is exciting to watch the world's best competitors and world-champion rodeo stock battle for glory and the lure of over one million dollars in prize money. The Calgary Stampede is the only regular season rodeo to offer one million dollars. The world's top professional cowboys and rodeo stock come together for unparalleled excitement!