100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

First Calgary Stampede

Agricultural fairs and exhibitions were an important part of the development of rural areas of North America. It allowed farmers and ranchers to show the achievements and explore the latest advances in agriculture. In 1884 in Calgary, Canada in Alberta province, the Calgary and District Agricultural Society was formed to encourage farmers and ranchers to move to the area. It held its first fair in 1886. After a few years the event passed on to the Western Pacific Exhibition Company which hosted its first agricultural and industrial fair in 1899. In 1908 the Government of Canada announced that Calgary would host the Dominion Exhibition. Calgary built 6 new pavilions and a racetrack and held a lavish parade as well as rodeo, horse racing, and trick roping competitions The exhibition was a success, drawing 100,000 people.

An American trick roper, Guy Weadick, who had performed with Wild West Shows in the US wanted to hold an event that portrayed the skills of horsemen and cowboys of the West. He convinced Calgary businessmen build a rodeo arena on the fairgrounds.

On September 2, 1912 the first Calgary Stampede was held and over 100,000 people attended the six-day event. Hundreds of cowboys from Western Canada, the US and Mexico competed for $20,000 in prizes. The event was hailed as a success.

poster for the first Calgary Stampede
September 2, 1912

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