The Calgary Stampede was founded by Guy Weadick, an American with experience in vaudeville and wild west shows. He convinced four Calgary businessmen to fund his idea for a week-long rodeo. Since then, the Stampede has been a major tourist attraction and symbol for the city of Calgary. Read the passage below to learn why Calgarians remain so fond of the Stampede.
In the mid-1870s the first large herd of cattle arrived in Southern Alberta from Montana to begin the ranching era. Although it only lasted about 30 years, the romanticism of the open range has provided Calgary with its enduring Western ‘folk’ identity, which is reinforced every year by two weeks of the greatest show on Earth – the Calgary Stampede. The Canadian Pacific Railway and the Oil and Gas industry have had more impact on Calgary’s historical growth, but it is Calgary’s early ‘Cow Town’ roots that dominate its Western identity even today. For example, the City of Calgary’s highest form of official recognition involves a ceremonial bestowing of a white Stetson hat (a cowboy hat) on visitors.
Source: Tyler, Dr. Mary-Ellen. “‘Nice City: Wonder What It Will Look Like When It’s Finished:’ A Case Study of Calgary, Alberta – Past, Present and Future.” The University of Calgary. March 1, 2004.
1. List 5 words or ideas that come to mind when you hear the word ‘cowboy.’
2. What do you think the author means by “romanticism of the open range?”
3. Look at the photo of the Calgary stampede. Why do you think the stampede has become such a lasting tradition?