Calgary Stampede turns 100

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede and that means more world-class rodeo, faster horses, cooler cowboy crooners and bigger roller coasters.

The city of Calgary returns to its ranch roots for 10 days every July, but this year the party — July 6-15 — will be in the national and international spotlight, and the Stampede Centennial Committee has just begun to reveal some of the special highlights of the 2012 event.

They’re promising a stunning new equine show, featuring incredible sets, the finest western horsemanship, First Nations performers and 30 talented horses. There’s also a special Stampede Saddledome concert series this year, featuring country stars like the legendary Johnny Reid, a Juno and 15-time Canadian Country Music Award winner.

Roots Canada has designed a special Stampede Centennial rodeo jacket that will be a must have for cowboys and buckle bunnies alike, along with a complete line of Stampede bags and fashions to celebrate the anniversary. You’ll find them at the Stampede shops on the grounds and at Roots retailers across Canada.

And hang onto your hats — there’s a new roller coaster for the midway, dubbed Outlaw, in honor of the famed Stampede rodeo bull. The first midway ride to ever carry the Stampede brand, it promises to send riders blasting out of the chutes on a twisting, stomach-churning adventure as wild as any cowboy’s eight-second rodeo ride.

Or if high flying speed is more your style, climb to the top of the 24-metre (80-foot) tower and experience the longest temporary zipline in Canada, soaring for 260 metres (850 feet) over Stampede Park at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph).

Go to the Calgary Stampede website to buy rodeo or grandstand show tickets, or to get in on some of the unique Stampede packages. Anderson Vacations also offers travel packages. Whether it’s the Parade Day getaway ($110 pp) with great seats for the opening day Stampede parade or the Two-Day Thrill package ($259 pp) complete with souvenirs to take home, you can plan your visit online.

The Calgary Stampede is 10 days when Calgary really gets its western vibe on so plan to explore the city, buy a cool pair of custom cowboy boots and eat some Alberta beef. It truly is a wild western experience!

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh, Calgary Stampede

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission. The text has been modified from the original.