Despite the date on the calendar, attending the Calgary Stampede can often involve playing the meteorological lottery: it’s impossible to predict when a rainy day might drown out any plans for a day’s worth of activities. As the forecast calls for looming clouds and thunderstorms the week ahead, it’s best to have a back-up plan in case things start to get a bit soggy. Fortunately, there’s tons to do on the Stampede Grounds, here are a choice few.
Enmax Ice Show
Located within the Corral Centre, the Enmax Ice Show is presented three times a day (2 pm, 5 pm and 7:30 pm) and is a unique spectacle that the whole family will enjoy. World champions Jamie Salé and David Pelletier and Olympian Vaughn Chippeur are joined with Cirque-style acrobats, performing to rock ‘n’ roll anthems by the likes of Pink Floyd, Queen and Journey. The show lasts about 45 mins, and best of all, it’s free with Gate Admission.
Starring dozens of furry, four-legged pets with huge personalities, the Superdogs show is a perennial crowd-pleaser at the Calgary Stampede. Watch as these amazing, acrobatic dogs race through obstacle courses, perform stunts and generally warm the hearts of all in attendance. The show runs four times daily, at noon, 2 pm, 5 pm, and 7:30 pm in the Big Four Building.
Stampede Talent Search
Little known event which launched the careers of country superstar Paul Brandt and local favourite Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. The show runs daily at 6:30 pm (except for Jul 13 and 17) in the Boyce Theatre. Come down and watch talented youngsters compete for prizes in vocals, instrumental, musical theatre, dance or variety acts.
Presented by Sophia Models International, the daily fashion show (1:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm) puts the spotlight on local designers and Western-inspired fashion. In addition, throughout the Stampede, there are model scouts cruising the grounds looking for competitors in the annual Model Search Jul 11, 13, 15 at 7 pm with the grand finale on Jul 17.
Stop by the Western Oasis in the BMO Centre at 6 pm daily to catch the Calgary Stampede speed artist, as he paints a picture before your eyes in a matter of minutes.
Stick around in the Western Oasis for the nightly wine tasting (7:30 pm) presented by local sommeliers. Tokens can be purchased to take part in wine sampling and education by industry specialists who address topics such as food pairings, tasting Dos and Don’ts, Old World versus New World wines, and more. Mini food plates are available with the wines during tasting.
Even though it’s party central on the Stampede Grounds when the sun goes down, the Nashville North tent has live music going on throughout the day, starting at 12:30 pm, with country music stars Bobby Bare, Craig Moritz and Karen Lee Batten.
Ag-tivity in the City
Open all day in a huge tent on the south side of the Agriculture Building, Ag-tivity in the City is an interactive “edu-tainment” centre for the whole family. There’s a daily Kids’ Tractor Pull (11:45 am, 1:15 pm and 6:15 pm) as well as Kids’ Team Penning Competitions (daily 2:45 pm and 4:45 pm), not to mention dozens of hands-on educational areas where kids can learn the importance of the agriculture industry.
There’s always something going on in the ‘Dome, like the World Stock Dog Competitions, the Heavy Horse Show, Team Cattle Penning and Marching Band Demonstrations throughout the day.
Test your luck on the slots or gaming tables at the Stampede Casino. If you’re not a gambler, you can kick-back at the Big Sky Saloon or enjoy a daily lunch or dinner buffet.