Ways to be Western: A Guide to the Calgary Stampede

Just in time for the Calgary Stampede, Ann Britton Campbell shows you how to get into the cowboy spirit!


The Calgary Stampede is just around the corner and we’ve got a few ideas to get you ready for ten days of yee-haws, line-dancing, pancake breakfasts and general cowboy festivities!

Lookin’ the part: Buy Boots and a Hat

Mosey in to Riley & McCormick, Calgary’s original western store since 1901 for a snap-button cowboy shirt and tight-fitting Wrangler jeans. Then, head over to the Alberta Boot Company for boots made from cowhide, kangaroo, alligator and other leathers.

Top off your look with one of Calgary’s famous white cowboy hats—presented to visiting politicians, celebrities and royalty since the Second World War—from Smithbilt Hats.

Eatin’: Try the Pancakes & Deep-fried Mac and Cheese


Begin with a free pancake breakfast at various locations in the city using flapjackfinder.com.

At Stampede Park, surrender to the deep-fried macaroni and cheese wedges at Bull’s-Eye BBQ Cookshack or pizza-on-a-stick at the midway. Try prairie oysters (bull testicles) at the cowboy-kitschy Buzzards Restaurant & Bar or visit CHARCUT Roast House for up-market cuisine, including spit-roasted prime rib.

Ridin’: Hit the Ranch

See cowboy country the way it’s meant to be seen—on horseback. Numerous ranches offer hourly trail rides in the ranchlands and foothills surrounding Calgary. Choose Rafter Six Ranch Resort and tap into the same western hospitality enjoyed by Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman and other stars who’ve made movies at the ranch.

Stayin’: Live Like a Cowboy

Enjoy sweet cowboy dreams during a stay at a working ranch, a guest ranch or on a backcountry pack trip. Learn to rope cattle, check fences and tend the horses—or just sit back and let others do the chores—then tuck in to hearty cowboy cuisine.

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth: The Calgary Stampede

The 2011 Calgary Stampede runs July 8 to 17. Tickets for the rodeo, held daily at 1:30 p.m., start at $36. Tickets for the Evening Show, held daily at 8 p.m., include the chuckwagon races and Grandstand Show, start at $52. Park admission is included with both events or can be purchased separately: Adults, $14, seniors, children ages 7 to 12, $7; children under 7, free.

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