Calgary Stampede creates a little noise in Toronto with the Launch of the Nashville North lineup

The Calgary Stampede made a splash in Toronto this past week with an exclusive media event, hosted by members of our Stampede family!

Approximately 150 media and travel writers attended a Stampede event titled Get Amped in Toronto’s premier county bar – Boots and Burbon to experience a small taste of the Calgary Stampede, and share the experience with their audiences.

The crowd was energized with Stampede spirit and immersed in western hospitality. Upon arrive, each guest was personally greeted by the beautiful Calgary Stampede Queen, Princesses and Indian Princess, who provided them with the iconic white cowboy hat and a Stampede bandana.

Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses being interviewed by ETalk

Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses being interviewed by ETalk

The evening featured amazing food, a little mechanical bull riding and some great storytelling. Well known chuckwagon driver Mark Sutherland was on hand to chat everything GMC Rangeland Derby, Kynan Vine stepped up as the resident bull ride instructor and Treff Deerfoot impressed with his intricate traditional headdress and captivating First Nation story telling.

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The evening came to a peak with the much anticipated reveal of the Nashville North concert lineup, followed by a live performance by Nashville North headliner The Washboard Union.

The Washboard Union on the Canada AM Sound Stage

The Washboard Union on the Canada AM Sound Stage

Calgary Stampede Queen, Maggie Shortt, along with Princesses, Bailee Billington and Chelsey Jacobson and Calgary Stampede Indian Princess, Vanessa Stiffarm showed the crowd how a line dance was done as The Washboard Union got the whole party on their feet.

The party was a success with guest leaving with hats on their heads, smiles on their faces and loads of information about The Greatest Outdoor Show Earth! Looking to increase our National visitation is from Toronto, it is important that we showcase all the great things the Stampede has to offer and make a little more noise each time we head out there!

The trip to Toronto wasn’t simply a party, many of Stampede’s team met with media to bring awareness about this year’s Stampede. I few of the highlights include a couple appearances on CTV’s Canada AM. The first had Calgary Stampede Indian Princess talk about the new location for Indian Village and perform her traditional Jingle Dance to the magical drumming by Treff Deerfoot. The second Canada AM spot featured Nashville North Headliner The Washboard Union perform live on the Canada AM Sound Stage.

Other opportunities included a lengthy interview on SiriusXM’s “What She Said” with Vanessa about inspiring and empowering women; an hour long feature on the Calgary Stampede with The Chris Robinson Travel Show and a great segment on ETalk Canada directly from the event with The Calgary Stampede Queen & Princesses, the Indian Princess and The Washboard Union. Our lovely Stampede royalty, along with cowboy Kynan Vine were even spotted in the audience of The Social!

It was a busy yet fruitful few days for the Stampede contingent. In addition to the media coverage mentioned, we are expecting a number of great pieces still to come as well a few media to be at this year’s Calgary Stampede to witness The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in person.

For more information, and to check out the full lineup, click here.

Calgary Stampede promotion team having a blast in Toronto

Calgary Stampede promotion team having a blast in Toronto

6 Deep-fried Midway memories (about food…of course)

When the Stampede announces the new Midway food lineup, a resounding “Deep fried what?!?!?” echoes through the hills around Calgary. With the new Midway food announcement fast approaching, we thought we’d look back at some of the deep fried concoctions that have come and gone over the years. These foods topped our new food and best food lists between 2009 and 2014. It’s also a good reminder that not all good things stick around forever–so make sure to try it while we’ve got it!

Deep Fried Coke

How does one make a cool, refreshing Coca-Cola even better? Deep fry it of course! Deep Fried Coke was first seen at the Texas State Fair in 2006 and made its Calgary Stampede Midway debut in 2010. The Coca-Cola flavoured batter was deep fried and topped with Coca-Cola syrup. Sadly all good things must come to an end… but there may be a new deep fried drink to try in 2016… shhh!

Deep Fried Coke
















Deep Fried Butter

I mean: Why not, right? While deep fried butter might seem like a Midway-specific idea, fried butter recipes can be dated back to the 17th century. (Who knew?!) The deep fried butter that was served on the Midway was wrapped in flaky pie crust and deep fried until it was golden and crispy. This delicacy was served on the Midway between 2013 and 2014.

Deep Fried Butter

Deep Fried Kool-Aid

Deep fried Kool-Aid was a seriously sweet treat. Kool-Aid infused batter was fried until golden and crisp. This kicked up Kool-Aid was a serious crowd favourite 2012 and helped make our centennial even more memorable!

Deep Fried Kool Aid

Deep Fried Jellybeans

Jellybeans met the deep fryer in this 2009 Midway favourite. These tasty bundles of jellybeans were made of delicious beignet batter, fried until golden and dusted with powdered sugar. This chewy bundle of delicious was a real ‘Only at Stampede’ treat.

Deep Fried Jelly Beans













Kubie Korn Balls

What could make a spicy jalapeno corn batter better? How about traditional Kielbasa sausage? In 2011, the Kubie Korn Balls were declared the Best New Food on the Midway. These tasty little bites were served with honey or BBQ sauce and were a seriously delicious addition to the Midway.














Deep Fried Bubblegum

Despite its name, deep fried bubblegum wasn’t of the bubble blowing variety. Puffy bubblegum-infused marshmallows were dipped in a pink batter and fried. This treat was totally gooey and bubblicious!

Deep Fried Bubble Gum

What’s your favourite deep fried food on the Midway? And what do you think they’ll deep fry next?

Meet Allison Healy, Tipi Owner from the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation)

This year, Indian Village moves to ENMAX Park. The 26 tipis represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Each tipi has a unique design on the outside. Approximately 500 people will live in Indian Village during the 10 days, with daily performances adding another 1,000 people per day. More than 40 competitions and events take place in Indian Village during the July Stampede.

In part two of a five part series, we speak with a tipi owner from each of the five tribes of Treaty 7. Today’s blog post is a chat with Allison Healy of Kainai Nation.

After celebrating their 30th year at Indian Village presented by PennWest last summer, the Healy family will once again set up their tipi, adorned with yellow and green paint featuring a water serpent, along with elk and deer. In what started through a family connection, Allison Healy and her family are regulars and very involved.

Allison’s late husband, Earl, started helping at Indian Village in the early 1980s. Once an opening for a new tipi owner came up, Earl and the Healys took it.

“We had a relative who was one of the tipi owners so my husband helped with set up… for a couple of years,” Allison Healy said. “My husband wanted to be a tipi holder and start camping there. This was after our relative had quit so he took over.” Continue reading

George Lane recognized as a Great Westerner at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

On Saturday, April 16 George Lane was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. One the original stockmen of southern Alberta, Lane’s biggest impact was in the importation of Percheron horses from France. Settlers needed the massive horses as they established farms. Lane’s Bar U Ranch quickly became known as having the best Percheron stock in the West. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here are some highlights from the 2016 Western Heritage Awards weekend!

1. Lane is the first Canadian to be inducted to the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Let’s just say that the level of Canadian content at this year’s ceremony far surpassed Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations. More than three dozen Canadians were in attendance, including many members of the Lane family in addition to members of the Friends of the Bar U and Stampede family

Western Heritage Awards

George Lane’s great-grandson (also named George) accepting the Wrangler Award on behalf of the Lane family at the 2016 Western Heritage Awards.

2. John Barlow, MP for Foothills, also attended the event. But before he flew to Oklahoma City, he spoke in Parliament about the ceremony and the significance of Lane’s induction into the Hall of Great Westerners. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum was ecstatic to hear about MP Barlow’s speech and played this clip of him at the event (which was met with a rousing standing ovation).

3. AMC’s Hell on Wheels also received an award for best fictional drama. It was shot in beautiful southern Alberta and when the executive producers were on stage they were singing this province’s praises.


John Wirth, a writer and producer for “Hell on Wheels” shows off the Wrangler. (pic via @WirthwhileTV on Twitter)

4. One of the most impressive elements of the National Cowboy and Western Museum is its dedication to the West, regardless of borders. On this special night, both inductees to the Hall of Great Westerners came from outside of the United States. Joining Lane was Enrique E. Guerra of the San Vincente Ranch whose family has a 400-year legacy of ranching in what would become the borderlands of Mexico and the United States.

National Cowboy Museum

In one of the Museum’s galleries, the floor is a giant map showing historic ranches and trails from south of the Rio Grande to north of the 49th. Two of the Big Four – A.E. Cross’s a7 and Lane’s Bar U – are represented.

We experienced first-class western hospitality throughout the weekend and we are truly thrilled to have one of our very own Big Four in the Hall of Great Westerners.

(L-R) Mike Nicola, board of director for National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, MP John Barlow, George S. Lane, Shannon Murray, historical specialist, Bob Thompson, immediate past president. Photo courtesy of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

(L-R) Mike Nicola, board of director for National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, MP John Barlow, George S. Lane, Shannon Murray, historical specialist, Bob Thompson, immediate past president. Photo courtesy of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

The best part of being a member of The Young Canadians (and how you can join them)

Do you want to take your technical and artistic performing arts skills to the next level? Auditions for The Young Canadian’s School of Performing Arts are coming up in May.

What’s amazing about being a part of The Young Canadians?

  • Year-round training in vocal, dance and performance with an incredible team of specialists.
  • The opportunity to perform in annual shows (on stages like the Jack Singer Concert Hall and the new Bella Concert Hall), not to mention in front of 20,000 + people for TransAlta Grandstand Show during the July Stampede.

And in addition to all of that? Here’s what The Young Canadians themselves have to say:

Auditions for dance begin May 28 and auditions for vocal begin May 29. Click here for more information. Tips for your audition coming soon here on the Stampede blog! Stay tuned.

Stampede Royalty Sister Shout Out (& the Shaw GMC Yukon playlist)

Hey Cowboys and Cowgirls,

People often ask me what the highlight has been so far – and let me tell you, that’s a tough question to answer! Each event is a highlight for a different reason and every person we encounter shares a unique and interesting story. It’s a little crazy to think of all the opportunities and adventures that these last six(ish) months have given me – but I can say without a doubt, it would not have been the same without my Stampede Sisters by my side.

Western night

“On duty” at Flames Western Night

Since the night Princess Chelsey, Queen Maggie and I were crowned, we’ve been inseparable. At first, it was simply because our schedule was so hectic, we would have had to hang out whether we liked it or not. However, it didn’t take long to realize that these two were the warm hearted, positive kind of people I want to be surrounded by anyway.

We’ve made countless memories, shared numerous ab-working laughs and even dried a few tears through this journey, and I’m sure there is more to come. A lot of our time together is spent in the public eye as we are out and about representing the Calgary Stampede and we LOVE doing that, but I’m going to share just a couple of behind-the-scenes memories that you may not get to see.


Off duty at the Stampeders Western semi-final game


One thing is that Queen Maggie ALWAYS has a granola bar with her. Seriously, sometimes she even has a few different kinds. I think she lives off of them. However, she always offers to share the moment someone mentions hunger. Rest assured, whether we’re out at the barn or touring around town at events, out for a couple hours or all day, the girl has a stash of granola bars on hand.

Princess Chelsey has a very extensive baseball hat collection. Of course, these days she’s usually rocking a stunning white Smithbilt hat, but the girl loves her baseball hats too. We ride our horses multiple times a week and Princess Chelsey always rocks a baseball cap at the barn – and I don’t think we’ve seen her wear the same one twice!

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A collective ‘talent’ we’ve really fostered together is the beautiful art of car ride karaoke. Just ask our committee members that attend events with us, we are highly entertaining (especially super early in the morning). We love to blast a good tune, crank up the volume and dance in our seats as we sing along. We have a pretty eclectic music taste too; here is a little playlist to give you an idea of what it’s like in our Shaw GMC Yukon:

“You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC

“Hello” – Adele

“Wannabe” – Spice Girls (Check out our dance party to this tune here)

“Thunderstruck” – AC/DC

“Downtown” – Mackelmore

“Chicken Fried” – Zac Brown Band

“Back in Black” – AC/DC

“Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE

As you can tell, we really love AC/DC, and I really love these girls. I can honestly say they are a couple of my closest friends now and I could not picture experiencing this year without them. Even on our weekends off, we still find ourselves spending time together (and usually wearing coordinating outfits of some sort) or constantly having an iPhone group chat going on – I even got to celebrate my birthday with them this year!

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Celebrating my 24th birthday

I am so thankful to have Queen Maggie and Princess Chelsey by my side through this adventure. I’ve learned from them, I’ve laughed with them and I’ve found two very special friends that I will always cherish.

We can’t wait to see you all out in the community in the coming weeks! Oh, and if you hear AC/DC anywhere near Stampede Park, that’s probably thanks to us :)

Much love & happy trails,

Princess B

P.S. Your 90’s Country Flashback song of the week is Heroes & Friends by Randy Travis. “My heart rides the range with my heroes and friends”

What’s your favourite classic fair food on the Stampede Midway?

Midway food can be one of our oldest and most vivid memories. You may even remember your first visit to the Calgary Stampede by what Midway treats you enjoyed. Some of the most classic fair foods have been around for more than a century – it’s true! Take a walk down memory lane as we look at some our favourite classic fair foods.

Corn Dog

The humble corn dog may be the all-time favourite food on a stick. With over 81,000 sold in 2015 it’s no secret that Stampede visitors love their corn dogs! The corn dog is so much more than a hot dog on a stick. With different varieties and additions (such as bacon, jalapenos, cheese, and even poutine!) you’ll be sure to find your perfect dog.

Corn Dog

Candy Apple

The first candy apple was made in 1908 and it has been a classic treat ever since. This crunchy and sweet treat on a stick comes in many flavours. From traditional cinnamon to blueberry the perfect candy apple is waiting for you to take a bite.

Candy Apples


Historians date the invention of fudge all the way back to 1886, which means this classic fair treat is even older than the Calgary Stampede! On the Midway you can find 25 different flavours of homemade fudge. From classic chocolate to exotic jalapeno lime the Calgary Stampede Midway has it all!


Mini Donuts

Although the history of mini donuts is uncertain, it’s no secret that they are a key part of the Midway diet. In 2015 over 2 million mini donuts were served up by our vendors. That’s a lot of donuts!

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede


An icy cold glass of lemonade might be the perfect way to beat the heat and quench your thirst. Fresh squeezed lemonade is hard to top, but with many so different flavours it’s easy to see why over 55,000 glasses were sold in 2015.


Baby goats, barrel racing and more at Aggie Days

Hey y’all, and happy Spring! You can sure tell it’s springtime when the horses start shedding and you can wake up to the “cheeeeeeeseburger!” call of the chickadee in the morning (I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s what they really say). Another sure sign is Aggie Days! We just finished a full week of spending time with the kids during the week and then the public on the weekend, and, just as I seem to say after every big event, I don’t know how it’ll be topped!

Stampede Royalty_Aggie Days_1

We’ve been looking forward to this week all year for the extra special reason that it would be our first event where we actually get to ride! Finally! We’ve been working hard all year with our princes, riding at least twice a week and building incredible bonds, and I don’t think it could have gone better. Of course the rehearsal run was a little nerve wracking, not knowing what exactly to expect, but I quickly discovered that my horse, Snoopy was just as excited as I was (if not more) to do his job and he took care of me the entire time. Turns out, O’Canada is his favourite song and he sure can dance to it (who can blame him), and as soon as we were out of the arena, I immediately wanted to turn around and do it again!

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Our amazing horse wrangler, Jessica!

We got to help present awards of $2,500 to two deserving schools for the Aggie Days Art Challenge during the rodeos

We got to help present awards of $2,500 to two deserving schools for the Aggie Days Art Challenge during the rodeos

We even unexpectedly became volunteers to demonstrate the barrel race pattern for the kids, which may have become slightly competitive between the three of us and our stick horses. Princess Bailee did manage to show everything that you were not supposed to do by running the wrong pattern and then knocking over a barrel (we’ll say it was intentional, for educational purposes).

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Every year, the Queens’ Alumni volunteer committee puts on their Giddy Up Aggie Days event: a free breakfast and exclusive access for special needs children. During the event, we got to spend some time hanging out at a photo booth with Darrel, the baby goat. We certainly couldn’t complain about cuddling that furry guy all morning! We then got to spend some time taking in Aggie Days, which was great! There’s so much to see and so many people passionate about what they do within the agriculture community that even the smallest visitors were excited to learn. We ended the weekend by spending Sunday afternoon at the Cowboy Up Challenge, presenting awards, and even getting to shoot the T-shirt gun…such responsibility. If you have never seen the Extreme Cowboy Challenges, I highly suggest taking one in; those horses are braver than I think I could even be!

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Aggie Days_Stampede Royalty_5

Only 87 days until Stampede!


Princess Chelsey

We love our volunteers

It’s National Volunteer Week - and it should be said out loud that the Calgary Stampede loves our volunteers.

Volunteer Love Big Four Screen v4

When we talk about our volunteers, we have some big, impressive numbers. More than 2,300 volunteers. Forty-nine volunteer committees. They flip more than 200,000 pancakes in a year. Forty-five per cent give more than 100 hours in a year. They spearhead or support more than 300 community events (that’s in addition to all the Stampede-time programming they do, like the Parade, BMO Kids’ Day Breakfast, just about every agriculture event and exhibit and much more). More than 170 of our volunteers have given more than 35 YEARS of service to the Stampede.

The numbers are big. But of course every one of those people and every one of those hours have a lot heart and humanity behind them. They care deeply about the community and have a passion for the Calgary Stampede.

Last year during Stampede, Bill Gray, president and chairman of the board (a 30-year volunteer himself!), created the President’s Certificate of Appreciation. Meet a few of our extraordinary volunteers and learn more in the following video. Happy National Volunteer Appreciate Week to all!

Everything New is Old Again, The Young Canadians spring show

On Sunday, April 10 and Monday, April 11, The Young Canadians perform their spring show, Everything New is Old Again at the new Bella Auditorium at Mt Royal University. Robin Murray, 14 and Tiannin Chan, 13, tell us about the show. You can get your tickets here!

Calgary Stampede: Tell us about the title.

Tiannin Chan: Everything New is Old Again, will twist current hits into the musical styles of the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Think Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Thrift Shop as 40′s jazz or the Fresh Prince of Bell Air as 20’s rag time.

As well as twisting new to old, we will flip some old classics on their head.

This show was inspired by New York-based Postmodern Jukebox led by frontman Scott Bradlee. Postmodern Jukebox posts weekly covers of recent pop songs with jazz or other genre variations. In January 2016, the Postmodern Jukebox YouTube channel surpassed 400 million views. The group is currently on a world-wide tour.

Young Canadians rehearsal What's Old is New Again April 2016

CS: What will the costumes be like?

Robin Murray: The costumes are an eclectic variety that ranges from traditional dance costumes to western wear to vintage.

CS: What’s it like performing at the Bella Concert Hall?

RM: Everything New is Old New Again will be the first production that The Young Canadians will have performed at the Bella Concert Hall. This venue is brand new and we are super excited to be performing on this stage.

CS: Sounds like a fun show.

TC: Yes! We are excited to be working on this show and twisting up new and old music.  The audience will hear music they recognize and will enjoy hearing it in a new style and seeing different style of dance that complement the music.

Calgary Stampede’s new bridge wins Award of Merit for innovative design

A new bridge that spans the Elbow River, from main Stampede Park to the Stampede’s new ENMAX Park, was recognized by the Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) for its thoughtful design that accommodates western lifestyle and flood resistance. The bridge was completed in June 2015, just in time for Stampede, to replace the old “blue bridge” that was lost during the flood of 2013.

Members of the bridge construction team accepting the CEA’s Award of Merit

Members of the bridge construction team accepting the CEA’s Award of Merit

I spoke with Mark Bowen of Read Jones Chistoffersen Ltd. who accepted the award on behalf of the team and he told me about the planning and construction of the new bridge, and how the design accommodates all of the bridge’s different users.

The bridge connects Stampede Park’s ENMAX Park with the main land. Photo by Roy Ooms.

The bridge connects Stampede Park’s ENMAX Park with the main land. Photo by Roy Ooms.

Protecting the river while protecting Stampede Park from flooding

Based on its location across the Elbow River’s floodway, the new bridge was to be as flood-proof as possible. “Normal practice in bridge design is to lift the bridge deck above the flood level to minimize obstructions in the river. This project presented unique challenges in the mitigation of flood flows and the design of the deck to withstand the applied loads from flood conditions,” Bowen explained. Continue reading

Riding high in Houston with the Calgary Stampede

Canadian saddle bronc competitor Clay Elliott wasn’t too sure just how to react after his big Rodeo Houston win on one of the Calgary Stampede’s top horses.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Elliott told local media. “I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with $50,000.”

The Nanton, Alberta cowboy scored the huge paycheck by winning a ride-off in the finals on board Stampede Warrior. It was one of many notable performances by Calgary Stampede horses at the Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas. In total, Stampede horses competed 84 times in front of 1.3 million attendees over the course of 21 performances. And they definitely caught the attention of the cowboys and the crowd, as they do year after year.

Stampede Warrior competing at Rodeo Houston in 2014

Stampede Warrior competing at Rodeo Houston in 2014

“They captured an incredible 14 go-round wins and more than $110,000 in prize money in Houston,” says Robert Wise, director of Western Events & Agriculture for the Calgary Stampede. The highest marked ride of the rodeo was given to Austin Foss, who scored 91 points on the Reserve World Champion, Calgary Stampede’s Special Delivery. Continue reading

More than the Money – the Unique Partnership at the Back of the Track

John Walters isn’t easily shaken. A veteran chuckwagon driver, his previous career in rodeo included riding broncs and wrestling steers. But cowboy tough doesn’t always keep the nerves from getting to you. Especially when up on stage at the Calgary Stampede Canvas Auction.

“There are definitely some butterflies in your stomach. It’s nerve-wracking, for sure,” Walters said with a grin, clearly back in his comfort zone after the bidding had ended and he was teamed up with the  Brakeman Foundation for the third year running.

Photo courtesy: Larry Kwan

Photo courtesy: Larry Kwan

The Canvas Auction is a high stakes event. Pegged as a yearly barometer of Calgary’s economy, the money raised also plays a big role in the success of a driver’s entire season. Continue reading

New adventures, new home for Aggie Days!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kiss a llama? Or how a tiny bee can turn nectar into honey? At Aggie Days the answers, adventures and wonder await! And this year you will be able to find them in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

“The new location means a new way of exploring Aggie Days. As you walk through the Agrium Centre and wander through AltaLink Hall you will find new things to see and do,” says Aggie Days committee member Josh Traptow. “Our Aggie Days team has also been working hard to ensure there are brand new experiences for our visitors, many who join us year after year, but also familiar ones as well.”

Children can get up close and personal with a variety of animals at Aggie Days

Children can get up close and personal with a variety of animals at Aggie Days

Aggie Days is a place of wonder where children can see and learn about where their food comes from, how animals can be hard working helpers and of course, have a lot of fun. From farmers and ranchers, bee keepers to weavers, many different experts will be sharing their love for what they do and just how exactly it all happens. Continue reading

Meet Noran Calf Robe, Indian Village Tipi Owner from Siksika Nation

This year, Indian Village moves to ENMAX Park. The 26 tipis represent the five nations of Treaty 7: Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani. Each tipi has a unique design on the outside. Approximately 500 people will live in Indian Village during the 10 days, with daily performances adding another 1,000 people per day. More than 40 competitions and events take place in Indian Village during the July Stampede.

We caught up with tipi owner Noran Calf Robe whose family has been attending the Calgary Stampede for more than 100 years.

Visitors to Indian Village may recognize recurring tipis and owners year-after-year. The tipi painted with a buffalo belongs to the Calf Robes and has been a part of the Calgary Stampede from the beginning. Continue reading