Calgary Stampede Finals

Calgary Stampede Rodeo Finals 6 Day RV Rally

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YAHOO! That’s the rallying cry of the Calgary Stampede! Fantasy’s fabulous Stampede Rodeo Finals tour gallops back into the Wild West of the late 1800s for the celebrated Calgary Stampede, ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!’ Affectionately known as ‘Cowtown,’ but never to her pretty prairie face, Calgary hosts 1.2 million annual visitors for this thrilling blend of Western Canadian heritage, dynamic contemporary entertainment and civic pride. It’s so much more than an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival.  It’s all ‘aboot’ crazy, cowboy madness in the extreme!

So what exactly makes it so great, you may ask?

Saddlebronc Rootin’, tootin’ rodeo for all!  The World’s Richest Tournament-style rodeo features a purse for six main events that happen every afternoon:  women’s barrel racing, bareback tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc and bull riding! Every daily win builds towards Showdown Sunday for a $2 million purse – rodeo’s richest afternoon.

Giddy Up!  It’s the Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon races followed by an epic stage show with headline entertainment.  Rock royalty, country legends and rising stars all grace this grand stage during Stampede. A hush falls over the crowd of 17,000 people daily in anticipation of the ‘A-WOOGAH’ blast from a mighty klaxon horn, kicking off nine heavy heats of frenzied, fast-paced chuckwagon racing.  The earth shakes to the roar of pounding hooves, drowning out all other sounds.

Chuckwagon Racing

Moments after the last wagon flies in over the finish line, the Grandstand show explodes with dazzling pyrotechnics to ignite the starlit sky!

In between the daily afternoon rodeo trials and chuckwagon races, there’s much to see, do and eat around Stampede grounds.  And it’s all extreme! The rides, games, free entertainment and even the food – there’s just no end to this crazy cowboy madness! This carnival prides itself on its ‘extreme food’ options. Creative new concoctions added each year compete with old crowd favorites   Fancy a bacon beer-battered corndog, a mac-and-cheese stuffed burger or maybe some butter chicken fries?  Oh yes, your cowboy boots will need to do some serious walking after all of this!

Photo Credit: Tye Carson

Let’s ride through Fantasy’s 6-day Calgary Stampede Finals itinerary. First, we stay at a stellar camping location with direct 24-hour C-train access to the Stampede grounds. On arrival day, we have our traditional orientation, get-acquainted party and welcome dinner.  This is served with the local twist of an Honorary Calgarian ceremony. On Day 2, we stomp over to the Stampede grounds to check out the Midway Carnival and Saddledome activities before taking our reserved seats for the World’s Richest rodeo trials – Round 1.  The place to be for dinner is in the Stampede Grounds Clubhouse dining room that offers sweeping glass views of the track, and we’re there for opening night. Before Stampede Park even wakes up, we head downtown for breakfast with a 360-view at Top of Calgary Sky Tower. It’s a sweeping panorama of the best of Canada: the bustling city, the proud Canadian Rockies, the curving foothills and the prairie heartland. While exploring the core of Calgary, we visit the Glenbow Museum to learn more about the rich and diverse culture of Western Canada through the museum’s extensive art, museum, archives and library collections.  Back to the action on the Stampede grounds for another recon of the Midway Carnival and Saddledome doings before Round 2 of the Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon races!  The night continues with the Entertainment Extravaganza in the Grandstand and closes with a fireworks and laser show.

Photo Credit: Tye Carson

Day 4 means the best of Banff on a guided bus tour of the Canadian Rockies, where elk and grizzly bears play in the splendor of Banff National Park!  There are plenty of photo ops at Bow Falls, and we enjoy lunch in downtown Banff before returning to the Stampede grounds.  An optional activity this evening is the Saddledome show with headliner entertainment. 

Oh no! It’s already Day 5, and we spend our last full day at the Stampede grounds before returning to our reserved seats for the World’s Richest Rodeo FINALS. Our Farewell dinner follows with live musical entertainers from the Rodeo Riders.

Hikers at Moraine Lake

Hikers exploring the trails around Moraine Lake near Lake Louise

Here are a few helpful tips for first-time visitors to Calgary:

  1. Dress Western like the locals do! Sure any old cowboy hat will do, but to blend in with the locals, it has to be white (and preferably dirty). And don’t forget your jeans and boots!
  2. The weather is variable, and no matter how warm the day may be, it will cool off at night. All the seats in the grandstand are open to the elements. All events are run – rain or shine.
  3. Many vendors on the Stampede grounds do not take debit or credit cards. The lines can be very long at the ATMs in Stampede Park, so consider bringing some Canadian cash with you.
  4. Download the free Stampede app to your mobile device to find out what’s happening around the Stampede grounds each day!

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin

This is one Rocky Mountain high you’re going to remember! Explore the unbridled, high-energy celebration of all-things cowboy and the Wild West; experience the safety, hospitality and staggering beauty of our great northern neighbor. Finally, cherish the memories of this adventure.

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