The heat, the fun, and the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth – that’s the Calgary Stampede! This is my first year in Calgary and my first Calgary Stampede – and WOW! It’s 10 days of non-stop entertainment (ok, and a bit of partying 😊) at the beginning of July every year. I’ve heard of the Calgary Stampede, but never had the opportunity to experience it first-hand. Now I know what all the excitement is about… Giddy up!

Last month, I was invited to perform country music – another first for me – during the Cowboy Up Challenge (an equestrian event that challenges horse and rider). I was excited to share some of my own music as well! The Cowboy Up Challenge was held in the Calgary Saddledome – home to Calgary’s hockey team, the Calgary Flames – and seats an impressive 19,000+ fans. This Calgary Stampede was even more memorable because it was the Stampede’s Centennial celebration this year. Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson was the Stampede Parade Marshall – and his love of Canada really showed as he led the parade.

I love the display of the Stampede Parade, seeing the beautiful Stampede Princesses, and, of course, the creative country and western fashions! I bought my outfit from Lammle’s Western Wear, which is THE go-to place to get your Stampede outfit, and the official apparel supplier of the Calgary Stampede. But, truth be told, I did NOT like the cowboy boots! They hurt my feet and I longed for a pack of Band-Aids at the end of every show. Everyone – including news anchors, executives, and who’s who – wear western-style clothing during the event. In fact, you’re the odd person out if you don’t!

There are so many events and places to visit in and around Calgary during the Stampede. Below are my top 10 for when you visit Calgary during the Calgary Stampede:

1. Take in a concert (or two). Some pretty big names perform in Calgary during the Stampede.
2. Watch the GMC Rangeland Derby, followed by the Grandstand Show
3. Have some fun at the Midway
4. Taste some of the adventurous (fried cricket, anyone?) creations at the Stampede Midway
5. Head to the neighbouring towns of Canmore and, of course, Banff and Lake Louise. You need to check these quintessential mountain towns for yourself!
6. Visit Calgary Tower and get a bird’s eye view of Calgary and the Foothills Mountains
7. Head to Lammle’s Western Wear and get fitted for your Stampede outfit!
8. Carb-up with a free pancake breakfast every day during Stampede 😊
9. Stroll through Prince’s Island Park – it reminds me of a mini-version of Central Park in NYC
10. Sip a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine at any of the fabulous outdoor bars and patios

Loads of love!

Sophie Xo