The Calgary Stampede’s rodeo roots

We recently shared the incredible story of tourist-turned-cowboy Tariq El Naga, which inspired us to head down to the Stampede and talk to athletes and attendees alike about the real origins of the Stampede — the rodeo.

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Living in the city I can’t help but notice that when most people talk about the Calgary Stampede they are often discussing some new outlandish food offering at the fair grounds, a music festival/concert they hope to attend or a club they plan to visit, but unprovoked discussion of the rodeo seems a rarity.

Make no mistake, cowboy hats and boots abound, and everyone gets to pretend they are a cowboy for a week or so, but that is for many where the western lifestyle element of the events meet their end. I think that very often in Calgary, folks take the Stampede and its rodeo roots for granted.

Since 1912 cowboys from far and wide have been coming to to test their mettle and prove who is the best and toughest in the business. It is a unique and gritty way of life that conjures memories of Western films and brings us back to childhood memories of pretending to be cowboys. People travel from all over the world not only as rodeo competitors, but also as tourists in droves, just wanting to catch a glimpse of a real-life cowboy in action. It is the stuff of movies come to life.

We recently shared the story of Tariq El Naga, a Dubai resident who came to the Stampede as a tourist, but when he saw the rodeo, he fell in love with the West and moved to Alberta to become a cowboy himself. His story is an incredible testimony to what many of us are likely missing in our own backyard, and it inspired us to head down to the Stampede and talk to athletes and attendees alike to discuss the real origins of the Stampede, the rodeo.

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