The Calgary Stampede



cowboy :: cowboyThe “Wild West,” as we know it from Hollywood westerns, did not last a long time. Its height was from about 1865 to 1885, or only twenty years. By 1885, there were railways across the plains, fences had been built around farms and ranches and lawmen were on the lookout for any troublemakers. Not only that, but by 1885 nearly all the buffalo had been killed, and most of the Indians were on reservations.

Still the “Wild West’ had captured the imagination of the reading public. A former buffalo hunter and Indian scout, Buffalo Bill Cody, decided to take advantage of his fame as a cowboy. In 1883, he organized “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show,” and toured North America and Europe.

Alberta, Canada had been the last part of the old west to be settled. But by 1912, ranching was being replaced by farming. The city of Calgary was itself becoming a commercial and industrial center. Old-timers looked back fondly to the old days of cowboys and Indians.

In 1908, the Miller Brothers’ Wild West Show visited Calgary. One of the cowboys, Guy Weadick, talked to local businessmen about putting on a rodeo and the Wild West Show. Eventually, four Calgary businessmen put up $25,000 each to finance the event.

Weadick was a good organizer. He advertised all over the U.S. and the Canadian west for cowboys and rodeo-riders to come. And with $25,000 in prize money, people came from as far away as Mexico. Weadick was able to persuade the Canadian government to let large numbers of Indians leave their reservations to attend. In fact, the Indians were a big part of the program.

The main rodeo events were bronco riding, bareback riding, women’s bronco riding, steer roping and bulldogging. These events were based on things that working cowboys actually did. But to make them harder, special bucking horses were brought in. One horse named Cyclone had never been ridden long by anyone. He had thrown 127 riders in a row.

Most of the rodeo cowboys came from the United States – from Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona. But there were also Canadian cowboys and some Canadian Indians competing.

Queen Victoria’s son, the Duke of Connaught, was the grand marshal. Many cowboys rode well, but no one could stay on Cyclone. On the sixth and final day, the grounds were muddy from rain, and the horses kept slipping. Cyclone escaped from his handlers and ran around the track. For this last bronco-riding contest, Cyclone’s rider would be Tom Three Persons. Three Persons was a Blood Indian from Southern Alberta. When Three Persons got on Cyclone, the horse would rear up, then plunge its head down to throw the rider. Cyclone acted as though it would topple over backwards, but Three Persons hung on. Then it hurled itself forward with its head almost touching the ground. After a wild ride of several minutes, Cyclone began to tire. The judges declared Tom Three Persons the winner of the bucking bronco event. Three Persons was the only Canadian to win a major event at that first Calgary Stampede in 1912.

Today, the Calgary Stampede continues to be the largest rodeo and Wild West show in North America. It has many new events and attractions and still attracts the best rodeo riders from all over North America.

1 thought on “The Calgary Stampede

  • Ranch

    Ranch
    Source 1
    A large farm, especially in N America or Australia, where cows, horses, sheep, etc. are bred
    A cattle/sheep ranch
    Ranch hands (= the people who work on a ranch)

    Source 2
    A very large farm in the western US and Canada where sheep, cattle, or horses are bred

    Be on the lookout (for somebody/something)

    Be_on_the_lookout
    Source 1
    Be on the lookout (for somebody/something)| keep a lookout (for somebody/something) (informal)
    To watch carefully for somebody/something in order to avoid danger, etc. or in order to find something you want
    The public should be on the lookout for symptoms of the disease.

    Source 2
    To try to make sure that someone is treated well:
    My older brother always looked out for me when we were kids.

    Buffalo
    Buffalo
    Reservation

    Reservation
    Source 1
    An area of land in the US that is kept separate for Native Americans to live in

    Source 2
    An area of land in the US kept separate for Native Americans to live on:
    A Navajo reservation

    Scout

    Scout
    Source 1
    A person, an aircraft, etc. sent ahead to get information about the enemy’s position, strength, etc.

    Source 2
    A soldier, plane etc that is sent to search the area in front of an army and get information about the enemy:
    He sent three scouts ahead to take a look at the bridge.

    Tour

    Tour
    Source 1
    to travel around a place, for example on holiday/vacation, or to perform, to advertise something, etc tour something He toured America with his one-man show.
    She toured the country promoting her book.
    Tour around something
    We spent four weeks touring around Europe

    Source 2
    To visit several parts of a country or area:
    We’re touring the Greek islands this summer.

    Old-timer
    Old-timer
    Source 1
    1 A person who has been connected with a club or an organization, or who has lived in a place, for a long time
    The jazz club always has a good mixture of old-timers and new faces.
    Synonym: veteran
    2 (North American English)
    An old man

    Source 2
    1 Someone who has been doing a job or living in a place for a long time and knows a lot about it
    2 especially American English an old man

    Fondly

    Fondly
    Source 1
    In a way that shows great affection
    Synonym: affectionately
    He looked at her fondly.
    I fondly remember my first job as a reporter.

    Source 2
    In a way that shows you like someone very much [= lovingly]:
    He turned to see her smiling fondly at him.

    Rodeo

    Rodeo
    Source 1
    A public competition, especially in the US, in which people show their skill at riding wild horses and catching cattle with ropes

    Source 2
    A type of entertainment in which cowboys ride wild horses, catch cattle with ropes, and ride in races

    Finance

    Finance
    Source 1
    Finance something to provide money for a project
    Synonym: fund
    The building project will be financed by the government.
    He took a job to finance his stay in Germany.

    Source 2
    To provide money, especially a lot of money, to pay for something [= fund]:
    The concerts are financed by the Arts Council.

    Bronco

    bronco
    A wild horse of the western US
    A bucking bronco in the rodeo

    Bareback

    back
    On a horse without a saddle
    A bareback riding
    Riding bareback

    Steer

    steer
    Source 1
    To control the direction in which a boat, car, etc. moves
    He steered the boat into the harbor.
    (Figurative) He took her arm and steered her towards the door.
    You row and I’ll steer.

    Source 2
    To control the direction a vehicle is going, for example by turning a wheel:
    He was steering with only one hand.
    Steer for/towards etc Steer toward the left.

    Bulldogging

    Bulldogging
    to throw (a steer) by seizing the horns and twisting the neck

    Buck

    Buck
    Source 1
    1 [intransitive] (of a horse) to jump with the two back feet or all four feet off the ground
    2 [intransitive] to move up and down suddenly or in a way that is not controlled
    The boat bucked and heaved beneath them.
    The shotgun bucked in his hands.

    Source 2
    If a horse bucks, it kicks its back feet into the air, or jumps with all four feet off the ground

    Marshal

    Marshal
    Source 1
    An officer of the highest rank in the British army or air force
    Field Marshal Lord Haig
    Marshal of the Royal Air Force

    Source 2
    An official in charge of an important public event or ceremony:
    Heston has been named grand marshal of the parade

    Handler

    Handler
    Source 1
    A person who trains and controls animals, especially dogs
    The police brought in dog handlers to join the hunt for the attacker.

    Source 2
    BO someone who trains an animal, especially a dog:
    A police dog handler

    Rear up

    Rear_up
    Source 1
    If an animal rears, it rises up to stand on its back legs [↪ buck]:
    The horse reared and threw me off.

    Source 2
    Of a horse: to rise up on the hind legs

    Plunge

    Plunge
    Source 1
    To move up and down suddenly and violently
    The horse plunged and reared.
    (Figurative) His heart plunged (= because of a strong emotion).

    Source 2
    To move, fall, or be thrown suddenly forwards or downwards
    Plunge off/into etcHer car swerved and plunged off the cliff.
    Both the climbers had plunged to their deaths.

    Topple

    Topple
    Source 1
    To become unsteady and fall down; to make something do this
    +adverb/preposition The pile of books toppled over.
    He toppled backwards into the river.
    Topple somebody/something + adverb/prepositionHe brushed past, toppling her from her stool.

    Source 2
    To become unsteady and then fall over, or to make something do this
    Topple overA stack of plates swayed, and began to topple over.

    Hurl

    Hurl
    Source 1
    To throw something/somebody violently in a particular direction
    He hurled a brick through the window.

    Usage note: throw

    Toss hurl fling chuck lob bowl pitch

    These words all mean to send something from your hand through the air.
    Throw to send something from your hand or hands through the air:
    Some kids were throwing stones at the window.
    She threw the ball and he caught it.
    toss to throw something lightly or carelessly:
    She tossed her jacket onto the bed.
    Hurl to throw something violently in a particular direction:
    Rioters hurled a brick through the car’s windscreen.
    Fling to throw somebody/something somewhere with a lot of force, especially because you are angry or in a hurry:
    She flung the letter down onto the table.
    Chuck (especially British English, informal) to throw something carelessly:
    I chucked him the keys.
    Lob (informal) to throw something so that it goes high through the air:
    They were lobbing stones over the wall.
    Bowl (in cricket) to throw the ball to the batsman
    Pitch (in baseball) to throw the ball to the batter

    To throw/toss/hurl/fling/chuck/lob/bowl/pitch something at/to somebody/something
    To throw/toss/fling/chuck something aside/awayTo throw/toss/hurl/fling/chuck/lob/bowl/pitch a ballTo throw/toss/hurl/fling/chuck stones/rocks/a brickTo throw/toss/hurl/fling something angrilyTo throw/toss something casually/carelessly

    Source 2
    To throw something with a lot of force, especially because you are angry:
    Demonstrators were hurling bricks through the windows.
    He hurled a chair across the set, smashing lamps and vases.

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