20 Small-Town Summer Rodeos in Alberta
The Calgary Stampede is the big one, but there are plenty of rural rodeos to attend this summer. Depending on what it is you like, they might be even more fun.
A man on a horse in the rodeo ring at the Ponoka Stampede.
Photograph courtesy of Travel Alberta/Eppo Erkes
Editor's note: This article was updated on May 31, 2017
Even if you’re not planning on attending the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, you can still catch some rodeo excitement. There are pro rodeos in a number of small towns throughout the province, running into the fall, as well as other amateur events that are well worth attending.
Here’s your four-month calendar of (mostly) close, small-town rodeos.
Date: June 1 to 4, 2017
Price: Rodeo tickets from $15.
See pro riders compete in one of the season's early rodeos. Events at this rodeo include saddle bronc, bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, ladies barrel racing and more. As well as the rodeo events, this rodeo has a Saturday night cabaret, pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday morning, a barbecue on Friday evening and a family fun fair.
Leduc Black Gold Rodeo, 4330 Black Gold Dr., 780-887-3235, blackgoldrodeo.com
Date: June 9 and 10, 2017
Price: Rodeo tickets $15.
As well as the pro rodeo, this event includes a rodeo parade, beer gardens, fireworks and rides. There is also plenty of food vendors including Pooty's Poutine, Prairie Chuck Wagon Foods, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, and a rodeo staple, Mini Donut Factory.
Silver Sage Corral and Community Centre, 403-362-6415, brookskinsmen.ca
Date: June 16 to 18, 2017
Price: Rodeo admission $20; all weekend pass $60.
This year marks the 57th annual Innisfail Pro Rodeo. Over the three-day rodeo, expect four professional rodeo events as well as novice events.
Daines Rodeo Ranch, Range Rd. 284, innisfailprorodeo.com
Date: June 22 to 25, 2017
Price: Rodeo admission $22 per evening; Weekend pass $150.
Pro rodeo events, a parade, a cabaret and a stampede midway return to Wainwright for its 64th year.
Wainwright Stampede Grounds, 780-842-4341, wainwrightstampede.ca
Date: June 22 to 25, 2017
Price: Adult rodeo tickets from $22; all access pass $140.
This year's Guy Weadick Days Wild West Rodeo is a celebration of Canada 150 and rodeo roots. This year, the event includes the pro rodeo, a cabaret with Trevor Panczak, chuckwagon racing and a rodeo dance. The rodeo also features the third annual Guy Weadick Days Market, with vendors selling everything from baked treats to farm equipment.
High River Agricultural Society Rodeo Grounds, 403-652-7349, highriverag.com
Date: June 23 to 25, 2017
Price: Adult day pass $20; adult weekend pass $65.
This rodeo has it all: stock from a range of ranches competing, as well as mutton busting, a midway and a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning. As well as the competition, see the Cowboy Cabaret and other special acts, like the fireworks at dusk and the crowning of the 2017 rodeo royalty on Friday. Sundre Rodeo also has its annual BS Bingo tournament on the first day of the event.
Sundre Race and Rodeo Grounds, 403-638-3055, sundrerodeo.com
Date: June 27 to July 3, 2017
Price: Adult general admission from $30.
This year is the 81st anniversary of the Ponoka Stampede. Contestants compete in rough stock and timed events for the prize purse. As well as the pro rodeo, there are also amateur competitions, stage shows, a three-mile-long parade, fireworks, a talent show and more.
Ponoka Stampede Grounds, 403-783-0100, ponokastampede.com
Date: June 28 to July 2, 2017
Price: Adult general admission $17; five-day pass $80.
Just 20 minutes from Calgary, this rodeo is 100 per cent volunteer driven and your seats are right up close to the action. No need to bring the binoculars along to these events.
Airdrie Pro Rodeo Grounds, 403-948-0512, airdrieprorodeo.com
Date: July 4 to 6, 2017
This invitational bull-riding event happens each Tuesday and Wednesday before the Calgary Stampede kicks off. For close to two decades now, 30 of the top professional bull riders have attended this pre-Calgary Stampede event. The two-day event also has a charity component. The Sheldon Kennedy PBR Bullbustin' event is on July 6.
Ranchman’s Bullbustin Arena, 9615 Macleod Tr. S.E., 403-253-1100, ranchmans.com
Date: July 8 and 9, 2017
Price: Adult general admission $15.
Sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, this event has bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping and saddle bronc riding. (And be sure to return to Taber between August 24 and 26 for Cornfest.)
Date: July 12, 2017
Price: General adult admission $10.
This rodeo in Cochrane shows up-and-coming, four- and five-year-old bucking broncos. Think of this rodeo as similar to major junior hockey: like major junior athletes, the horses here are young and nearing high-level competition.
Cochrane Lions Rodeo Grounds, 109 5 Ave. W., 403-880-5381, cochrane-tourism.ca
Date: July 19, 2017
Price: Adult admission $15.
This rodeo has been an annual tradition since 1905. Initially a small community event, this rodeo is now sanctioned by the Foothills Cowboys Association. It is always held the third Wednesday of July. In the past, the day's entertainment included wild cow milking, pony racing, trick riding and an evening dance.
Dogpound Rodeo Grounds, fcarodeo.com
Date: July 21 to 23, 2017
Price: Adult admission $15.
This year marks the 21st annual Millarville Rodeo. Over three days there’s plenty of rodeo action as well as live music, dancing and family-friendly entertainment. And after watching the events on the infield, stop by the Millarville Farmers’ Market to pick up some fresh produce.
Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society, 306097 192 St., 403-931-3411, millarvilleracetrack.com
Date: July 26 to 29, 2017
Price: Adult rodeo admission from $20.
If you can't make it to the Calgary Stampede this year, head to Medicine Hat instead. It's a big one — the Medicine Hat Stampede has been running for 130 years. Like the Calgary Stampede, there’s a parade, night shows (this year's performers include Blue Rodeo and The Band Perry), a midway, and of course, the usual rodeo events.
Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede, 2055 21 Ave. S.E., 403-527-1234, mhstampede.com
Date: August 4 to 7, 2017
Price: Grandstand tickets from $15.
This rodeo has bareback riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, bull riding, tie-down roping, chuckwagon racing and more. This rodeo also hosts Running With the Bulls for the 14th year in a row. This is where ordinary people voluntarily choose to run away from a horde of bulls. This is the only event like this in Canada.
Strathmore Civic Centre, 122 Brent Blvd. 403-934-5811, strathmoreag.com
Date: August 16 to 19, 2017
Price: Adult tickets $25.
This rodeo has been around since 1926 and was started by the area's ranchers and outfitters. This rodeo has seven professional events each night, including team roping, saddle bronc, bull riding and more. As well as that, there's a fundraising barbecue, a stick pony parade and a pancake breakfast — proceeds support the Alberta Hospital Burn Unit.
Jasper Heritage Rodeo Grounds, jasperheritagerodeo.com
Date: August 19, 2017
Price: Adult tickets $30.
Come to this event if you want to see the really tough athletes perform. Thirty of Canada’s best bull riders ride the highest ranked bulls in this annual bull riding event. This is the event's 17th year. New this year is a week of entertainment leading up to the big event on August 19. The non-rodeo entertainment starts on August 14.
Cochrane Ag Centre, 403-932-3250, cochraneclassicbullriding.com
Date: August 17 to 20, 2017
Price: Adult admission $15; weekend pass $35
If you are planning on camping for a few days in Waterton Lakes National Park this weekend, make a point to stop at the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo on your way home. There's a team roping event on the Thursday and the pro rodeo begins in Friday, August 18. As well as the rodeo events, there's a rodeo cabaret on Saturday evening and kids mutton busting on Sunday.
Pincher Creek and District Agricultural Society, 403-627-4702, pinchercreekprorodeo.com
Date: August 25 to 27, 2017
Price: Adult tickets from $15.
This is Okotoks Pro Rodeo’s 26th year. This rodeo is 100 per cent volunteer run and hosts athletes from across Canada, the USA and around the world. The event is sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and is one of the final qualifying events for athletes hoping to compete in the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Okotoks Pro Rodeo Society, 403-938-1518, okotoksprorodeo.com
Date: September 22 to 24, 2017
Price: Advanced tickets $20; rush seating $15.
There are plenty of attractions in addition to the rodeo itself. Previously, the event has included pie eating contests, free pancake breakfasts, an all-horse parade and a dance at the curling rink on Saturday night.
Hanna Arena, 501 3 St. W., hanna.ca