19 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
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: May 31 to June 4, 2018
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. It's the 50th anniversary in 2018.
Leduc Black Gold Rodeo, 4330 Black Gold Dr., 780-887-3235, blackgoldrodeo.com
Date: June 8 and 9, 2018
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.
Silver Sage Corral and Community Centre, 403-362-6415, brookskinsmen.ca
Date: June 15 to 17, 2018
Price: Rodeo admission $20; all weekend pass $80.
This year marks the 58th 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 21 to 24, 2018
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 65th year.
Wainwright Stampede Grounds, 780-842-4341, wainwrightstampede.ca
Date: June 21 to 24, 2018
Price: Adult rodeo tickets from $22; all access pass $140.
The Guy Weadick Days Wild West Rodeo is named for the famous rodeo legend who had deep connection with the Calgary Stampede and lived in High River. The event includes the pro rodeo, a cabaret, chuckwagon racing and a rodeo dance. The rodeo also features the 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 22 to 24, 2018
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 2018 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 26 to July 2, 2018
Price: Adult general admission from $23.
This year is the 82st 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, 2018
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 pro rodeo events. Get even closer by signing up for a chute tour that introduces you to rodeo cowboys and animals and explains how the events work.
Airdrie Pro Rodeo Grounds, 403-948-0512, airdrieprorodeo.com
Date: July 20 to 22, 2018
Price: Adult admission $15.
This year marks the 22st 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 25 to 28, 2018
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 131 years. Like the Calgary Stampede, there’s a parade, night shows (this year's performers include Corb Lund, Tanya Tucker and Joan Jett & The Blackbeards with special guests The Guess Who), 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 3 to 6, 2018
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 15th 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 8 to 11, 2018
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 11, 2018
Price: Adult rodeo tickets are $15, barn dance tickets are $10 and all-day pass is $20
This rodeo is an amateur competition with contestants from Canada and the United States who are first responders, including police, firefighters, paramedics and Peace Officers, or their immediate family. It's been going for 36 years. The afternoon rodeo is followed by a barn dance with Drew Gregory and Renegade Station
109 5 Ave. W., Cochrane, calgarypolicerodeo.com
Date: August 16 to 19, 2018
Price: Adult admission $15
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 Friday. 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 18, 2018
Price: Adult tickets are $30; students and seniors are $20
This event is just bull riding, but it is sanctioned by Bullriders Canada and it is paired with the Cochrane Fair (August 17 to 19) so there are plenty of other activities to fill the day. Midway rides, food trucks and beer gardens are at the Classic and the bull riding event is followed by a dance.
Cochrane Ag Centre, 43080 Bow Valley Tr., Cochrane, cochraneclassic.com
Date: August 24, 2018
Cornfest takes places from August 23 to 25 with all sorts of activities, including rides, a parade and a farmers market celebrating Taber's famous vegetable. Bull-a-Rama is on the Friday night at the Taber Agri-Plex with bull riding starting at 7 p.m.
Taber Agri-Plex, 6602 53 St., Taber, taberagplex.com
Date: August 24 to 26, 2018
Price: Adult tickets from $15.
This is Okotoks Pro Rodeo’s 27th 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 1 to 3, 2018
Price: Adults, $15; seniors and youth, $10
This rodeo goes over the Labour Day weekend with competitions on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and the finals on Monday afternoon. There's also a dance on Saturday night and Cowboy Church on Sunday morning.
109 5 Ave. W., Cochrane, cochranerodeo.com
Date: September 28 to 30, 2018
Price: Advanced tickets $20; rush seating $15.
There are plenty of attractions in addition to the rodeo itself, including a western art and craft show, pie-eating contest, 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