Science and Technology at the Stampede

The rodeo is impressive, but so are the technological, scientific and environmental advancements that are taking place behind the scenes


Composting bins at the Calgary Stampede.

Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede

Even though there are elements of the Calgary Stampede that feel like a state fair, its level of sophistication is advancing each year. Here are a few of the Calgary Stampede’s technological, design, scientific and environmental advancements worth recognizing.

The most technological show to ever come to the Stampede

More hoopla requires more technology.

This year’s TransAlta Grandstand Show Barnburner is the most technological show in the history of the Stampede. Produced by Emmy award winner Dave Pierce – he was the director of music for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics too – this year’s show is bigger than ever. To celebrate the heritage of chuckwagon racing, this show has live instead of recorded musical performances as well as extreme acrobatic and dance routines. And, according to Pierce, the merging of the Grandstand Show and the chuckwagon races is what “makes the show more technologically advanced than anything we’ve ever seen before at the Grandstand Show.”

Microchipping animals to determine their fitness to compete

The safety of the animals is of utmost importance. While not a new innovation this year, microchipping of horses continues to be an effective method of determining animals’ fitness to compete. The microchip allows each animal athlete’s veterinarian to monitor their performance, their wellbeing, their rest days and any therapy they’re going through.

Apps to plan your day

For those of us who haven’t eaten enough pancakes yet, your smartphone can let you know where to get more. This year, stay up-to-date with what’s happening when, with a free app that lets you know where to find the city’s pancake breakfasts during the ten-day festivities. Last updated on July 2, 2014, you’ll be able to find all the breakfasts that are taking place this year and that are in walking distance from your office. The Calgary Stampede’s official app also helps you plan your day with daily schedules and maps.

The Stampede goes (even more) green

Can’t finish that piece of scorpion pizza you bought on the midway? Don’t just throw it away.

A permanent composting program was implemented this year. After a pilot program took place successfully this winter where chefs separated organic material from other waste, the Calgary Stampede now sees PEL Recycling collect waste bins twice a week to deliver to the East Calgary Compost Depot. It’s estimated that this initiative will divert around 80 per cent of the Stampede’s kitchen waste away from the landfill to be reused in gardens.

Other green initiatives implemented this year include the installation of the Rain Bird weather irrigation system to save water and the establishment of a fruit park along the riverbank at the south end of the Big Four parking lot.

The new Agrium building

The new Agrium Western Event Centre only opened on June 21 and Bob Thompson, the president and chairman of the Calgary Stampede, says that science was heavily involved in the development of this building. The state-of-the-art building was designed specifically with animal safety in mind. Think slip-resistant concrete and special staging areas.

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