On today’s date in 1912, Guy Weadick opened the first Calgary Stampede, which was billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” and “The Last and Best Great West Frontier Days Celebration.”
According to a 1997 story published by The Calgary Herald, the city built a rodeo arena on the fairgrounds, where more than 100,000 people attended the inaugural six-day event in September 1912. Hundreds of cowboys from Western Canada, the U.S. and Mexico were reported to compete for $20,000 in prize money, and the event generated $120,000 in profits.
While the first Stampede was held in 1912, the event’s roots can be traced back to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first exhibition.
The Stampede would not be repeated until after the First World War, in August 1919, when it was billed as the Victory Stampede and held annually thereafter.
CALGARY STAMPEDE COINS
In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $2 Fine silver coin commemorating the Calgary Stampede. The coin’s obverse, by Canadian artist Steve Hepburn, depicts a bull leaping out of the silver field with all four of its hooves in the air above a stylized cloud of dust. The Calgary Stampede logo appears below with cattle branding. The half-ounce silver coin has a 32.3-mm diameter and a 2.5-mm thickness.
In 2012, the Mint struck a five-ounce Fine silver coin with a face value of $50 and a diameter of 65 mm. Designed by Canadian artist Michelle Grant, it features six-time world champion bucking bronco, Grated Coconut, in full flight with his hind legs full extended. Grated Coconut is ridden by a brave bareback cowboy in chaps and cowboy boots, one hand clutching at the reins with only the harness and flying dressings between man and beast. Details like Grated Coconut’s “CS” shoulder freeze brand and “G-65” hip brand and the rider’s “1912” competitor number—a reminder of the Stampede’s inception year—come to life in a frame of intricate leather tooling inspired by the trophy saddle of Flores Ladue, who was Weadick’s wife. Circling the coin’s outer edge is a raised circle of rope-patterned embossing.