A Wild Ride: From the Archives – The Stampede in the 1980s


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The Calgary Stampede has long been a part of this city’s history. In recognition of this year’s event, on 10 weekdays (between July 4 and July 15), we’re sharing archival photo highlights and and events of note from the first 10 decades of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. This instalment: The Stampede in the 1980s.

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Bullfighter Michael “Smurf” Horton tries to distract an angry bull who is ready to give chase even though he is knee deep in muddy waters in the rodeo infield at the Calgary Stampede on July 14, 1989. Calgary Herald Archives.
Bullfighter Michael “Smurf” Horton tries to distract an angry bull who is ready to give chase even though he is knee deep in muddy waters in the rodeo infield at the Calgary Stampede on July 14, 1989. Calgary Herald Archives.

1980: The Flames NHL hockey team moved from Atlanta to Calgary, playing its first three seasons in the Stampede Corral.

1981: The Stampede had more than 2,000 volunteers.

1981: Calgary’s LRT was opened, offering convenient service to Stampede Park.

1981: The original BMO Centre was completed at a cost of $21 million.

1982: The Half Million Dollar Rodeo was introduced, making it the richest rodeo in the world at the time. It paid out $50,000 to the winning cowboy in each event.

1983: The Saddledome was officially opened as Calgary’s first Olympic venue and the new home of the Calgary Flames.

1983: Mickey and Minnie Mouse were parade marshals.

1983: free entertainment stage, now the Coca-Cola Stage, was opened in Sun Tree Park.

1986: The Stampede celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first exhibition in Calgary.

1987: Superdogs was added to the Stampede’s entertainment program.

— Chronology compiled by Karen Crosby, Norma Marr and Aimee Benoit.

1985: Mayor Ralph Klein and wife Colleen Klein ladle out chili during Kleins’ annual mayor’s Stampede brunch on Stephen Avenue Mall. Calgary Herald Archives.
1985: Mayor Ralph Klein and wife Colleen Klein ladle out chili during Kleins’ annual mayor’s Stampede brunch on Stephen Avenue Mall. Calgary Herald Archives.
Young Canadians: These young entertainers contributed colour and enthusiasm to the grandstand show, pictured here on July 4, 1984. Calgary Herald Archives.
Young Canadians: These young entertainers contributed colour and enthusiasm to the grandstand show, pictured here on July 4, 1984. Calgary Herald Archives.
Midway enthusiasts ride the Supercoaster, the newest ride at the Calgary Stampede on July 3, 1985. It was the largest portable rollercoaster in North America at the time. Calgary Herald Archives.
Midway enthusiasts ride the Supercoaster, the newest ride at the Calgary Stampede on July 3, 1985. It was the largest portable rollercoaster in North America at the time. Calgary Herald Archives.
Free pig races proved to be a popular event at the 1986 Calgary Stampede. Calgary Herald Archives.
Free pig races proved to be a popular event at the 1986 Calgary Stampede. Calgary Herald Archives.
These majorettes from Cranbrook B.C.’s Tri-School Girl’s Bugle Band put their best feet forward during chilly Stampede Parade festivities in 1989. Calgary Herald Archives.
These majorettes from Cranbrook B.C.’s Tri-School Girl’s Bugle Band put their best feet forward during chilly Stampede Parade festivities in 1989. Calgary Herald Archives.
The Bruce Starlight family at the Stampede; 1985. Calgary Herald Archives.
The Bruce Starlight family at the Stampede; 1985. Calgary Herald Archives.
Chuckwagon driver Tom Glass celebrating a Stampede win with teammates in 1981.
Chuckwagon driver Tom Glass celebrating a Stampede win with teammates in 1981.

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