The Blaine Canadian Sports History Collection
The Mount Royal Archives and Special Collections is home to a wide range of Calgary Stampede-related publications, records, and artifacts spanning from 1912 to 2018. These can be found in the Rodeo Series, part of the Blaine Canadian Sports History Collection, a new addition to the Archives consisting of over 7000 published and archival items relating to the history of Canadian rodeo, hockey, football, baseball, and golf. This exciting collection was donated in 2019 by Calgarian Bob Blaine, an avid sports collector. The collection is a rich source for research into the history of Canadian sport.
The Calgary Stampede, advertised as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", draws crowds from all over the world. The first Stampede was held in 1912 and attracted over 80,000 attendees, double Calgary's population at the time. In recent years, the Stampede has brought in millions of visitors. The 100th anniversary in 2012 broke attendance records with 1,409,371 people attending the grounds. Background photograph: Grand Stand crowd on Kid's Day, July 10th, 1954.
Early Rodeo Events
The first Calgary Stampede Queen, Patsy Rodgers, was crowned in 1946 and the competition continues to be a popular Stampede tradition. From 1946 until 1964, contestants were sponsored by communities and businesses. Supporters bought tickets to support them, and the winner was determined by whoever raised the most money. In 1964 the ticket sales were replaced with a skill-based competition where contestants competed in horsemanship and public speaking. The queen and princesses attend over 300 events during the year including parades, rodeos, trail rides, and media events.
Miss Flores LaDue (born Grace Maud Bensell) was a popular trick roper and Wild West Show performer. In 1906 she married Guy Weadick, a trick roper and showman, who is credited with the initial idea of a "Frontier Days and Cowboy Championship Contest" in Calgary. Weadick and LaDue were instrumental in planning the first Calgary Stampede in 1912. LaDue became the first World Trick Roping Champion and held the title for two years before retiring undefeated. She was known for popularizing the Texas Skip, a trick where the lasso is spun vertically and the performer jumps through the spinning loop.
Created with an image by Simeon Jacobson. "A bunch of us guys were working on the farm one day, and when we came in for breakfast we all threw our hats on this flower pot, and started exclaiming about how cool it looked. For me this picture shows how we felt when we were done". https://unsplash.com/photos/BF_Vxk1rHX4 All other images provided by MRU Archives and Special Collections "The History of the Calgary Stampede." The Calgary Stampede. Last modified 2019. https://www.calgarystampede.com/heritage/history/the-early-years Murray, Shannon. "History Moment: Calgary Stampede Remembers Some of our Greatest Female Contributors for International Women's Day." The Calgary Stampede Blog. Last modified March 2, 2016. https://www.calgarystampede.com/blog/2016/03/02/history-moment-calgary-stampede-remembers-some-of-our-greatest-female-contributors-for-international-womens-day/