The Stampede Shakedown

as much as I love my budget and saving money, I love my city too

Calgarians have a weakness. It’s dressed in plaid and it smells like leather.

We call it – The Calgary Stampede.

For those of you who don’t know what the Calgary Stampede is, let me introduce you.

Have you ever been a part of an event that overtook your entire city? Where every single person planned to attend, and wanted you to join in on the festivities? Well, in Calgary that event has been what put us on the map, what causes controversy, and also what costs an epic amount of money.

There are admission fees, ride tickets, every deep fried food imaginable, and of course – booze.

Sure, it sounds like heaven and it smells like mini donuts, but it’s also the one thing that always busts my friend’s budgets. After all, just to enter this event costs $18. And once you’re inside, those prices keep on rising.

If you don’t believe me, maybe this $100 hot dog will convince you.

One of the many reasons the Stampede greatly affects my life is because my lovely birthday is during this event, every single year. In fact, it’s my birthday one week from today (gifts can be sent by etransfer plz).

It’s hard to avoid the year-after-year question of – “well we’re doing your birthday at the grounds right?”

Most years, I try to get away on a cheap vacation and avoid all of the craziness. But sometimes it doesn’t always work out and I get sucked in time and time again.

Which leads me to the following statement:

Changing your mindset from what seems like the best decision for you, and what seems like the best decision for your wallet is difficult.

As pricey as this hay-fever causing event is, it’s a part of our cities history. It promotes our culture, our love for celebration, and it never fails to bring amazing memories.

However, the greatest reason I still convince myself to attend this event over and over again (for the past 26 years), is that it brings in a lot of money to our (now-struggling) economy.

It supports local.

It celebrates agriculture.

It’s the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Most cities host events such as these to strike economic gold. Some choose massive sporting events, building stadiums, or hosting the Olympics ('88 for the win), but others need to be more creative.

Not only does the Stampede create jobs, a short-term economy boost, and neighborhoods coming together – it is a long term investment that has never failed to reach new peaks.

The advantages for our city are vast, but to individuals they can be daunting. And I understand that. After all, of the million other things we have on our summer bucket lists, attending an overpriced carnival would seem very low on the totem pole.

But the attendance doesn’t ever seem to suffer, with record-breaking levels in 2012 (1,409,371), and Calgary still keeping on pace last year (1,168,509).

And as much as I love my budget and saving money, I love my city too. So will I be staying away from the most expensive definition of FOMO this province has ever seen?


This year I will be busting out my cowboy boots, tossing on some jean shorts, and hitting the midway. For the love of country music, local vendors, farm animals galore, and enjoying a cold Caesar (so Canadian, eh?).

I hope you’ll join me.

What is the biggest event in your city? Or are you from Calgary and hitting the grounds this year?! Let me know in the comments!