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Breaking Trail: Calgary Stampede

Howdy, friends! It’s time for the Annual Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Join us as we look into the history of this famous rodeo and explore the stories of the some of the cowboys and cowgirls who have been involved over the years. Thank you Dickinson Research Center for the photos!

Founded by Guy Weadick, the first official Calgary Stampede was held in 1912 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in an outdoor arena. Weadick was an American trick roper who saw the potential of Calgary being an ideal rodeo destination. Local businessmen financially supported the first Stampede.

Today, the Calgary Stampede is known for its Chuck Wagon Races in addition to the normal rodeo events. The top cowboys and cowgirls compete here which has helped solidify the Calgary Stampede as an internationally known rodeo.

Ed Echols

Ed Echols won the Calgary Stampede on his favorite horse, Ribbon. Echols had one of the fastest times at the 1912 Calgary Stampede when he roped a steer in 23 2-5 seconds according to the Billings Gazette. The Arizona Daily Star says he won $1500 at Calgary for “the best average and best single tie.”

Echols went on to appear in Wild West shows.

Ed Echols & Ribbon just after winning the first prize at the Stampede at Calgary, ca. 1920, Tad S. Mizwa Collection, Dickinson Research Center, 2001.036.102.

Turk Greenough

Thurkel James “Turk” Greenough was a talented Saddle Bronc Rider. In 1936, he was the first to capture the Triple-Crown of rodeo winning Cheyenne, Calgary and Pendleton in the same season.

He was most known for riding Five Minutes to Midnight on THREE different occasions as well as riding the infamous bronc, Midnight! Legend.

Greenough retired from competition in 1948, but still ran his own production, “Turk Greenough’s Wild West Rodeo.” He also helped with the National Old Timer’s Rodeo Association.

Turk Greenough on Hat Rack Calgary Stampede 1940, Turk Greenough Collection, Dickinson Research Center, 1991.047.12.

Jim Smith

James “Jim” Smith was a Steer Wrestler who competed at the Calgary Stampede in 1969. He was active on the PRCA circuit from 1961 to 1974. Smith competed in the National Finals Rodeo on four different occasions in 1966, 1967, 1971 and 1972.  

He was from Okemah, Oklahoma and settled on a ranch in Castle, Oklahoma after his rodeo career.

Jim Smith-Steer Wrestling-Calgary Stampede, 1969, PRCA Rodeo Sports News Photographs, Dickinson Research Center, 1998.008.5395.

Fox Hastings

Eloise Fox Hastings was active during the first golden era of rodeo in the 1920s. She was the only “Lady Steer Decorator” at the Calgary Stampede around 1935. Hastings competed in all of the women’s events in early rodeo in addition to steer wrestling! She was tough lady who wasn’t afraid to compete against the men.

The photographers loved Hastings because she always dressed nice and had great style. She was known for her big hats and “dramatic” clothing which can be seen below!

For more information about Fox Hastings, read our other blog post: “Women of the West: Fox Hastings.”

Fox Hastings Only Lady Steer Decorator Calgary Stampede, ca. 1935, Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs, Dickinson Research Center, 79.026.4003.

Happy Tegart

Happy Tegart was the Canadian Bareback Champion in 1968. In the photo, Tegart is shown competing at the Calgary Stampede in 1969.

He met his wife, Sharon while competing on the rodeo circuit in North America. Additionally, he was known for raising Charolais cattle and Paint horses.

Happy Tegart on Paper Doll, Calgary Stampede 1969, Perry & Hook, PRCA Rodeo Sports News Photographs, Dickinson Research Center, 1998.008.1605.

Interested in seeing Calgary Stampede Awards? Visit the American Rodeo Gallery at The Cowboy!

Here are just a few examples of the awards you’ll see in the American Rodeo Gallery from the Calgary Stampede.

Bob Crosby

Bob Crosby won this belt and buckle set at the 1928 Calgary Stampede. He was named the “Champion Wild Steer Decorator.”

Trophy Belt and Plate. Makers Unknown, 1928. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. R.214.55 A & B.

Dean Oliver

Dean Oliver was named the “Calf Roper Champion” in 1958 at the Calgary Stampede. He would go on to win the same title at Calgary in 1964, 1969 and 1976!

The Sick’s Lethbridge Brewery Trophy. C.A. Beil, 1958. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. R.234.2.

Paddy Ryan

This silver trophy cup was presented to Paddy Ryan at the 1927 Calgary Stampede. He was named the “Steer Decorating Champion.”

The Studebaker Trophy Cup. Oxford Silver Co., 1927. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 81.5.4.

Concluding Thoughts

Thanks for stopping by and reading about the history of the Calgary Stampede! I hope you enjoyed learning the stories of Ed Echols, Turk Greenough, Jim Smith, Fox Hastings and Happy Tegart.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of rodeo, see Richard Rattenbury’s Arena Legacy from Persimmon Hill store. You can also visit our American Rodeo Gallery at The Cowboy. The breadth of the collection is amazing – you can see trophy buckles, tack, clothing and more!

I hope you’ll join me again further down the trail for our next post as we look into more stories of the American West at The Cowboy!


Cover Photo: The event that made the Calgary Stampede famous-the chuckwagon race, ca. 1940, Frank Clancy Collection, Dickinson Research Center, 1991.034.33.


Richard C. Rattenbury, Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010)

Magazines & Newspapers

“Teddy Praises Miss Mulhall,” The Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana), June 24, 1915.

Bryan Painter, “Bulldogging Talent Spans Generations,” The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), July 19, 1992.

“100 Cowboys Are Entered in Rodeo,” Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona), November 14, 1915.

Jane Eppinga, “Pima County Sheriff Ed Echols,” Arizona Capitol Times (Arizona), April 25, 2008.

“Happy Tegart – 1968 Canadian Bareback Champion Passes,” Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine, August 19, 2011


“Four-time NFR Steer Wrestler Jim Smith Passes Away.” PRCA.

“Fox Hastings.” National Rodeo Hall of Fame. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

“Turk Greenough.” National Rodeo Hall of Fame. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Calgary Stampede Website

Jean Leiper. “Calgary Stampede.” The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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