After the flood, comes the sun. Or in this case the Stampede. For a while we held our breath, unsure whether Calgary would be able to host its annual Calgary Stampede where cowboys—real, actual cowboys—compete in everything from bull riding to chuck wagon racing. Luckily, the water receded and this year’s rodeo is going ahead as planned, which is great news, because this Canadian institution has been happening since 1886, and every year, people travel from all over the world to check-out the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.
Like all good ideas, the Stampede started as a marketing ploy. At first, it was just a fair and exhibition, a way for local farmers to show off and trade their livestock. It wasn’t until American Guy Weadick organized the first rodeo – that’s where you watch strapping young dudes in plaid and Levis try not to get bucked off a bucking Bronco— that the event started to pick up steam.
The aim of those early rodeos was as much about showcasing the sheer strength and talent for those young dudes, as it was about enticing new immigrants to move West. For many, it represented a promised land and the Stampeded helped to convince them that leaving their city jobs in Toronto or their small farm in rural Manitoba was the way to go.
Over the 100 plus years that the Stampede’s taken place, it’s developed a distinct style that’s best defined by cowboy shirts, jeans, giant belt buckles and 10-gallon hats. Even Wills and Kate got into the spirit sporting matching his’n’hers cowboy hats when they visited the Calagary Stampede as part of their honeymoon tour back in 2011.
Giant belt buckles, 10-gallon hats and cowboy/cowgirl shirts (despite Isabel Marant’s best efforts) have never really caught on as a mainstream trend but almost everyone owns a pair of cowboy boots, or Western-inspired booties. Kate Moss helped make the trend popular in the early 2000s (they were paired most often with long, flowing Prairie skirts) and it’s never really disappeared. Durable, tough and good-looking enough to go with everything from your skinny jeans to your short shorts, cowboy boots are the bees knees.
This year, given everything our Canadian cowboys and cowgirls have faced, there’s no better trend to sport. Check out our Stampede worthy looks here.
-The Call It Spring Team