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The Calgary Stampede: Preview, Format and Watch

BY BRETT KIDNEY GARDEN @PRORODEOBRETT

One of the crown jewels of “100 Rodeos in 100 Days” begins a little earlier, in leap year 2024: The Calgary Stampede, with its $2 million prize money, begins on July 5, right in the heart of the cowboy Christmas season.

The rodeo participants are stronger than ever in all areas and in the second year with an expanded field of participants, it has become even more difficult to win the famous bronze medal in Calgary.

FORMAT

The Calgary Stampede has introduced a new format in 2023 that will continue in 2024. There are now three pools instead of two, with the top four from each pool advancing to Championship Sunday. Since the field in each event has expanded from 20 to 30, there is no longer a wild card on Saturday. Each athlete will compete three times in their pool, with the winner of each round receiving $7,000.

What you should pay attention to

Pool A

Bareback riding begins with a packed Pool A that includes rising rookie Weston Timberman making his Stampede debut alongside names like Cole Reiner, Kade Sonnier, Leighton Berry, Cole Franks and Mason Clements. There are only four spots, so some NFR-contending cowboys whose Cowboy Christmas was cut short by traveling to Calgary may not be able to make it.

Also in Pool A is Shad Mayfield, the top-ranked steer wrestler and tie-down roper in the world. Among Mayfield's opponents is four-time world champion, semi-retired Caleb Smidt. Tuf Cooper and John Douch are also in Pool A.

Saddle Bronc Riding in Pool A features three of the top five cowboys in the PRCA world rankings – Sage Newman, Lefty Holman and Statler Wright – not to mention four-time world champion Zeke Thurston, who ranks eighth.

On the women's side, legends Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Lisa Lockhart are both in Pool A, while Emily Beisel, who always seems to do well north of the border, is also in. These three ladies made up the top three at this rodeo in 2023.

Pool B

Pool B begins July 8 and brings a strong tie-down roping crew that includes 2023 NFR qualifiers Westyn Hughes, Shane Hanchey, Haven Meged, Beau Cooper and Riley Webb, the latter two being the reigning Calgary Stampede champion and world champion. Not to mention Trevor Hale and Dylan Hancock, two young stars who are both ranked in the top 20 of the PRCA world rankings.

Bulldogging is almost as tough, with 8 out of 10 competitors making it to the NFR since 2020. These include 2019 and 2020 world champions Ty Erickson and Jacob Edler, as well as Stetson Jorgensen, Dakota Eldridge, JD Struxness and Jesse Brown.

In the roughstock events, bull riding is the highlight, with world No. 1 and No. 2 riders Creek Young and Josh Frost set to compete. Saddle bronc riding will see world No. 1 Damian Brennan and six-time NFR qualifier Chase Brooks in town. And bareback riding will see veteran Richmond Champion, RC Landingham and Tanner Aus compete against up-and-coming stars like Bradlee Miller, Rocker Steiner and Cooper Coooke.

Pool C

The final round of competitors brings some of the best barrel racers in the world to Calgary: Jordon Briggs, Leslie Smalygo, Stevi Hillman, Kassie Mowry, Wenda Johnson and Hailey Kinsel are all in attendance.

Bareback riding includes Orin Larsen, Jayco Roper, Jess Pope and Dean Thompson, and bronco riding is no less successful: Canadian stallions such as Logan Hay, Dawson Hay and Ben Andersen compete against greats such as Wyatt Casper, Ryder Wright and Brody Cress.

Bull riding will be led by the return of 2023 world champion Ky Hamilton, and he'll be up against some equally flashy riders like Clayton Sellars and JR Stratford. Not to mention rock-solid veterans like Roscoe Jarboe, Jeff Askey, Tyler Bingham and Dustin Boquet. Every bull rider in this pool has made the NFR except Cooper James, and he's No. 1 in the Resistol Rookie standings.

WATCH AND SCHEDULE

You can watch every performance on The Cowboy Channel and The Cowboy Channel+ app. You can find the complete broadcast schedule here: HERE.

PERFOMANCE DATE TIME (ET)
Pool A, Round 1 5th July 3:30 PM
Pool A, Round 2 July 6 3:30 PM
Pool A, Round 3 7th of July 3:30 PM
Pool B, Round 1 8th of July 3:30 PM
Pool B, Round 2 July 9 3:30 PM
Pool B, Round 3 10th of July 3:30 PM
Pool C, Round 1 July 11 3:30 PM
Pool C, Round 2 July 12 3:30 PM
Pool C, Round 3 July 13 3:30 PM
Championship Sunday July 14 3:30 PM