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Weadick, Guy

This man was a Wild West Performer, promoter extraordinaire and creator of the Calgary Stampede. When Guy Weadick arrived in Calgary in 1912, the city was beginning to forget its cowboy history. Weadick understood that people were attracted to the Old West. With his wife, Florence (Flores) LaDue, a famous rider and performer in her own right, Weadick had worked the vaudeville (theatre) circuit all across North America and Europe, performing rope tricks in a fifteen minute western act. Yet despite his popularity in the United States and Europe, it would be in Calgary that Weadick would become both a local star and the founder of the greatest frontier celebration the West had ever seen.

In 1912, Weadick traveled to Calgary, where he put together a program for a frontier show. Confident that this "show" would be a success, he gained the support of George Lane, owner of the Bar U Ranch; two other well-to-do ranchers, Pat Burns and A.E. Cross; and Archie Maclean, provincial secretary. The first ever Calgary Stampede was set for September 2-7, 1912, when ranchers and farmers had finished the harvesting and would be free to attend. They spared no expense for the show. Weadick arranged for 200 head of Mexican steers, 200 bucking steers, and wild horses to be brought in from the ranches around Calgary. In order to attract professional competitors, $20,000 in championship money and world championship titles were offered - quadruple that of any other championship competitions in North America. Weadick was careful to ensure the involvement of the local First Nations as well, and nearly 2,000 Natives took part in the Stampede parade.

Following on the success of the Calgary Stampede, Guy Weadick continued promoting his Old West shows. He remained with the Calgary Stampede for the next twenty years - inviting the best rodeo performers, starting the first chuckwagon races, and offering top prize money. With his charming personality and vision, he made Calgary into the frontier town it now becomes for ten days every July. Although he spent a great deal of his life traveling around the world promoting his western shows and even went on to become the owner and operator of the famed Stampede Ranch south of Calgary, Guy Weadick will be most often remembered by Albertans as the father of the Calgary Stampede.

Guy Weadick

Guy Weadick

Guy Weadick at Stampede

Guy Weadick at Stampede