Calgary – As the temperature cools down in the evening, the action will be heating up at Stampede 2018 with the debut of a new showcase event, Sidesaddle Racing. For two nights only, July 7 and 8, guests to the Calgary Stampede Evening Show will see eight talented local horsewomen take to the track immediately following the chuckwagon races.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating a very traditional style of riding, in a very high-adrenalin way,” says Kynan Vine, Calgary Stampede Manager of Western Events. “Not only are they extremely skilled riders, but you will see they are also fiercely competitive.”

Wearing historically correct wardrobe and using sidesaddles that, in some cases, date back multiple generations, the women and their horses will race full speed around the track to the finish line directly in front of the Grandstand.

“Women have been riding sidesaddle for about six hundred years. It gave them independence and opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had,” says Lee McLean, who has been riding sidesaddle since she was a young child. “When we race, we are honouring the grit and gumption of those women as well as the glamour they brought with them to the west.”  

See Sidesaddle Racing in person July 7 and 8 as part of the Evening Show performance. For tickets, go to CalgaryStampede.com

The women of Sidesaddle Racing:

Anne Thompson is the owner of Laughing Horse Ranch southwest of Calgary and is a veteran of the equestrian world, participating in many events over the years. This grandmother believes in sharing her skills and knowledge by teaching young riders. 

Cait Bascom was born and raised near High River Alberta.  A wife and artist, she now calls southwest Saskatchewan home. Cait will be riding a restored sidesaddle that was built in 1885.

Erin Thompson Shields is a multi-talented horsewoman and veterinarian. A former Calgary Stampede Princess, Erin will be riding her great-aunt’s sidesaddle, which dates back to 1890.

Hailey Stewart is one of the youngest participants in the Calgary Stampede Sidesaddle Races. She has lived in the Longview, Alberta area all her life and enjoys barrel racing and training her own young horses.

Lee McLean is a wife and mother from southwest of Longview, Alberta. She has ridden and shown sidesaddle since the age of eight and has taught five of the eight event participants to ride aside, including her daughter Cait.

Michelle Rose lives near Didsbury, Alberta, where she is a riding instructor for dressage, hunter jumper and eventing. She also teaches her students to ride sidesaddle because she feels it helps make them more adaptable.

Ryan Kennedy is a native Calgarian who brings a competitive edge from her experience in sports and competitive riding. When she isn’t riding or volunteering, Ryan works as an equine therapist.

Sam Mitchell resides in Millarville, Alberta, where she spends her time as a horse trainer and artist. As avid community volunteers, Sam and her husband co-founded Skijor Canada, which hosts a charity event each year.

About the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west.  The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values.  All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

For more information, please contact:

Kristina Barnes

Communications Manager, Western Events and Agriculture

T 403.261.0382

C 403.585.4706

E kbarnes@calgarystampede.com