Cowboy boots // © 2012 Thinkstock
To get the most from the Calgary Stampede, you need to dress the part. Casual is the name of the game at Stampede time and visitors will fit in wearing almost anything — except a business suit or an evening gown. For those who have always dreamed of being a cowboy or a cowgirl, there’s no better place than the Stampede to learn to swagger in authentic Western boots and a 10-gallon hat.
The most important item of apparel at Stampede time is the cowboy hat. In Calgary, the white hat has become a symbol of the spirit of the city and has been supplied since 1940 by Smithbilt Hats. Smithbilt has designed a special “official white straw hat” for the centennial of the Calgary Stampede that comes with a red ribbon, a Stampede sweatband and a Stampede 2012 pin for $20. Those with finer tastes may choose from a selection of handmade hats or have one custom made for the perfect fit.
The top spot in Calgary to purchase Western boots is Alberta Boot. Alberta’s only Western boot-maker, the Calgary showroom contains more than 8,000 boots. If visitors can’t find exactly what they are looking for, they can order a pair custom made to fit their feet and design specifications.
For jeans, shirts, belt buckles and everything in between, visitors can shop at a number of excellent Western outfitters, including Riley McCormick or Lammle’s Western Wear. Also, this year, the Calgary Stampede is partnering with Roots Canada to create a special line of centennial apparel. The product line will be available at Roots locations and in the main Stampede store.