While the Calgary Stampede includes longstanding traditions, we believe in constant evolution and improvement when it comes to animal care.  Just as their owners are dedicated to providing care and nourishment while at Stampede Park, we are committed to providing the best and safest conditions possible for the animals participating in competitions and exhibitions.

One of the most comprehensive health and safety program initiatives in the industry, the Stampede’s Fitness to Compete program ensures that only the fittest and healthiest animals compete at The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth. Every animal at Stampede Park recieves an observational veterinary inspection each and every day, with the thoroughbred chuckwagon horses, Heavy Horse Pull competitors and rodeo stock all getting an even more thorough inspection. If at any time or for any reason an animal is identified as not fit to participate, they are removed from competition.

Cowboys Rangeland Derby

Fitness to Compete at the Cowboys Rangeland Derby

  • All chuckwagon horses are microchipped to track health inspections, rest days, veterinary care and drug testing.

  • All chuckwagon horses are given a thorough inspection by a team of veterinarians upon arrival at Stampede Park and each night prior to competition.

  • Chuckwagon drivers must submit a list of their competing horses prior to racing each night. Each horse undergoes a thorough pre-race inspection and can be scratched from competition if found not fit to compete.

  • Post-race inspections of all horses are carried out as they leave the track.

  • All horses are subject to random drug testing.

  • $136K in prize money allocated to recognize the drivers with the best safety records throughout Stampede.

  • Ongoing scientific research in partnership with the University of Calgary focused on learnings around horse health and track management.

Rest Days

  • Mandatory rest days are enforced for all competing horses.

  • If horses run for four consecutive days they must be given two rest days. Three consecutive days of racing require one rest day before a horse can return to competition.

Enhanced track maintenance

  • The Stampede track was rebuilt following widespread flooding in 2013, with extensive upgrades in 2016.

  • Continual maintenance takes place throughout each evening of racing with harrows of the track and grooming around the infield barrel positions following each heat of racing.

  • Ongoing year-round maintenance and testing, utilizing technology such as a hydrometer and ground penetrating radar.

  • Addition of a custom designed inner safety lane in 2022, using collapsible arms to create a buffer zone between the wagons and the inside rail of the track.

Driver Qualifications

  • Chuckwagon drivers are invited to compete at the Calgary Stampede with multiple factors under consideration including their race and safety records. Prior to 2016, drivers qualified solely on their race standings.

Other Stampede Agriculture and Western Events

  • Horses participating in the Heavy Horse Pull participate in the Calgary Stampede’s Fitness to Compete Program. As such, they undergo thorough veterinary inspections before competition as well as drug testing.

  • Animals in the Junior Steer Classic are subject to drug testing.

  • The overarching intent of our agriculture-related rules, regulations and procedures are to ensure the welfare of the animals as well as provide a fair and level playing field for all competitors in all events.

Stampede Rodeo Rules

Unnecessary Roughness

If at any time a competitor is seen to be treating an animal with unnecessary roughness, they could be fined or even removed from the rodeo.

Modified Tie-Down Roping

The Calgary Stampede uses modified rules in Tie-Down Roping, allowing the calf to be released almost immediately following the competitors tie. The is no required time for the calf to remain tied on the ground

Jerk-Down Rule

If a calf in the Tie-Down Roping is jerked off all four feet and its body touches the ground prior to the roper reaching the calf, the roper will be penalized and his run will not be counted.  

Legal catch

In Tie-Down roping, if the calf is roped anywhere other than cleanly over its head, the competitor will be penalized and his run will not be counted.  

Steer Wrestling – Dog Fall Rule

In Steer Wrestling if a competitor brings a steer down with either with splayed legs, preventing it from falling safely, or with feet and head facing in different directions, that is considered a ‘dog fall’. The competitor would be penalized with a no time.

Barrel Racing – Drug Testing

All horses competing in the Barrel Racing will be subject to daily random drug testing.