Calgary Stampede rides across three new commemoratives

RCM celebrates centennial of annual outdoor show in Alberta capital
Published : 06/02/12
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What is billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” is being honored on commemorative coins in Canada.

The Royal Canadian Mint is marking the centennial of the Calgary Stampede, a large 10-day rodeo and music festival in the capital of Alberta, with three new collector coins, released May 28.

The centennial event is scheduled from July 6 to 15, and is expected to draw more than 1 million attendees from Canada and around the world.

The founding of the Calgary Stampede is credited to American Guy Weadick, a former trick performer in a “Wild West” show who in 1912 convinced investors to stage an authentic display of ranching and farming skills and pursuits.

The event was rooted in an 1886 exhibition conducted by the Calgary and District Agricultural Society that was reprised several times before Calgary hosted the Dominion Exhibition in 1910. With the event a success, Weadick gained backing to launch the Stampede in 1912, but it was only held a few times before 1923, when it became an annual event.

The event grew along with the city (which experienced growth thanks to oil discoveries). Today, the Calgary Stampede includes a parade, rodeo, rangeland derby, chuckwagon races, nightly entertainment, agricultural exhibits and more.

The RCM is issuing a colorful, oversized 25-cent coin and two 5-ounce Proof coins (one silver, one gold) to honor the centennial.

The Susanna Blunt effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse of all three coins. The reverses of the three coins depict two different designs, with the two precious metals pieces sharing a common design.

Specimen 25-cent coin

The Specimen finish copper-nickel 25-cent coin highlights the saddle bronc riding event, with a Tony Bianco design of a “fearless saddle bronc rider and his high-spirited bucking bronco” seeming to soar above the city of Calgary at the foothills of the Rockies near the Broad Bow River, according to the RCM.

The rider is painted, wearing a bright yellow shirt, orange bandana, faded blue denims, worn brown chaps and light tan cowboy boots. His right hand clutches the braided rein, while his left hand rises above the mount.

The coin weighs 13.7 grams and measures 35 millimeters in diameter (compared to the circulating 25-cent coins, which are 23.88 millimeters in diameter).

The coin is offered only as part of a coin and stamp set that includes a souvenir sheet with a permanent domestic rate stamp showing a horse and western riding gear, and a $1.05 stamp (used for letters mailed to the United States).

The two stamps are among Canada’s first augmented reality stamps. Canada Post offers a “Stamps Alive” app at

As reported by Denise McCarty in Linn’s Stamp News (May 14 issue), according to Canada Post, when using the augmented reality feature, “the horse will appear lifelike on one stamp, while on the other you can compete in a virtual barrel racing rodeo event.”

The coin and stamp set are available “while supplies last” and have a retail price of $25.95 Canadian.

5-ounce coins

The Proof 5-ounce .9999 fine silver $50 coin and Specimen 5-ounce .9999 fine gold $500 coin share a common design by Michelle Grant (the denomination being the only difference).

The coin shows six-time world champion bucking bronc, Grated Coconut, in full flight, hind legs extended behind him, ridden by a bareback rider. A curling frame of intricate leather tooling inspired by the trophy saddle of Flores Ladue, wife of founder Weadick, frames the design. The Calgary Stampede’s CS symbol, with a sideways S, appears at the bottom, above the denomination. The entire image is framed by a raised circle of rope-patterned embossing.

The $50 coin weighs 157.6 grams and measures 65 millimeters in diameter. The $500 coin weighs 156.05 grams and measures 60 millimeters in diameter.

The silver coin has a mintage limit of 1,500 pieces and costs $495.95, while the gold coin has a mintage limit of 200 pieces and costs $11,999.95.

The Calgary Stampede and the province’s agricultural heritage are familiar themes on Canadian commemorative coins.

In 1975 a silver dollar marking the centennial of Alberta displays a cowboy atop a bucking bronco, with the Calgary skyline and an oil well in the background.

In 2002, a 50-cent coin (designed by Grant) honoring the Calgary Stampede was part of a three-year series honoring Canadian festivals; the coin, which coincided with the 90th anniversary of the event, shows the Calgary Saddledome, as well as a rider on a bucking bronco, with a chuckwagon racing in the scene behind it.

In 2006, Grant also designed the reverse of the Cowboy 50-cent coin. The twenty-fifth-ounce .9999 fine gold coin depicts a contemporary saddle horse with a rider, with a maple leaf underneath the pair.

Pricing, availability

Three United States distributors for the RCM carry the 2012 coins at fixed prices in U.S. dollars.

Gatewest Coin Ltd., Brian Jenner Inc. and Talisman Coins are all official distributors for the RCM.

To contact Gatewest inside the United States, telephone the firm at 204-489-9112 or visit it online at

Write to Jenner at P.O. Box 2466-a, Pasco, WA 99302, or telephone him at 509-735-2172.

Visit Talisman at the firm’s website,, telephone the company at 888-552-2646 or fax the business at 314-968-3801. ■

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