Expansion plans on despite this year’s lower attendance

theresa tayler/metro calgary


Stampede president George Brookman says this year’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth was an experience of a lifetime for him and he’s looking forward to the multimillion-dollar expansion plan for the grounds.

While the boots and hats have been put away for another year, officials are still celebrating another successful rendition of the Calgary Stampede that saw more than 1.26 million people mosey through the gates of the grounds.

Attendance was down by 11,413 from 2006, but Stampede president George Brookman said the numbers are nothing to worry about and that expansion plans are still in the works.

“If we ever saw a reason for expansion we saw it this week,” Brookman said yesterday. “There were times you couldn’t move in this park. We were about 1,000 people down a day from last year — which isn’t very much when you think about it.”

Brookman said Sunday’s thunder showers may have affected how many visitors came through the gates for the final night.

The Stampede has a $600-million expansion plan in the works that’s expected to be completed by 2020.

Brookman said a new casino and outdoor park should be open in time for next year’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

“The new Roundup Centre hall will be under construction next year during the Stampede and, hopefully, we’ll move forward with the new Ag(rium) barn,” said Brookman.

Brookman said the 2007 Stampede was an experience of a lifetime for him, with highlights that included the Tough Enough To Wear Pink Campaign, which raised $576,155 for breast cancer research and the unveiling of the 2008 Stampede poster.

The original painting sold for $63,000, with the proceeds being split between the artist, the Western Showcase and the Stampede Foundation.

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