High spot of the Canadian summer for rodeo followers is the six-day Calgary Stampede, which draws tens of thousands to Alberta to cheer the toughest and best of rodeo cowboys. The spectators are rewarded with the thrill of sights like this wildly leaping horse, photographed at the peak of his bound by SI's Hy Peskin, who also made the other arresting color photographs on the following pages.
Calgary's rodeo is not only one of the most famous and spectacular of the year's big meetings but, like the Pendleton Roundup, which takes place in Oregon this week, and the three-week Madison Square Garden rodeo starting in New York at the end of September, it is one which rewards winners with some of the richest purses on the year-round rodeo wheel. These three rodeos attract some of the top hands among the roughly 1,000 professional cowboys who last year competed for $3 million at 600 rodeos—men like Casey Tibbs, Deb Copenhaver and Harry Tompkins.
At Calgary this year a record attendance of 482,281 saw the circuit-riders win $30,000 in prize money before moving on to other rodeos at Deadwood, S.D., Billings, Mont., Vinita, Okla. and scores more.
Clawing hoofs send cowhands scrambling during wild horse race in which the contestants try to saddle bucking, kicking horses and ride them across finish line. It is one of the most dangerous rodeo feats
September 19, 1954
In a wild-cow milking contest the riders lasso the animals while their partners rush to milk them
In steer-decorating contest cowhand leaps from his horse to slip a tiny flag over rushing steer's horn
Lurching steer fails to dislodge another rider after 10 seconds
Off goes the rider after he loses grip on cinch handle. He gained points by spurring mount on neck
Plunging horse misses fallen rider. At right, a boy competitor clings desperately to a heaving steer