According to official numbers, 1,216,859 people came to the Stampede. Kristen Anderson, Manager, Communications & Media Relations for the Calgary Stampede, said that while this year's Stampede numbers are slightly lower in comparison to 2019, she noted that 2022 was vastly different, but in a positive way.
"For us, it's not really about comparisons, because this is really our traditional back-to-normal Stampede with all those experiences that we all know and love about the 10-day celebration," she said.
Anderson noted that the opening of the Stampede, which saw Parade Marshal Kevin Costner ride in on his horse to lead the parade through downtown Calgary, saw record numbers. She added that although the financial side of things will not be known for some time, the Calgary Hotel Association shared with stampede organizers some very promising numbers.
"Calgary hotels were at a citywide occupancy of almost 90 per cent during those 10 days. This is a record occupancy for Calgary hotels during Stampede. Also, we're learning that guests were travelling from outside of Calgary again, so close to 30 per cent of guests travelled to Calgary from out of town, which is on par with our traditional visitation patterns."
While this year's number falls short of 2012, the centennial year for the Calgary Stampede, which saw over 1.4 million visitors to the Stampede grounds, Anderson pointed to the fact that this year's numbers are indicative of the trust people have in the organization and everyone's fervour to get back to celebrating and enjoying community events together.
With next year's Stampede a mere 353 days away, Anderson said that the recent news of the Calgary Stampede Foundation breaking ground on SAM Centre will propel the stories told not only about the Calgary Stampede, but also documenting the history behind the 100-year-old tradition.
"It's on time and on budget and scheduled for completion in 2023. We're really excited about the SAM Centre becoming the only year-round immersive experience that offers an instant look at the rich history of the stampede, and its role in our community," she said. "So many things that have attributed to the way we celebrate, so to have that center is going to be really exciting for us."
Asked if there is hope for another Hollywood star as the parade marshal in 2023, Anderson admitted, that topping Kevin Costner will be a difficult task, but a challenge that Stampede organizers are up for.
"It's tough to say who the parade marshal is going to be in terms of celebrity status, but it was a pretty amazing return to normal and for us to host Kevin Costner."