The Calgary Stampede with Linda Ford

Today our guest is Linda Ford, who is here to give us some background on the rough and rowdy Calgary Stampede.  Linda will also introduce us to her Big Sky series and give away a book to one lucky commentor!

The year is 1912 and the hero of the story is Guy Weadick, a man born in New York. He ran away from his boyhood home to Montana where he learned to ride and rope and talk like a cowboy. Weadick considered himself to be ‘half cowboy and three-quarters showman.’ Along with other performers, he toured with a vaudeville troupe, barnstorming across the country and even performing in England.

Enter our heroine, Flores LaDue, the stage name of Grace Maud Bensell raised in Montevideo, Minnesota next to an Indian Reserve where she learned riding and roping early in life. At a young age, she ran away from home to join the circus.  A talented athlete, she was famous for roping five running horses while lying down on the arena floor. It is said Guy fell in love with her the first time he saw the petite horsewoman (she was less than five feet tall) hanging upside down from her horse while swinging her rope overhead. Flores was a little more reserved about committing to the re

lationship. She was an independent woman with no interest in marriage. Nevertheless, she couldn’t resist the handsome cowboy and they were married five weeks after being together. He was 21, she was 23. They were partners in a way that was unusual for that day and age. Guy treated her as an equal. After her death, Guy had these words place on her tombstone “A Real Partner.”

Back to the story of 1912. Guy was concerned that the cowboy skills of the West were disappearing as the flood of settlers increased. He approached the Canadian Pacific Railway livestock agent with the idea of staging a rodeo to preserve the old west. He talked some local ranchers into financing his venture and thus the Calgary Stampede was born. From the beginning Guy use this boastful brand that has continued to this day, ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.’ Guy considered Flores the business woman behind this venture. He considered himself the talker—the salesman.

Guy was determined this would be a Big show—$20,000 offered for prizes, 200 imported Mexican longhorn cattle, 300 of the meanest horses, a replica of the notorious Fort Whoop-Up and many other wonderful offerings. He didn’t want to leave out anyone and invited Treaty 7 First Nations to participate. The Stampede opened with a grand parade through the town. Among those watching the performances were the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and daughter, Princess Patricia.

Courtesy of the Calgary Stampede Archives

Top North American cowboy and cowgirl performers came to compete. Mexican Bandit Pancho Villa even sent his best rider.

A number of women contestants participated alongside men in events such as steer roping and bucking horse competition.

One of the most exciting events featured a local bronc rider, a Blood Indian by the name of Tom Three Persons. He drew the bucking horse, Cyclone, a big black gelding that had rarely been ridden. People shook their heads and predicted that poor Tom was done. The horse exploded from the chute and bucked his best but Tom held on and won the most important contest of the show.  The thousands of spectators erupted into a roar of applause.

Several competent trick riders gave Flores La Due stiff competition for the title of World Champion Trick and Fancy Roper but she won the prize in the end.

For some wonderful pictures of the Stampede and the people involved go to and search Calgary Stampede under the archived photos.
The Calgary Stampede continues to this day—still at tribute to the cowboy skills of the west.

My stories have never included the Calgary Stampede but do honor the cowboy life. My book, Montana Cowboy’s Baby, is out in July. It is the third book in my 6-book Big Sky Country series. It’s a story about a baby left on the doorstep of the hero with a note saying the baby is his. He knows it’s not. This series is set in Montana—in case you didn’t catch that—and features three Marshall young men, their sister and two close friends. Montana Cowboy Daddy was out in Oct. 2016. Montana Cowboy Family was out Jan. 2017. The fourth book—Montana Bride by Christmas—will be released in Oct. 2017. I am really looking forward to that story. It has many sweet elements. At least I think so. I’ve just turned in the fifth book and it’s about Annie Marshall’s friend, Carly, who is prepared to do anything to save her ranch and her home…including marrying a complete stranger.

I will be giving away a copy of Montana Cowboy’s Baby to one of those who comments on this post. (Or one of the earlier titles according to your wish).

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26 thoughts on “The Calgary Stampede with Linda Ford”

  1. Wow, I am excited to visit with you today, Linda Ford. See I don’t watch, television, it just doesn’t interest me. But I am an avid reader and authors are like movie stars to me so I’m so excited to see you here today, Linda Ford. I have really enjoyed reading your Love Inspired historicals and would absolutely love to read your latest,Montana Cowboy’s Baby. It’s so fascinating reading historical posts and thank you for posting today’s.

  2. I would enjoy your captivating novel. The Calgary Stampede interests me greatly since it is extraordinary, famous and very special.

  3. Thanks for this fascinating post about The Calgary stampede. I have read a great deal about this event and would love to visit and attend it especially this year which is Canada’s 150th birthday. What a memorable visit that would be.

  4. Being Canadian and having the opportunity to visit Calgary many years ago this was very meaningful and important. I would return to have this ultimate experience since I cherish the place, the history and the culture.

  5. Just wanted to let everyone know that Linda is experiencing some technical difficulties with leaving comments. She is reading them all and loving the interaction, but is just not able to post her replies. We are working to try to solve the problem, but she didn’t want anyone to think she was ignoring them. Hope to get this issue resolved soon!

  6. Love reading your books, Linda! The Stampede book sounds extremely interesting and I plan to try and get our local library to buy it for me to read. Enjoy your posts as always!

  7. I would have loved to see women perform those tricks and cowboy riding back then. You don’t see too many doing that anymore!

  8. Hi Linda! I am loving this series! You didn’t mention who this next book is about! I love the cover though! Anything with a baby on the cover is fantastic! So cute! Loved the post too! I look forward to reading your book – would love to win it…. even better!!!!

  9. My husband has been to the Calgary Stampede several years ago. He really enjoyed it. That was before he met me or I probably would have gone, too!

  10. Interesting information on the Calgary Stampede. I had never really thought about how it started. We were going to go in 2013 when we took a trip out West, but our grandson was with us and did not have the paperwork to cross the border. It has been on my wish list to attend for years. I am on their mailing list and hope to make it some day.
    We finally made it to Montana on that trip with our Grandson and really loved it. There is something special about the wide expanses that the West presents us.
    I do love the cover of a MONTANA COWBOY’S BABY. The other cover is nice. However, the interplay between the baby and the young man is precious. I will have to check out this series.

  11. Hi Linda, thank you for sharing on the Calgary Stampede. I have heard of it but never been. I have been to one rodeo in my lifetime and would truly love to go to more, but where I live they don’t venture out this way.

    I love the covers of your books, however, Montana Cowboy’s Baby is absolutely precious. I love to see daddy’s interact with their baby’s. Sweet.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  12. That was an interesting post on the Calgary Stampede. We have a rodeo here every year but without all the fanfare of the Stampede. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your book.

  13. Poor Linda still can’t seem to post comments, but she sent along a message for everyone:

    “I regret I was able to respond to your comments. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the Calgary Stampede. Yes, this year is Canada’s 150th birthday and I expect the Calgary Stampede will be bigger and better than ever with huge crowds in attendance. I go to smaller rodeos around the area that aren’t so big and crowded and enjoy them.

    I hope we can visit again some other time.”

  14. So very interesting! And I did go out and look at the pictures on, as you suggested. Love old pictures of people.

    Would love to read any of your books.

  15. I’ve never been to Calgary but for several years in the 2000’s our local PRCA rodeo had Chuck Wagon races featuring teams who compete at the Stampede. Great entertainment.

  16. It was great to learn about the Calgary stampede, I love learning history 🙂
    Thanks for the fun post and giveaway chance!

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