2018 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge

This event has passed

Please see the up to date event schedule for current events

Did you hear the BIG NEWS???

The Cowboy up competition is moving to prime time in 2018! 

Now in the state-of-the-art Nutrien Western Event Centre, the competition will kick off on Monday, July 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continue Wednesday, July 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The finals follow the next day, Thursday, July 12, again in the prime spot of 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

The Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge is a multi-faceted equestrian sporting event that showcases both horse and rider as they maneuver through a series of obstacles. Each obstacle demonstrates both their amazing horsemanship skills and incredible speed. Held in the Nutrien Western Event Center, this event is the richest and most well attended Extreme Cowboy Race in the World. Competition will be tough with a $30,000 purse and $10,000 going to the winner of the sudden death finals.

We have also brought back more of the fun, fast and furr-ious Extreme Dog & Pony Race action. This unique Calgary Stampede western twist of cowboy racing fun will be held Sunday morning, July 8th and Friday July 13th! Cowboy racers are teamed up with some powerful pooches, racing against the clock in a bid to be the top dog & pony of the show!

This is an invitational competition, limited to 10 elite riders selected to compete in the three go-round event.

Automatic invitations are awarded to the following athletes:

  • Top three riders in the Pro Class at the previous year’s Extreme Cowboy Association (EXCA) World finals
  • Top three riders from the previous year’s Cowboy Up Challenge
  • Pro Division champion at the previous year’s EXCA US National Championship.

Where overlap in these placing occurs, up to two additional exceptional performers at the EXCA world show maybe awarded automatic invites. Additional invitations are extended throughout the months of April and May until the desired number of spaces is confirmed. These additional invitations may be extended to elite EXCA riders for a variety of reasons - including but not limited to exceptional or lifetime achievements, rising stars or filling desired niche roles.

Competitors who believe they are ready to compete at this elite level and are not yet invited for this year’s event are encouraged to submit a formal application for consideration. We strongly encourage applicants to include a detailed biography including accomplishments, wins and a video of you and your horse competing. This application pool will be used to fill any remaining spots. In a typical year, one or two spots are filled from this pool; some have gone onto become the Cowboy Up Challenge Champion.

*Sanctioned by the Craig Cameron Extreme Cowboy Association

Event Dates and Location

Event Dates: July 9–12, 2018
Move in Date: July 4, 2018
Release Date: July 12, 2018
Entry Closing Date: April 23, 2018


Tentative Schedule


Competitors Move in

FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2018

Competitors Move in


9:00 am – Competitors & horses must be moved into the barns

10:00 am - Competitors Meeting – Barn D

11:00 am - Competitor Photographs in the Barn (Mandatory)

SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2018

9:00 am – Extreme Dog & Pony Race – NWEC – Round one, five competitors (one hour)

11:15 am – Extreme Dog & Pony Race – NWEC – Round two, five competitors (one hour)

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2018

7 pm – 1st Go Round of Competition


7 pm – 2nd Go Round of Competition


7 pm – Cowboy Up FINALS

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2018

11:45 am – Extreme Dog & Pony Race – NWEC – Round one, five competitors (one hour)

1:45 pm – Extreme Dog & Pony Race – NWEC – Round two, five competitors (one hour)

All competition times are tentative and subject to change, any changes will be posted to this website.

The Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge is limited to a maximum of 10 riders: all horse and rider teams will compete against each other.

There will be no divisions based on gender or age.

Entry Fees

ENTRY DEADLINE: Monday, April 23, 2018

Entry fee is $400 per entry (non-refundable once entry has been accepted). Late entry submissions will not be accepted.

*Participants that have been selected will be notified by phone and/or email no later than June 5, 2018.

*Riders may only enter and ride one horse.

*Horses of all breeds are eligible to compete.  Mules and ponies are also eligible.

*All exhibitors must be a member of the EXCA at the time of the 2018 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge.

*This is a double point show.


Total prize money to be paid out is $30,000.

  1st Go 2nd Go Finals
1 $1,000 $1,000 $10,000
2     $5,000
3     $3,000
4     $2,500
5     $2,500
6     $1,000
7     $1,000
8     $1,000
9     $1,000
10     $1,000


In addition to the prize payout, the Champion and Reserve Champion will receive custom made Calgary Stampede trophy buckles.

All competitors from the two go rounds will advance to the sudden death Finals.

Winner of the Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge will receive an invitation to the Extreme Cowboy Association World Finals.

• Prize Money will be mailed to exhibitors following the show.

• All prize money will be paid in Canadian Dollars.

• Non-residents of Canada will be subjected to a 15% withholding tax on all prize monies awarded as required by Revenue Canada.

• Non-residents of Canada may have the 15% withholding tax waived if they complete the following documents prior to competing.

1. Canada Revenue Agency T1261E form

2. Canada Revenue Agency 105 form

• Should a prize be found to have been obtained and awarded in error on the part of the judges, clerk, or by false evidence or misrepresentation, or a violation of any of the rules and conditions, the money will be withheld or, if paid in error, same must be refunded.




1.       Special attention is called to the following:

2.      Order for the first and second gos will be decided by an electronic draw.  The order of go for the Finals will be reverse placing starting with the wildcard.  All ties will be resolved in accordance with the EXCA rules.

3.      The crowds and production elements (music, lights, etc.) at the event are considered to be part of the course, and each competitor acknowledges that they may be a distraction to his/her horse.

4.      A horse and rider who become separated as a result of a clear fall off in the performance of an obstacle will be disqualified from the round and will receive a score of 0. The rider will not be permitted to remount and will be excused from the arena.

5.      Traditional western tack must be used.  Mechanical hackamores, tie downs, martingales, cavessons, dropped nosebands and any form of gag bit or slip will not be permitted.  Horses are permitted to wear protective leg wraps, boots or other leg gear.  It is acceptable to ride bareback or without a bridle.

6.      Proper Western attire must be worn during the competition including Cowboy Hat (helmets also acceptable), cowboy boots, long sleeve button up shirts with collar and jeans.

7.      Awards will be presented at the end of the competition on.

8.     All prize monies will be mailed to the owner of the horses entered and paid in Canadian funds.

9.      This competition is open to horses of any breed registry and non-registered/grade horses.  Mules and ponies are also eligible.

10.  Competitor information packages will be available for pick up upon arrival at the livestock competitor entrance to the show grounds.  For alternative pick-up or delivery arrangements please call (403) 261-0162.

11.   There will be a zero tolerance of any inhumane treatment of horses or cattle while in the show arena or on the show grounds.  Any such action will be cause for disqualification.  Inhumane treatment includes, but is not limited to, excessive jerking, pulling, kicking, slapping or whipping.

12. If entry is cancelled, all fees will be forfeited.  Substitutions will be allowed for the following reasons only:

  • In case of a disabling injury to the horse, the contestant must furnish a certificate from a qualified Veterinarian declaring the horse disabled and unable to compete.  Such certificate must be in the hands of the Show Management prior to the start of the contest.
  • In the case of a disabling injury to the rider, or serious sickness or death in his/her family, Show Management must be advised in writing prior to the start of the contest.

If you require clarification or you have concerns about the previous information, please contact Agriculture Administration at (403) 261-0162.


Peter Fraser of High River, Alberta

Kim Hazlett of Calgary, Alberta

Judging Criteria

Judging system to be based on the Extreme Cowboy Association judging system

To view sample obstacles click here.



Entry to Stampede Park is via the Nat Christie Gate off 25th Avenue SE.


An official photo accreditation badge will be needed by all those granted complimentary Park access for the 2018 Stampede.  In addition to granting access to Stampede Park, the photo accreditation will indicate which restricted areas each person can enter based on individual requirements. The Agriculture Accreditation badge gives you access to the Grandstand Rush areas for the Rodeo, Chuckwagons, and Evening Show. The badge must be purchased on the entry application for a fee of $35.00 (G.S.T. included).  These badges are a privilege of the exhibitors, and will be limited.

Exhibitors are responsible for lost or forgotten badges.

The Agriculture Accreditation Badge will be recognized as entry to Stampede Park at all walk through gates for the entire Calgary Stampede, July 5-15, 2018.


All competitors must stall onsite during the event.

**Please note there will be onsite fireworks in the vicinity of the Stampede Park stalling area.

*There is NO camping allowed at the barns.




For information regarding transporting horses in Alberta please see:

Transporting Horse in Alberta

Alberta Livestock Transportation Documents

If you require clarification or you have concerns about the previous information, please contact Agriculture Administration at (403) 261-0313 or email bwarder@calgarystampede.com.

American Port of Entry – Sweetgrass, Montana (406) 335-2142 www.cbp.gov

Canadian Port of Entry – Coutts, Alberta (403) 344-3808 – www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

Documents for complete information see Health Requirements.

*Please note all competitors from the United States will require a valid passport.


Good-to-know Information about Calgary:

For information on Calgary please click here

For accommodation information for surrounding areas please click here.

For campground information around Calgary please click here.


For more information on the Cowboy Up Challenge, please contact Tammy Botsford, 403.261.9316 or email tbotsford@calgarystampede.com.