2020 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge

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 is always tough, especially 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 on the morning of Sunday, July 5th, starting at 9:30 a.m.! Cowboy Up 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 who are selected to compete in the three go-round event.

*Sanctioned by the Craig Cameron Extreme Cowboy Association

Event Dates and Location

Event Dates: July 5–9, 2020
Move in Date: July 2, 2020
Location: Nutrien Western Event Centre

Details and schedule for the 2020 Cowboy Up Challenge are still in the works, but we invite you to submit a wildcard application if you wish to be considered for one our Wildcard spots.

Entry Fees

This is an invitational competition, limited to 10 elite riders who are selected to compete in the three go-round event. All competitors who have been selected to compete will be sent entry forms to complete and return to our Entries Office. 


Wildcard Application

Wildcard Applications are now open! If you wish to be considered for one our Wildcard spots, please fill out an application and return to our Entries Office.

  • 2020 Cowboy Up Challenge Wildcard Application
    • Deadline to apply is April 8, 2020
    • Please return your completed application to our Agriculture Entries Office via email or fax 403-410-4549. If you require assistance with your entry please contact our Entries staff by email or call 403-261-0336.


Important Entry Information

  • 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 2020 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge.
  • This is a double point show.


Equine Biosecurity Protocols

We take the health and safety of your equine athletes very seriously at the Calgary Stampede. As such, for 2020 we are implementing a mandatory submission of an Equine Biosecurity Form for all equine exhibitors. These forms must be filled out by all exhibitors entered into the Cowboy Up Challenge. We kindly ask that you return these forms to our office by Friday, June 12. 



  • 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.


Importing Horses to Canada

For more information on importing horses to Canada, please click here.


$30,000 in total prize money will be paid out! In addition to the prize payout, the Champion and Reserve Champion will receive custom made Calgary Stampede trophy buckles.

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

**All prize money is paid out in Canadian funds.

Important Award Information

  • All competitors will advance to the sudden death Finals.
  • The winner of the 2020 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 the Canadian Revenue Agency.
  • Non-residents of Canada may have the 15% withholding tax waived if they complete the following documents and submit them to the Canadian Revenue Agency. 
  • 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 of Go for the First Go Round will be decided by an electronic draw.  The order for the Second Go Round will be reverse of first. The order of go for the Finals will be reverse order of aggregate from rounds one and two.  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 zero. 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 final go round of competition.
  8. All prize monies will be mailed to the owner of the horses entered and paid in Canadian funds. Non-residents of Canada will be subjected to a 15% withholding tax on all prize monies awarded as required by the Canadian Revenue Agency. Non-residents of Canada may apply to have this tax returned by completing these documents and returning them to the Canadian Revenue Agency. 
  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) 261-0336.
  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 our Entries Office at (403) 261-0336.

Judging Criteria

Judging Criteria

The judging system will be based on the Extreme Cowboy Association judging system. To view sample obstacles click here.

2020 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge Judges

  • Peter Fraser, High River, AB
  • Kim Hazlett, Calgary, AB


Arrival At The Calgary Stampede

When you arrive on park for move in, your accreditation passes and parking passes will be available at our Accreditation Office. The Accreditation Office can be accessed through the Nat Christie Gate located at 650 25 Ave SE, Calgary. Entry to Stampede Park for move in is only through the Nat Christie Gate.



An official photo accreditation badge will be needed by all those granted complimentary Park access for the 2020 Calgary 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. Each Cowboy Up Competitor is granted one complimentary (free) accreditation pass as part of their entry. Any additional accreditation passes must be purchased on the entry application for a fee of $35.00 (inc. GST).  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 3-12, 2020.



Please reference our Health Regulations page for detailed information on transporting animals within Alberta and importing horses to Canada. If you have any questions, please contact our Entries Office at (403)261-0336.


  • 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 Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, please contact programming manager Tammy Botsford, (403)261-9316 or email tbotsford@calgarystampede.com.