Calgary Stampede cancelled for first time due to COVID-19 pandemic

Jess Lockwood, of Volborg, Montana, is bucked off Blackstone Afterparty in the bull riding event during rodeo finals action at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Sunday, July 14, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampede’s board of directors has cancelled the world-famous exhibition and rodeo this year because of COVID-19.

President Dana Peers says the health and safety of the community and the general public has to come first.

"It’s very difficult to be here today to share this announcement," Peers said Thursday at a new conference.

"It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do."

It’s the first time the annual celebration of cowboy life hasn’t been held in almost 100 years.

The show that’s been dubbed The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth attracts more than 100,000 people a day over its 10-day run, which includes a parade, a fair, a midway, a nightly rodeo and chuckwagon races.

It was to run this year from July 3 to July 12.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of many festivals and events across the country.

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