All images are from the 1917 Medicine Hat Stampede
The passionate letter appeared to attract attention and another clergyman, The Reverend John Morrow, Minister of St. John’s Presbyterian Church, took up the cause and at a public meeting held to dis- cuss thematter emphasized in an address to the gathering, the need or importance of having a Stampede in conjunction with the Agricultural Fair. His plea struck a responsive chord. From that time on, any reference to a competition involving cowboys and their horses in Medicine Hat was known as a “Stampede” and the use of the generic term “rodeo” fell into disfavour.
A Special Meeting was held in January 1917 with a large and enthusiastic group of citizens and a Stampede Committee was formed with the stat- ed objective of “having the greatest Stampede inWestern Canada”. After months of work by one of the largest volunteer groups ever assembled in Medicine Hat, Stampede week started on July 9th, 1917. (Willcocks, p.14). A Stampede parade and Stampede Queen contest and open-air street dances andmore formal galas be- came part of the festivities.
“Turn ‘er Loose” became themarketing theme for the Stampede showing up on posters, banners and bumper stickers and by any standard, the first Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede was a tremen- dous success and by some accounts had put a similar event in Calgary “to shame” With Medicine Hat only having a population of 10,000, over 29,000 people paid to attend the four Stampede performances and its obvious success financially and otherwise proved to be the cornerstone for the current Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede, which continues on in similar fashion today but on a much grander scale.