More than 350-thousand people lined the streets of downtown Calgary for the kickoff to "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth".

The 2009 Calgary Stampede began when Stampede Parade Marshall, home renovations guru, Mike Holmes, cut the ribbon with the roar of military jets heard overhead.

2,500 people were part of the parade.

There were 170 floats, 50 marching bands, and more than 700 horses in the parade that is the official start to the Calgary Stampede.

1.2-million people are expected to attend the 10-day event.

"We know from advance sales that we'll have visitors from every province in Canada, every state in the United States, and more than 25 countries around the globe," says Dr. David Chalack, Calgary Stampede President and Chairman of the Board.

This year's festival features a rodeo of champions, a new format for the chuckwagon races, a reinvented Grandstand Show, more musical performances, one of the world's most unique agriculture showcases, and more new family programming.

"Virtually every aspect of the Calgary Stampede has been improved this year," says Chalack. "When we sat down to create this year's Stampede, we knew we had to offer more new programs, more star power, and more value than ever, and we've really delivered. Our visitors will be blown away in 2009."

There will also be daily Stampede breakfasts and entertainment across the city as Calgarians don their Stampede gear and take part in the 10-day celebration.

This year's Stampede Parade trophy winners are:

  • Best Overall Parade Entry - Brazilian Community Association of Alberta
  • Celebrity's Choice Award - Alberta Building Trade Council
  • Best Western Entry - Guns of the Golden West, CAOS - Calgary Animated Objects Society "Spirit of White Buffalo", Chick Wagon
  • Most Creative Entry- Stirling Hunted House, Coquitlam Festival Society, City of Vernon
  • Best Corporate Entry - Canadian Pacific " Puffer BellyEexpress", ATB Financial, Servus Credit Union
  • Best Business or Non-Profit Entry - Alberta Building Trade Council, Kensington Sun and Salsa Festival, Falun Dafa
  • Best Cultural Entry - Danish Canadian club, Ismaili Muslim community of Calgary, Trinidad and Tobago Organettes
  • Best Municipality Entry - City of Cranbrook, City of Vernon, City of Kimberly/Chamber of Commerce
  • Best Horse Entry - MT Stables

The Calgary Stampede also presented awards to the top six showbands that participated in the Stampede Parade.

"The Calgary Stampede parade is world-renowned, so we attract great bands from all over," says Michelle Wilton, Chair of the Visiting Bands Committee. "The calibre of bands this year is very high and really put out some fantastic performances."

Nineteen showbands, including one from Australia and one from Taiwan, took part in the parade. Band entries were judged on musicality, form, and appearance.

The results from the judging are as follows:

  • Best Senior Band - Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts
  • Best Junior Band - Burnaby North Secondary School Marching Band
  • Best Pipe Band - Calgary Police Service Pipe Band
  • Best Overall Band - Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts
  • Best Canadian Band - Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts
  • Best Band Auxiliary - Chien Kuo Senior High School Marching Band (Taipei, Taiwan)

The Marching Showbands in Competition will be held in the Pengrowth Saddledome on July 7th, beginning at 1 p.m. with the finals starting at 6 p.m.

Participating in the competition are: Calgary Stetson Show Band, Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts, Calgary Round Up Band, Red Deer Royals Marching Band and Chein Kuo Marching Band.

For more information, visit the Calgary Stampede's website: