Outside magazine, April 1995
The Calgary Stampede: July 7-16, Calgary, Alberta. Chuck wagon races, street dancing, and full-throttle carousing make this something of a cowboy Mardi Gras. A hefty cash purse lures top riders. Call 800-661-1260.
Cheyenne Frontier Days: July 21-30, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The granddaddy of rodeos, this 99-year-old midseason event sees some of bull-riding's most frenzied performances. Call 307-778-7200.
West Fest: August 18-20, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Smaller than most of the western rodeos, but showing off big-name International Professional Rodeo Association riders. Voted the best new rodeo last year. Call 708-941-8300.
Pendleton Roundup: September 13-16, Pendleton, Oregon. A big rodeo in a small-town setting. Pendleton has frontier charm, accentuated by the rodeo's covered-wagon parade and saloon-style gambling casinos set up in giant tents. Call 800-457-6336.
Grand National Rodeo: October 27-November 5, San Francisco, California. Also known as the Cow Palace, this is the playoff leading up to the finals. Tensions run high and riders rope, ride, and fall their hardest. Call 415-469-6065.
National Finals Rodeo: December 1-10, Las Vegas, Nevada. The high-stakes finale of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association season, with the nation's best cowboys scuffling to take home a chunk of the $2.8 million purse. Call 702-731-2115.