Sun sets on Stampede

SHAWN LOGAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

As the Stampede struggles to keep pace with last year's record-setting attendance, the event's president says there needs to be more focus on attracting the hordes of new Calgarians flocking to the city.

Despite hot summer conditions that saw the mercury soar over 30C, attendance figures flagged in the final weekend and as of opening yesterday needed more than 128,000 people through the gates to break last year's mark of 1,262,518 Stampede goers.

George Brookman said while he's not necessarily worried about breaking any attendance records, he would like to tap into the estimated 3,000 new Calgarians who come into the city each month.

"We want to make sure they're engaged in the whole essence of the spirit of Calgary."

Brookman said he believes the scorching weekend temperatures may have kept some young families from taking in the last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Stampede needs to concentrate on keeping veteran revellers coming down by keeping the show fresh and making sure they're entertained, he said.

"If it's 10,000 down or 10,000 up from last year, I won't be losing any sleep," Brookman said.

"Really what's important to me is those that do come down are entertained."

Likely the key turning point for this year's attendance was the final Saturday, which saw about 17,000 fewer people at the park than the same record-setting day in 2006.

Brookman said two pivotal moments will stand out for him from this year's show.

He said the 30 Hours of Tough campaign, which saw thousands of Calgarians don pink to raise more than $500,000 for breast cancer research, was magical.

"Just the whole idea of it choked me up," he said.

"Coming into the opening Sneak-A-Peek night and seeing the entire park in pink was incredible."

The unveiling of the 2008 Stampede poster of a proud Native male riding through the mountains, the first time the Aboriginal component has been the primary feature on the artwork, will also be a special memory.

"What we're seeing is a different side to the Stampede," he said.

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STAMPEDE ATAGLANCE

Attendance

2007 2006 RECORD

THUR. 47,139 31,308 89,158 ('92)

FRI. 92,242 86,070 107,268 ('00)

SAT. 123,132 134,693 177,207 ('77)

SUN. 150,420 146,490 171,784 ('99)

MON. 87,767 78,963 100,611 ('91)

TUES. 118,803 127,471 127,471 ('06)

WED. 134,544 123,035 148,512 ('89)

THUR. 107,737 106,711 115,126 ('88)

FRI. 129,209 144,813 144,813 ('06)

SAT. 142,938 160,253 160,256 ('06)

SUN. 122,711 132,052 ('01)


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