Late last year I was able to acquire Clem Gardner’s hat for our historical collections. Recently I have added another significant hat to the collection, from a cowboy that was just as well-known as Clem. The hat belongs to none other than Pete Knight!

Knight hat

The Late Pete Knight CS.006.94.29 001

Pete Knight was known as King of the Cowboys in the 1930s. He entered his first rodeo in Crossfield, Alberta in 1918 where he won second in bronc riding. He often went on to win championships, including at the Calgary Stampede. Herman Linder, a rodeo great himself, considered Knight one “the best riders he ever saw.” Unfortunately, at the age of 37, Pete was killed while competing in a rodeo in California.

Pete Knight, centre CS.007.97.32 FEATURE IMAGE

Knight still remains one of the legends and was a true icon for the sport. He is featured on the 1933 Calgary Stampede Poster and was even the subject of songs including by Yodelling Cowboy, Wilf Carter.

Knight’s hat was recently brought to me, along with a newspaper article that verified its history and some other memorabilia items. I very much appreciated that the previous owner reached out to me so that the Calgary Stampede could have this exciting piece in our collection.

Knight’s hat is interesting, as inside the hat band, we know it was especially made for him by local hat maker Smithbilt. You can’t get much better than that! Knight’s hat is also in great condition, as was Clem’s. I was even able to get it taken to Smithbilt, where Cody was able to give it a good clean and restore its original shape. Thank you Cody!


The hat will now have a home in the Stampede Archives, along with his trophy belt buckle from 1931, and other significant artifacts.

If you think you have an object that might find a great home in the Stampede Archives and collection, please let us know by sending an email to with a brief description and a photo or two.

Thanks to our Stampede family and valued community members, we are happy to say that we are fortunate to have a very comprehensive collection of Stampede pins, souvenir dollars and most of the posters (with a few notable exceptions!). You can learn more about our collections on our heritage website.