The Calgary Stampede Powwow features some of the best powwow competitors from across North America — gathering July 12 – 14 at the 2022 Calgary Stampede. The competition builds daily until the finals on Thursday, July 14 when the top dancers in each category compete for a share of the $175,000 in prize money available.
Men's & Women's Fancy
Men’s and Women’s Fancy features fast footwork and energetic performances that catch everyone’s eye. Competitors in the Men’s Fancy category wear bright regalia with signature double bustles on their backs. Ladies Fancy Dancers have shawls with bright fringe and their movements mimic a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.
Men's and Women's Traditional
Men’s and Women’s Traditional dances have deep roots and meanings. Men’s Traditional dancers move to a two-step beat that shares stories of tracking animals or engaging in battles. Competitors in the Women’s Traditional category move in a circle, bending their knees to the beat. They move their elbows slightly to bring movement to their regalia and may raise their fans to certain beats in the songs.
Competitors in the Men’s Grass category move their feet side to side as if pushing grass down on a prairie (though the category name refers to braids of grass traditionally tucked in their regalia). Their flowing regalia follows this movement, with their signature porcupine headpiece (called a roach) on their heads emphasizing movement and catching the judges’ eye.
The Chicken Dance has its origins in the Blackfoot Confederacy. Competitors move in ways to evoke the male prairie chicken using staccato footwork and fancy movements to impress potential mates. The Chicken Dance is called Kitokipaaskaan in the Blackfoot language.
Women’s Jingle Dress competitors have regalia with hundreds of tin bells that ring out with each movement. It is known as a healing dance. Some jingle dancers keep one foot on the ground at all times, though contemporary competitors may jump higher and move faster to quick drum beats.
We couldn’t have a Calgary Stampede without a Cowboy Special! Dancers in this demonstration category mix cowboy gear and traditional regalia, moving to the beat with contemporary footwork and mimicking cowboy movements like riding horses and throwing lassoes.