POLITICS

Royal Canadian Mint unveils silver coin to mark Calgary Stampede's 100th

06/20/2012 04:13 EDT | Updated 08/20/2012 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - A cowboy struggling to stay aboard a fierce bucking bronco symbolizes the spirit of the Calgary Stampede in a new coin struck to mark the 100th anniversary of "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth."

The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled the special edition dollar coin in Calgary Wednesday. It is 99.99 per cent pure silver and only 10,000 are being put into circulation.

"It's beautiful, I'm sure proud to have one in my pocket," said Bob Thompson, vice-chairman of the Calgary Stampede.

"The Canadian Mint obviously seeks out cultural, interesting national events that are important to Canadians. So we're very proud that they've selected the Calgary Stampede's centennial as one of their central themes for their new coin," he added.

The coin, designed by artist Steve Hepburn, depicts the Stampede's classic bronco riding event.

The Stampede runs from July 6-15 and begins with the traditional Calgary Stampede parade. This year's 100th anniversary parade marshal is singer Ian Tyson.

Since working cowboy Guy Weadick convinced four Calgary ranchers to help him launch the first "Frontier Days and Cowboy Championship Contest" in 1912, the festival — which became known as the Calgary Stampede — has hosted millions of visitors in a celebration of the romance and culture of the old west.

"For us, it's creating and generating obviously more awareness to all constituents in Canada celebrating that's something specific to the culture here and sharing that across the country and worldwide," said Patrick Hadsipantelis, vice-president of communications for Royal Canadian Mint.

"For us, it's an opportunity to showcase something that's important for Canadians."

The coins retail for $69.95 Canadian and likely won't be in circulation for long, he said, adding they are available to both Canadian and international collectors.

Thompson said the Stampede didn't have any input into the Calgary Stampede coin but added he is more than satisfied it has captured the spirit of the annual event.

"What this says to me is how successful and proud the Canadian public is with our institution," he said.

"One hundred years is a great celebration and I think this is a contribution to all Canadians."