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Calgary Stampede celebrates 100 years with grand opening of Sam Centre

The Calgary Stampede celebrated the official opening of the Sam Centre on Wednesday.

The centre immediately began captivating Don Taylor, who donated $15 million and named it after his dad.

“It took 13 years, in reality, but well worth the wait,” Taylor said. “(It’s) an incredible building and we are excited to be part of it. ”

Christine Leppard, Sam Centre manager of exhibits, said the 30,000-square-foot centre will bring “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” to visitors every day of the year.

“Sam Centre is a 100-year-in-the-making storytelling gem for the community. It is a space where year-round, those of us who are Stampede lifers get to come and get inspired by the stories of our community, and where people who are just getting acquainted or travelling here from around the world can have a little taste of the heart of the Calgary community.”

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Click to play video: 'Calgary Stampede announces midway foods for 2024'

Calgary Stampede announces midway foods for 2024

Leppard said storytelling will be a major part of what’s offered at the centre, but the main attraction will be the chance to be a part of the action.

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“You will put yourself into the Stampede parade through digital means. You get to add yourself to one of our iconic Stampede posters, learn the art of auctioneering, learn the art of trick roping.”

Taylor said he loves the immersive multi-media aspects that will allow people to experience the Stampede in new ways.

“It’s quite exciting and the floor shakes when the bulls come out and buck.”

The $40-million  building was largely paid for by private donations. The Taylor Family Foundation’s gift of $15 million is the largest on record for the Stampede.

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The province and federal governments each contributed $5 million.

The Sam Centre will open its doors to visitors on May 29.

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