"RING-A-DING-DONG DANDY" A Map of Stampede Wrestling
Launched by Edmonton-raised pro wrestler Stu Hart in 1951, world renowned, Calgary-based Stampede Wrestling (originally called Big Time Wrestling), was much more than a wrestling promotion in Alberta. Rather, for four decades it was a part of the province’s very cultural fabric. Several generations of fans followed the testosterone-fueled soap opera religiously and attended weekly matches on the Calgary Stampede grounds. Children bonded with their parents and grandparents, who had been watching the show for years. Kids roughhoused at recess, pretending to be their favorite grapplers. Certain mayors and provincial premiers counted themselves as fans and the show was a staple attraction each year at the famed Calgary Stampede.
This map documents the very real impact Stampede Wrestling had on Calgary from the 1950s to the ‘80s, focusing on key locations that tell the tale of the promotion, the Hart family, and the motley cast of characters who passed through along the way.
Kyle Beal holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2001) and an MFA from the University of Victoria (2004). His work has been exhibited across Canada and the USA in Montréal, Toronto, New York City, Calgary, Saskatoon, Seattle, Vancouver and most recently Kelowna. Notably, his work was presented in the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton) and the Esker Foundation (Calgary) among others. Beal currently lives and works in Edmonton, and is represented by VivianeArt in Calgary.
Heath McCoy is a Canadian journalist, author, and communications specialist. McCoy has written two non-fiction historical books about professional wrestling in Canada: Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling (2005) on Calgary’s iconic Stampede Wrestling promotion and Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport (a 2007 co-written compilation of essays) about wrestler Chris Benoit and his double-murder and suicide. Both books were critically acclaimed with David Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter declaring of Pain Passion: “I would rank it with any wrestling book ever written.”