We had, unwittingly, timed our road trip to coincide with the Calgary Stampede. Big bonus! So we hired a car and drove down from Jasper to Calgary, a journey that some rate as one of the most scenic trips you can make. But more of that in a later blog.
First day in Calgary we took ourselves into the City centre on the city train. Calgary has an excellent, inexpensive rail network. A 10 minute ride and we were in the centre and we’d have been forgiven for thinking we had arrived in Dodge City 150 years ago. Everywhere there were stetsons, boots, checked shirts and…as we entered the Main Street, a modern pedestrian through fare, cowboys and girls on horses. A parade was taking place and it was quite something to watch. The whole area throbbed with life.
After the customary beginning to our morning in Phil and Sebastians Coffee shop on the Main Street we entered into the fun. It wasn’t long before Chris decided he really needed some more of this action and was off to Lammles to embrace his inner cowboy. Polie, not wanting to be left out followed.
C/ Polie, I think I have found my true calling. A cowboys life for me. I so need a pair of boots. Look how many pairs they have in here! There is bound to be a pair to fit me and such a choice. And a checked shirt. I have to have a checked shirt. And a belt with a large buckle. Of course I’ll need a Stetson.
P/ That one may be a little bit of a pwoblem Chwis. And the boots? Fortunately they offer children’s sizes.
Lammles is the premiere supplier of what I would call cowboy wear. Walls of boots, jeans, shirts, waistcoats and of course, hats. They also seem to be a main sponsor of the rodeo. The shop was busy very busy and they obviously outfit a lot of would be cowpersons during the 10 days of the rodeo.
By the time we left the boys were ready to enter fully into the atmosphere. Right outside the store a line dance was taking place and visitors to the Stampede were being encouraged to join in. Chris took no encouraging.
P/ He’s such an enthusiast Wic. You have to admire his spiwit.
W/ Yes, he has little problem enjoying himself. I am not so sure about the rest of the line dancers.
P/ Yes, I think they got a little more than they expected when they invited Chwis to join the line.
W/ Oh well, he certainly looks the part.
The events in the city centre continued throughout the morning and died away as lunch approached which was when the Stampede was due to start. We hoped back on the Rapid Transit and were at the Stampede Park in 5 minutes. Apart from the stadium where the events would take place there were a Hugh number of stores and events going on. So many food trucks.
C/ It was so hard to choose. They were all my favourites. Burritos, pizza, burgers, bbqs, noddles, tacos. Such a hard choice.
P/ Chwis, I seem to wemember you made several twips to the stores and spent most the afternoon eating. Then there was octopus served as lollies, and scorpion pizza. Deep fwied evewything.
C/ I just wanted to embrace the whole experience Polie. Like, it’s not every day we get to go to the rodeo. Octopus lollies, delicious, but I drew the line at the pizza.
By the time the initial parade around the arena started we were seated with our seat giving us an excellent view of the events.
W/ Some of the events were just insane. We started with cowboys riding bucking broncos, with and without saddles. The goal is to remain on the horse for 8 seconds which seems a very short time but proved to be very difficult. The chance of injury must be high as cowboys fell and were thrown to the ground. Those who stay on the full 8 seconds are then marked for style.
P/ If that wasn’t insane enough, then came bull widing. Did you watch the guys dwessed as clowns who distwacted the bulls when the cowboys came off to give the cowboys time to get to safety?
C/ Respect to those guys Polie. They came within inches of those huge bulls that were kicking and charging. One kick would have been the end for you or me. I think I’ll just concentrate on riding a horse on the range.
Later in the afternoon we watched barrel racing where cowgirls raced their horse around a number of barrels at breakneck speed. The level of skill was awesome and the leaders were separated by split seconds.
C/ We also watch little dudes trying to mount ponies that were wild. I thought; “This is my event”. It was fun as teams of three tried to hold the pony long enough for one to jump on.
P/ It pwoved vewy difficult and most ponies escaped the children
C/ I can just see myself on one of those Polie, riding around the arena.
W/ Your a little short don’t you think Chris?
C/ Certainly not!
The afternoon session finishes about 5pm and then there is a break. And then chuckwagon racing and other horse races.
W/ A great day out boys?
C/ I really enjoyed it.
P/ Yes, vawiety and excitement especially as we’ve never done anything like this before.
C/ Yes. Have I got time for another burger before we leave?