The Calgary Stampede, aptly known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, is a 10 day long wonder. From experiencing my very first rodeo, to eating lots of unusual stampede food – I had a thoroughly entertaining weekend.
Although Calgary is a relatively normal city the majority of the year; when July comes around, the whole city flaunts its stampede spirit. Bars and restaurants are transformed into taverns, haystacks and line-dancers can be found in the streets and everywhere you look, there is an abundance of cowboy hats. Nevertheless, its not only Calgarians that embrace the stampede spirit. People travel from all around the world to experience the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
My First Rodeo
The Calgary Stampede invites only the best cowboys and cowgirls to compete at their rodeo. The rodeo events included bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, barrel racing and much more. All were spectacular. Nevertheless, the bull riding was the highlight of the rodeo for me. The cowboys made riding a raging bull look so easy and, in many cases, they were catapulted on to the ground. The rodeo concluded with wild pony racing in which a group of three junior cowboys try to tame a wild pony. The wild pony racing was the most humorous event of the day as, most of the time, the pony escaped untamed. The rodeo was three hours of almost uninterrupted fun.
The Evening Show
The evening show consisted of chuck-wagon racing and the Grandstand Show. Chuck-wagon racing is where a team of horses pull a chuck-wagon around the track. Lots of people in the audience were betting on and cheering for their favourite competitor. The atmosphere was great and the event was very entertaining. Nonetheless, the Grandstand Show was the most memorable part of the evening for me. This years performances included ventriloquism, comedy, magic and much more. The show ended with an exciting and extravagant firework display.
The Midway is home to numerous rides, games, activities and food-trucks. From riding roller-coasters at midnight to watching the sunset over the city from the top of the ferris-wheel, the Midway was a delight. Here’s my experience:
Music: Many talented artists came to perform at the Coca-Cola Stage which was situated at the Stampede Midway. The headliner, Billy Talent, was incredible to give an audience to.
Food: There were heaps of food-trucks that supplied both delicious and unusual food stuffs. Perhaps, the most bizarre was deep fried crickets. I was not brave enough to try these however, I did try deep fried Oreos, deep fried cheesecake, white chocolate mini doughnuts, a cookie dough burrito and a chilli-cheese dog. My favourite, and the most indulgent, was the cookie dough burrito. Essentially, it is cookie dough wrapped in cotton candy. What more could you want?
Activities: There were various rides such as roller-coasters, the ferris-wheel, the log flume and even a ghost train. My favourite ride of all was the West Jet Skyride which was a chairlift that took you from one end of the fairground to the other. From here, I could spot all of the rides I wanted to go on, and all of the food trucks that I wanted to try. Other exhilarating activities that I experienced include attempting axe-throwing for the first time. Although I didn’t hit the target, it was still a ton of fun. Additionally, I watched several shows at the Monster Energy Compound. The shows featured world-class motocross athletes performing crazy tricks and jumps.