Sunday, July 10, 2011

Calgary Stampede, Part I

Family Day at the Stampede includes a pancake and sausage breakfast, free entrance into the grounds, and on the Grandstand Stage, the music of the Heebee Jeebees (whose harmonies were outstanding) -- and all of this before 9 am.  On entrance to the grounds Mati, Amir and I found the breakfast line-up, and then had to walk 15 minutes to reach the end of it, at which time, we snaked our way back to its beginning and entered the sacred gates to our receive our breakfast, which lived up to its billing of flat and free.

The charm of that early morning exercise for the 3 of us was watching how many volunteers it takes to feed breakfast to 20,000 people: volunteers giving out tickets to the breakfast at the 2 Stampede entrance gates, people holding signs to show where the end of the line is,  others along the way coaching those who were flagging with ‘the line is just around the corner, ... you are just about there’.  People were frying pancakes, grilling sausage cakes – one woman holding a syrup bottle upside down and giving a healthy squirt of it to anyone who trusted her to put it on their plates.

Stampede Like a Pro is the name of the book that is pre-delivered to every home in Calgary, tempting young cowboys and cowgirls to the grounds again with dreams of mini-donuts, or thoughts of winning a dream home, or just the reality of entering the agricultural tent to see the beautiful farm animals.  There are 17 different breeds of horses on display.  The Clydesdales are bigger each year, the quarter horses better groomed ... and the miniature donkeys smaller than the year before.

I was tempted by a first for me.  In the agricultural tent, the University of Calgary Veterinary School had a model of the back end of a cow, the last ¼ of the cow, at least, complete with legs and cowhide.  All who stopped to admire the model received the verbal invitation to reach into the anus of the cow and feel the head of a calf that was ready to be born. 

Weird I thought, and ... added in my mind, who would do that. Then I saw Dr. Mati lining up, rolling up his sleeve and getting ready to take a try at seeing if he could identify the head of the calf about to be born by feeling around inside. 

I was not going to have that happen without being in line right behind him.

Yes, the Calgary Stampede.

Always something new at the show.


PS.  If you want some of the old look of the music on the grounds, check out the Stampede band nostalgia on the Paladin's  blog today.


  1. I love going to the Stampede with you Arta as you have it down to a money saving art form. Love to find deals when someone else does the work. :)

  2. Well... This is bit of a variation on milking a cow... What's next? Will we see the the bull in action next year? :-)