The 2013 “come hell or high water” Stampede rodeo took place just after the flood of the century. It was the 100 year anniversary of the Calgary Stampede in 2012. So what is new for the 2014 “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”?
The tastiest foods ever. We’ll take a bite at those momentarily...
Instantly, the Stampede’s urbanity of collegial community is the result of an explosion. During its 10 day life, it balloons into - daily - 120,000 gawkers and walkers, making it Alberta’s third biggest city.
For those three or four folks who care not a whinny for horses but are loco for pogo, you’re in luck. The sport of extreme pogo – XPOGO – will be making its Calgary premiere, hitting heights and sights that are, geez – slap me a slice of that scorpion pizza why don’t ya - out of this world. Pros will pogo over high bars, across gullies, beside buildings, alongside oceans, off cliffs, into trucks - and that’s just on their way to work – you gotta see these stick-slick super heroes in performances…you’ll ooh and aah...
And if you hear other oohs and aahs, and grunts and moos and oinks and caws - that’s ‘cause kids are aping farm animals. The Stampede “Ag-tivity” brings farm to city.
Parents will gaze, dazed, as their small fry dig the pigs, while simultaneously pointing out the woolen heaps of sheep, cluck to the chickens, while heading for the goats, and go woof-wild watching the stock dogs stalking, while pleading to take all of these pets home. They’ll learn.
Get this: now your school kids can visit the Agrium Western Event Centre any old day of the year to be entertained and learned. Hopefully, more of the former than the latter, if the kids have any say.
And obey this maxim. Howsabout on your visit you check that diet and deep six that exercise regimen into storage and check out the NEW foods: like the long sausage – just under two feet; like Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ Skillets – whatever they are; like some thick, rich, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, On a Stick!; Like Deep-Fried Cheesies...God, this is rich.
I need more. OK, one more. Can I have a Deep Fried Donut Bacon Cheeseburger?
Is this stuff even legal?
One word of advice. Don’t dine then immediately dash over to try the Eurobungy or Slingshot rides. Wait five minutes. And don’t worry about creeping-waistline obesity either. The calories burnt salivating in anticipation of these goodies will offset the ones you add on. And even if that is a bald face lie, well, what price can you put on having happy taste buds?
Now, about that scorpion pizza. Scorpions can be fried and skewered. What’s the pay to kill these critters? Let’s move on. We've got bigger fish to fry.
Citizens in Toronto did not have a bone to pick but they did wonder what a huge white cowboy hat was doing floating in their harbor. It was boating evidence of Calgarians doing what they do best: promoting, while sporting the iconic cowboy hats, this upcoming Stampede, and all things Albertan, with a:
what’s #underthehat campaign...
“Mommy, look overhead. Why’s that man balancing on one hand? Why’s he atop six chairs and one stand piled as high as the sky? Now he’s doing a handstand. Now an L seat. Mommy, is that good luck?”
Mommy: “What the heck!”
It can only mean that the Calgary Stampede 2014 has roped in the fabulous and famous Peking Acrobats. Catch their act at the ENMAX Corral Show.
Or hunker down and try your own acrobatic act. Try riding a mechanical bull, while swigging beer and munching on BBQ foods. It’s all (fortunately?) possible at the new “Triple B” Stampede hangout.
Did you know that horses don’t inherently like to hang out with cows? That’s what the Stampede animal experts tell us. Yes, horses, quite often, are afraid of cows. They've got to live near cows for a while before they’ll start chasing them!
Speaking of being chased - clean, agricultural, air lovers should know that smokers will be corralled to designated outdoor smoking areas, away from the food areas.
Above it all is Danica Heath. She’s the 2014 Calgary Stampede Queen. To become this Supreme Being – she had to be more than just another pretty face. She had to ride well, speak well and comport herself well to be considered as Calgary Stampede royalty material. Danica has been promoting the Stampede throughout 2014 in places near to heart and home, and in far off places like Berlin, Germany.
Tourists: there’s fun watching just how much the local gals and guys get into it, festooned in blue jean outfits, bolo ties, and cowboy hats, not only on weekends but on weekdays too. Employers want their staff to giddyup and dress western, and partake of the many parties taking place. Let’s be charitable and say work productivity is kept to a “unique” pace during the Stampede.
Indeed, the festivities come, with Stampede breakfasts, even before the Stampede starts.
For horse hankerers, there’s a veritable feast of equines to admire. From heavy horse Clydesdales to speedy quarter horses, there’s a horse for every course. Now that thoroughbred California Chrome didn't win the Triple Crown he could, alas, be in the market for a new job. Perhaps he’ll come to the CS under the cover of darkness and find work looking good and snorting woulda coulda shoulda and “what ifs” for all and sundry.
With animals comes worry. The Vancouver Humane Society doesn't like the chuckwagon races or rodeo events. They think it’s all pretty nasty. And, unfortunately, they can be right: three horses died in a CS chuckwagon race a couple of years back. But the VHS can rest easier, and worry about animals eating each other to shreds in the troubled wild - for a yearly safety review found that both of these events are improving in safety stats.
Having perpetual and perennial trouble with each family member wanting to do everything at once? Puzzled, why there’s something for everyone – but that everyone wants to do, or see, or hear, or taste something completely different from the other? That’s the beauty of the Stampede. It brings out the daring doer in all of us.
Truly, there’s no substitute for the Calgary Stampede. It has it all. You may be in a conundrum about what to do next, but the volunteers and officials who help you are far from panjandrums. They’re friendly and helpful, amenable and swell.
So long as they point us to where the – leapin’ lizards, we can’t believe we want 10 more slices of this stuff - scorpion pizzas are at.
And that’s a wrap.