Monday, July 16, 2007

Stampede Wrap-up

Living in Calgary this summer it was only natural that I enjoyed a few Stampede festivities.

And so the highlights of my attendance of The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth begins...

Thursday, July 5th, 2007
'Sneak-a-Peak night'
It was only $3 to get into the grounds (usually $13) so Emily and I decided to check out Nashville North before it got too busy. For those who are uneducated, Nashville North is a big tent on the Stampede grounds, you could call it a 'bar'... but really it's just a tent that requires you to be 18+ to get in. So we went, no line, woo! Also, our friend Jenn was working there, double woo! Unfortunately, her work uniform was a heavy denim shirt - BOO! Oh ya, said tent does not have A/C. In any case we had a decent time, the music was loud and lots of people were way too drunk. It reminded me of October fest, with the long tables and folding chairs, though there was country music and cowboys hats instead of polka and leiderhosen. So that was that, there isn't much to say about this evening because both Emily and I did have to work the next day. Oh but it did get interesting when I started teaching drunk guys how to sign 'You are a shit face'. "awkward"...

Friday, July 6th, 2007
First Official day of Stampede, Parade day!
On Thursday several co-workers instructed me that I was to go to the parade. No choice. Ok by me! So Michelle and I got up early and headed downtown to find a seat among the other 350,000 people that were doing the same. It was really sunny and there were lots of people but we found seats and began to wait... 1 hour later, the parade! There were so many horses. SO MANY HORSES. Every float had horses. Every type of horse, donkey, mule, EVEN a big bull. One of my favorite parts was the sheep dogs. There were 4 sheep in the parade and the 2 dogs just kept them all together following the parade route. It was cool. The dogs were, unfortunately, not cute. The bands were all really good, and the street cleaners added a nice touch. The parade was nearly 2 hours long! It was a good morning, AND I didn't have to work!

Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Rodeo Day!
The Stampede works as so: everyday there is a rodeo show in the afternoon and then an evening show (chuck wagons and grandstand show). This happens everyday, both are worth seeing. I went to the rodeo with Natasha and some of her friends - friends who knew stuff about rodeo! That was sweet - I learned so much! We saw calf roping, saddle bronc, steer pinning, barrel racing, bareback, bull riding, and wild pony chase! It was pretty cool to learn about everything and seeing it up close makes you really respect it, those guys gotta be some kind of tough! So that was that... then we headed (once again) to Nashville North before the line-up started.

Oh yes, as an aside, there is a sign in the Nashville North line that says "If you are standing here there is an approximate wait of 4 hours", yikes!

So we went, we drank, we danced! We saw lots of creepy old men, ew. It was a pretty fun afternoon though after I left I just wanted to shower.

Week days in between.
Pancakes at work every day... very little work everyday...

Friday, July 13th, 2007
Work Lunch, Chuck wagons, Grandstand show!
At work we hosted a big all-you-can eat beef-on-a-bun for all the site guys. We had a dunk tank, a band and lots of food. It was a pretty sweet day because I basically spent it setting stuff up! The dunk tank went over really well, we made lots of money for our fundraiser! The food was alright, I'm not so much a fan of the slow-roasted beef slathered in BBQ sauce, but it was free so no complaints. Oh yes, I got to leave work early, sweet!

Dave and Claire were coming for dinner so I busted it to Safeway and then headed home to get everything ready before I had to pick them up. I made steaks for Dave and I and chicken kebabs for Claire, everything turned out really well!

Then it was off to the Chuck wagons!
This event was really cool to watch. I have no idea where it came from but what a cool thing to see! Basically you have a wagon, with 4 horses in front of it and a guy on the wagon. Behind the wagon is your team - 3 people, each with a horse. So the bell goes and the 3 people at the back have to lift a range in to the wagon, the wagon goes, the team gets on their horses, they race around the track. The wagons passed right in front of us, they were going so fast!
After the chucks came the grandstand show. This is kind of like a big flashy talent show. There was singing, dancing, sequins, sequins, fireworks, sequins, fireworks and a ventriloquist... who was really funny. It was a little cheesy but the fireworks were incredible.

Saturday, July 14th, 2007
Basically I hung out all day and then met Dave and Claire for dinner and then we went to the famous Cowboys bar. Cover was $20 (OUCH) and drinks were $5.50 (DOUBLE OUCH). It was filthy, too loud, and way too pricey. There were these waitresses walking around with a stool and 4 bottles of liquor in a holster. So you pay $6, she stands on the stool, you sit between her feet with your head back, she pours the shot in your mouth and then mashes her boobs in your face. This place is pure class. I went home early.

And so my Stampede experience comes to a close. I tried to do as much as I could while still making it into work everyday. Everything I did was a lot of fun but I am a bit glad that it's over because I was getting pretty tired towards the end there.

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