It’s a Rod-Eh-O
When you think of Canada, the first thing that comes to mind is probably snow, skiing, hockey, poutine, or moose. While all these stereotypes are generally true, Canada is famous for several other things. One of these is the yearly rodeo held in Calgary, Alberta known as the Stampede. Didn’t expect Canada to be famous for rodeos, eh? Well as it turns out, Alberta, which is the province located north of Idaho and Montana is mostly flat land good for farming and as a result, it has a history that isn’t too different from the American Old West – you could think of Alberta as Canada’s version of Texas. Out of this old western tradition came the Calgary Stampede, a ten day long rodeo held every summer that attends to over a million guests every year.
Like most rodeos, the stampede hosts many events ranging from bull riding to horse bucking and barrel racing. It also includes various rides, exhibitions and lots of food most of it deep fried. Now I don’t want to understate the importance of the Stampede to the city. It’s a really big deal for the city and instills a sense of pride in heritage. In fact last year a flood hit the city several days before the stampede, literally submersing the fair-grounds under water and flooding most of the Saddle-dome, where all the rodeo events are held. Yet in only a few days, city workers cleared out the flood-waters and repaired the fair grounds in anticipation of the City’s biggest festival. So, now that I’ve peaked your interest in the Stampede, the question is, how are you going to get in the Rodeo Spirit?
Wearing a T-Shirt that says “I like Calgary” is a good start and simple enough if you don’t want to dress up in gear full cowboy, but this is a rodeo and you should try to dress as festive as possible. Last year when I attended the Stampede I tried to be festive yet casual. I chose to go with a plaid shirt and light blue Levis jeans – a simple combination that also complements the rodeo atmosphere. Aviators might not be traditional rodeo dress, but believe it or not, it gets really hot during Canadian summers and the sun is constantly beating down on you during the parade. Eventually I convinced myself to wear a cowboy hat both to hide my head from the sun and to show my festive side. For those of you that choose to go all-out, you might want to throw on some boots. IF that’s not enough a large-buckled belt or leather chaps might be your style, but as for me, that would be going overboard.
If you’re planning a vacation soon check out Calgary Stampede 2014. This year’s runs from July 4 to July 13.