Memories of the 2012 Calgary Stampede

Where else in the world can you try a Cowboy Sundae, but at the Greatest Show on Earth – the Calgary Stampede.  It’s been a year since last year’s giant 100th anniversary bash.  The 2013 edition runs from July 5 – 14th this year.

2012 was the first time I had ever been to the Calgary Stampede.  Even though I lived in Alberta for many years, I never actually got to go to the Stampede.  So it was time for some rootin-tootin fun.

There was a lot of food choices.  Most of it of the “heart attack” variety.  Deep-fried goodies alongside chocolate dipped treats.  I guess the only thing that can better those items are deep frying chocolate dipped snacks.

There were also plenty of livestock on hand.  Cows, chicken, sheep, and horses all over the place.  If you’re kids love animals, they’ll love the Agricultural section of the Stampede.  I, myself, am not so partial to the smell of farm life.  That’s just me.

There was also the stage shows.  We caught Adam and Selina – Masters of Illusion on the Bell Stage. This brother and sister duo from the land Down Under was very popular with Stampede patrons.  Boy, those line ups to get in and out of the seating area was crazy.  I don’t know what acts they have this year, though.

If fairway rides are your thing, then the Calgary Stampede has the standard rides to cater to your thrills.  We were busy with shows and other stuff, so we didn’t spend any money on the rides.  I can get many of the same rides at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver.  So I didn’t feel the urge to go the local rides.  But the rides definitely add atmosphere to the fairgrounds, especially as night falls.

And finally, there is the famed Rodeo and Evening Shows.  The Stampede Grandstand tickets are the most popular tickets by far.  Most of the Grandstand seats are sold out well before the Stampede even starts.  You have to line up once the fair opens in the morning for the remaining seats and standing room only tickets.  It’s an intimidatingly long queue, but you should be able to get tickets if you get there early enough.  Just expect standing room only to be left by the end of the line.

To be honest, though, we weren’t that into the chuck wagon races and rodeo stuff.  The standing room only part wasn’t all that comfortable either.  So we ended up leaving after an hour and didn’t stay for the big evening show with fireworks.  If we had to stand for 3 hours, I think it was too much.  At least we had a taste of the Evening Show.  However, it wasn’t our cup of tea.

And, of course, you can go to the Calgary Stampede just to people watch.  It’s not everyday (at least apart from the Prairies) that you see crowds of people with cowboy hats and country wear.  Just go to the Stampede for the feel of the Alberta crowd.

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