By Jacqui Gray

 

Part rodeo and equal part festival, Calgary Stampede has been dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.” Honestly, I’m not into rodeo or anything country for that matter, but dang girl, I have a ton of fun at this vast Canadian event!

Ten days of absolute excitement, and what I will call the Stampede Spirit, bring the city to life…. over a million visitors each year also helps. I can’t last the whole 10 days and jam a lot into the few that I can manage – so here are my suggestions for getting the most out of your time at Stampede:

Take in the Ragland Derby chuckwagon races – it looks like complete barking madness to me.  Here is what I am told – Each team consists of a rider, a wagon, and four horses tearing around a dirt track. Make no mistake, it is taken very seriously in the rodeo world and if you want to see the Stampede crowd roar to life, this is where it will happen.

Want to have a crack at being a chuckwagon rider?  Luckily you can without taking all the risk through a virtual reality experience at the Stampede grounds.  Strap on a headset and you find yourself tearing around the (virtual) chuckwagon track like a pro.

Watch the rodeo – well that is what it is all about!

If you haven’t seen a live rodeo before, be prepared to be wowed.  This is the richest rodeo events in the world and draws the best athletes from around the world to compete in some of the toughest events you will ever see: bare-back riding, bucking broncos, steer wrestling, bull-riding.

Dress up cowboy style.  I see it as wearing a costume, but to loads of folks, this is normal attire.  Whatever the case, pretty much everyone in Calgary is kitted out country style during Stampede. The one absolute must have: a cowboy hat.

Take in the Evening Grandstand show – this is one slick, high energy, world-class performance not to be missed.  Rounded off with a spectacular fireworks display every night.

It is a culinary wonderland at Stampede.  Here are some of the good, the bad and the quirky:

On a deep-fried diet?  Stampede Midway has you covered.  Enough crispy Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls, Butter Chicken Bear Balls, and Funnel Cake to make your jeans split.

No surprise – the steaks are great!

Pancake breakfasts – there are hundreds of free pancake breakfasts around Calgary.  Make the most of them with Flapjack Finder ap.

Prairie Oysters

With no ocean for many, many, many miles, why do Prairie Oysters appear on every second menu during stampede?  Let me assure you of two things:

1.     They are about as far from a real oyster as you can get, and

2.    I will never be trying one

The tradition comes from when cowboys would chow down on prairie oysters after a long day of castrating cattle.  Wait, what? Yep, you guessed it; each prairie oyster is a bull testicle. Bon appetit.

Midway is like a massive fairgrounds inside Stampede park.  This where you find all that tasty food, beer gardens and all manner of thrill rides and entertainment.

Throughout the festival, music continuously blasts from the various stampede stages.  Up-and-coming acts and established performers can be found every day.  This year’s lineup includes some of country music’s biggest names, heck even I know who they are :

Zac Brown Band

Sugarland

Tim McGraw

Stampede is pretty much an excuse for a ten-day party, and the above is only scratching the surface.  In the grounds and around the city you will find all manner of venues, performers, atmospheres and people from around the world of all ages –  that you are sure to find your people.

 

 

WARNING: Shameless plug ahead

Do you want to be part of the fun?  I am taking a group to Calgary Stampede this year!  We have a limited number of packages available for 12 – 15 July 2019.  Group size is kept small, so I can make sure you are having a great time.  Loads of inclusions, with all the details taken care of –  you need to show up and have a great time.

Full package details can be found on our website – Evie Adventures – or shoot me a quick email: info@evieadventures.com

Embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl and get yourself to Calgary Stampede with Evie Adventures!

 

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