The Best Day at The Rodeo – Calgary Stampede

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Part 2

Saturday 13th July 2019 – Calgary Stampede Rodeo

After day one came the day I have been waiting for, for so long! I was going to witness my first rodeo. The excitement was insane. Maybe I like it because of the adrenaline factor. Also, I feel you have to be a bit crazy to sit on a bucking horse. As for sitting on a bucking bull, well, that’s screw loose material. But first, we still had a morning to explore other events on offer.

Calgary Rodeo – The Auctioneer Competition

Firstly, was the auctioneer competition. I thought it was a bit strange. And I clearly do not speak auction house, I couldn’t understand a thing. In conclusion, I need to brush up on my country speaking. It was good to witness to see how auctions work. The prize cattle on offer were magnificent and ranch owners were actually bidding on them.

Pigeon Racing at Calgary Stampede

A group of pigeon's flying towards the camera for the rac at Calgary Stampede
Pigeon Racing

As I said Calgary Stampede is full of many different events. In short, I personally love learning and seeing what others love to do. However, I was shocked to find out there is a serious league and prizes for a winning pigeon. This shows how impressive a pigeon can find his or her way home. The training and patience that goes into this sport are mind-blowing and admirable. Without a doubt, this was quite scary as the pigeons flew fast towards us before turning left to head back home. Plus, no poo when they took flight. Result in my eyes. Didn’t fancy being caked in poo for the rest of the day.

Calgary Stampede – The Rodeo

This was it, the moment I had been waiting for as we headed to the Grandstand, excitement reaching boiling point. The Show I wanted to see the most. They had an action-packed show with 6 events. Each and everyone was thrilling in their own way. Wildcard Saturday as it’s known. The last-ditch attempt for the riders to make the finals. And have their chance at the $100,000 prize money!!!

The First Event – Roping

The steer wrestling competition at the Rodeo
Steer Wrestling

This was against the clock the quickest to rope the steer went on through to the final. To see this skill in action was intense but this event doesn’t have the danger factor like so many others do but this puts skill at the front line. These cowboys were so quick, if you blinked you missed out. Personally, I have the worst aim in history so I would never be able to rope that steer.

The Second Event – Steer Wrestling

This event was more exciting as the cowboys had to jump on the steer’s back, get them to the ground, and tie them up all against the clock. One cowboy knew he wasn’t going to win, so instead of throwing the steer down pointlessly he just gave up. Again, another sign of the good sportsmanship that runs through the sport.

The Third Event – Bareback Riding

A cowboy riding a bucking horse bareback at The Rodeo
Riding a Bucking Horse

Now we were hitting the crazier events in my opinion. As the audience, you sat on the edge of your seat engrossed in the action. The cowboys had to stay on a bucking horse with no saddle for 8 seconds as well as get judged for points out of 50. One horse looked so good, the rhythm he had as bucked and bucked was insane.

The Fourth Event – Saddle Broncs

The same principle as the event above but the horses have saddles on. Again, you couldn’t turn away, these horses bucking were very impressive. Let’s say this wouldn’t be something I would like to try. All cowboys have a lot of guts and talent.

The Fifth Event – Barrell Racing

This time it was over to the cowgirls to take centre stage. Barrell racing is where the rider has to complete the course by riding around all barrels in the fastest time. This was a nail-biting competition as the top three cowgirls were very close. As a result, one rider took the top spot by the slightest of margins.

The Final Event – Bull Riding

Finally, the event I had been waiting for. The craziest event out of them all, these cowboys had to stay on a bucking bull for 8 seconds. Riding for their lives to have a chance at the prize money in Sunday’s Final. The riders were all very talented and the size and the bucks of the bulls were impressive and aggressive. All riders gave it a good go, I was biting my nails as the bulls bucked hoping for a safe landing for the cowboys. Unfortunately, one did suffer a kick to the head. I can’t even imagine receiving a kick from a bull let alone walking away as that one cowboy did. The guards were quick to get the cowboy to safety as well.

Nashville North Music Stage

After queuing for an hour, we were finally in. Yes, this is a popular stage and once inside you will see why. The music was good and non-stop with many different acts. Just like being at a festival. And when the acts were changing, they filled the time with something in my eyes that is so country… line dancing. We attempted this; my dancing skills are limiting but we had so much fun trying. The final singer I enjoyed most was Ryan Lindsay. He was so good and entertaining. He has blue eyes so that is always a plus.

Summary of The Rodeo

Wow, I have covered what the six events are and given snippets as to what happened. I just have to say I admire all the cowboys and cowgirls who took part and have nothing but respect for them. They put their lives on the line to entertain the crowds. The sheer sportsmanship between all shines on through. The cowboys and cowgirls always put the animals first.

A group picture of the young horses at The Rodeo
Showing off The Next Rodeo Legends

The animals aren’t forced to do it if they aren’t up to performing then that’s it for the day. The competition is over for them. Yes, sometimes it isn’t pretty and it does go wrong for them, I witnessed this first hand. Some may be against events like these. However, these animals, in particular, the horses are born to do the events they take part in. It is in their blood. And in my eyes, they are well cared for and well and truly loved by all.

To read about my final day at the stampede click here

The Greatest Grand Show in the World – Calgary Stampede

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Part 3

Sunday 14th July 2019 – The Final Grand Show

Finally, is it the last day of the Calgary Stampede and the final Grand Show, well for 2019 anyway.  ‘The greatest outdoor show on earth’; is a statement I agree with now having witnessed so many different events. It didn’t disappoint and I was kind of sad for this to be the last day. I didn’t want this experience to end. I was fully entertained throughout the three days that my friend and I spent on the grounds in Calgary. We fully submerged ourselves in all the Calgary Stampede had to offer. I felt like a tourist the whole time as this was the first time experiencing what I call ‘real country’. Yes, country music is my favourite.

The German Light Show

This incredible piece of art by a very talented German group of people. As a member of the audience, the slow movement of the light as it travelled across the stage draws you in. There was a giant and a star as the main characters in the story that it was telling. In addition, you really got the feeling that this particular giant was friendly and had compassion for the star. The show was very well put together leaving you unable to look away. A real masterpiece.

The Calgary Stampede Fair Ground

There are many rides and games on offer to keep you entertained between competitions. Although, we only went on the Cable Car to get a bird’s eye view of the grounds. I personally didn’t enjoy this because the wind picked up making the cable car sway and stopping it every 3 seconds. 

In amongst the fairground was the Freestyle Motor-Cross Show. Dirt bikes put on a show consisting of high-flying flips and daring tricks. The danger factor shone on through and left the audience gasping as the rider tried a variety of tricks.

The Heavy Horse Pull Competition

Two horses pulling weight in heavy horse pull competition on the Grand Show Day
Heavy Horse Pull

I think this event gripped me the most. This was all about the power of this breed of horse. They look great and the size of them! Quite unbelievable. The arena was dead silent. You could feel the anticipation throughout the crowd as everyone silently watched the competition. As the weight was attached the horses settled, and on commend, they pulled.

The beauty of these horses was impressive, however, the amount of weight that they can pull was even more impressive. The winner won because they moved 13,000 lbs. Yes, you read that right 13,000 lbs. The winners tried for the recorded but just fell short… the attempt was 13,400 lbs.

Yet, what struck me more was the unity between competitors. The united front no matter what. This is a theme throughout the Rodeo. The equipment from one team snapped as the horses attempted to pull the weight. Everyone’s reaction was quick, horses checked over, all good. Another team lent their expensive equipment so the team could try to attempt the record again. No hesitation in the choice they made. Great sportsmanship.

The Final Grand Show

Our final event in what has been an action-packed weekend. Also, I would love to come back every year to witness ‘the greatest outdoor show on earth’. The Grand Show was packed with the last rodeo event, a show by the Trailblazers, and a firework display.

The Chuck-Wagon Race Competition

The start of a chuck wagon race at the Grand Show
Chuck Wagon Racing

Chuck-Wagon racing is where four thoroughbreds pull a wagon around the racetrack. The wagon has two flankers (2 single horses and riders) who also race around the track. Before heading around the track, they have to go around a barrel. It was exciting to watch as everyone cheered as they made their way around.

As the last race got underway the four teams were neck and neck as they came around the third corner. The race was so intense you couldn’t take your eyes off the pack as they came along the home straight. That’s where you noticed it, one team was missing. All the flankers for each team raced back to that third corner where the crash happened.

The back-room staff was quick to cover the area so the public could no longer see. Unfortunately, as quick as they were, you only saw one horse get up. It is with great sadness that three horses passed away during that race. For this reason, it reminded me of The Grand National Horse Race from England, and not in a positive way. The Grand National sometimes ends up with an injured horse being put down.

This time it was under the worst circumstance that the compassion and sportsmanship were again on display. The theme throughout the rodeo. No horse or man was left behind.

The Trail Blazers Grand Show

After, all the events of the weekend the 132 young Canadians take to the stage every night to wow the audience with their show. The show was full of energy from start to finish. It was amazing to watch and I’m sure many of those young Canadians have good careers in front of them.

The Final Firework Show

The last hooray to what has been an incredible last three days of ‘the greatest outdoor show on earth’. I have been left with a thirst for The Rodeo, it is something I could go and see every weekend. This incredible experience ended with a simply beautiful firework display. A fantastic grand show finishes a great weekend.

The grand show fireworks at the Calgary Stampede
The Spectacular Fireworks

The Calgary Stampede – ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost to you.

Part 1

I was so excited, ever since I saw the Calgary Stampede advertised and knew I was going to Canada; this event had to be on my schedule. Yes, I love anything to do with country. Expect horse riding. We had this booked before we set off on the road trip to guarantee seats to the events. Unfortunately, I got sick just before so the past week we had been resting and taking it easy. So, by the time we got to the stampede I was ready to throw myself into all, there was to see and do.

Three Days at The Calgary Stampede

A sign at the Calgary Stampede saying 'I'm a Little Country and I'm a little bit rock 'n' roll'
I’m A Little Bit Country…

The stampede didn’t disappoint, there was so much to see. The grounds were huge and lots of different areas to explore throughout our three days here. I wanted to see as much as possible. All the events except the Rodeo and The Grand Show were on a day ticket. You do have to purchase the two main events separately. However, these did include the day pass into all of the grounds. Luckily the Rodeo and Grand Show are on every single day of the event. So, you shouldn’t miss out.

Friday 12th July 2019 – Calgary Stampede

Our first day at the stampede was a last-minute decision because we arrived in Calgary early and the excitement was just too much to wait another day, so we went on Friday as well. Yes, I know sad!

Wow! The grounds are so big, colourful and full of things to explore. There are many different areas; the fairground, food stalls, Cola-Cola music stage, Western Event Centre, and Elbow River Camp to name a few.

Miniature Horse Competition

This was our first stop for the weekend. The miniature horses attached to a small cart had an obstacle course to complete. Miniature being a keyword… had me thinking that this would be a children’s event. But no full-grown adults were instructing the horses. It was kind of funny seeing them sitting in their small carts.

Nonetheless, the concretion and seriousness of the competitors were strong. Everyone wanted to win instead of enjoying it. However, the pressure got too much for one of the finalists and she ended up missing half the course. She took this competition so serious that she even questioned the judges. This event built up the excitement for many more.

Sheep Sheering Competition

This was such a frill; I would never be able to hold a sheep still and give it a perfect haircut. Yet, these competitors did just that, not only do the sheep have to look good but time was a factor. The time factor added intensity to the competition. The men and women who took part were very talented at what they do.

A Football Dog Show

I am not a big dog lover (don’t hate me) but give me a dog show as entertaining as this and you might be able to covert me. All the dogs involved were rescues and very talented.  They had to conquer many different obstacles. The show was well thought out and full of entertainment; we were definitely not bored. One act that stood out was a girl dancing with not 1 but 3 dogs. I can’t even control one on a walk so to dance with three impressed me. This was a fantastic show.

The Western Oasis Stage

The place that played old-school country music. My favourite type of music. Yes, country is what I choose to play. I am not ashamed of this. I’m okay with people knowing. However, the band that was on stage when we got there was bad and not all that enjoyable. Luckily there was amazing photography and artwork on display. 

The Elbow River Camp

A tipi at the Elbow River Camp at Calgary Stampede
One of the Many Tee-Pee’s at Elbow River

This area was for the indigenous people of Canadian. There are 7 First Nations all from the Treaty 7 Nations that display their traditions and culture. On show to the public were the pretty tipi’s, jewellery, bannock and traditional dancing as well as much much more. I enjoy learning and diving into new cultures, one of the many reasons why I travel.

The Calgary Stampede Talent Search

The talent show was in the semi-final round and full of young talent. They give extraordinary prizes to the winner. The competition was sharp and tough. We got to vote for our favourite, this is a difficult choice as all deserved to win. You do have to queue a little ahead of the start time to be able to get a seat. It was a popular show.

Agriculture Area – Full of Amazing Animals

Wow, what can I say? All animals are so well cared for. The areas were clean and spacious. The condition of each and every animal was insane. None were neglected only pumped full of love. You have every farm animal so there is something for everyone.

What a first day at the Calgary Stampede, read here about day two.