As long-time rodeo fans, both performer (Duane) and spectator (both), we jumped at the opportunity to attend the Calgary (Alberta, Canada) Stampede. In 1912 Guy Weadick, former trick roper and vaudville performer, arrived in Calgary with a grand idea of a 6 day show to capture the romance and culture of the old west. With the financial backing of four Calgarians, his dream was realized. Among the rodeo events were featured trick (horse) riding and women saddle bronc riders.
The stampede is held in Calgary’s Stampede Park. The 10 day event features one rodeo per day with the top money winners in each event competing on the final day. The rest of the festival is just like a state fair with amusement rides, midway games, all kinds of food, animal and agriculture displays.
Saddle bronc riding
We recognized three well-known rodeo competitors. Trevor Brazil and Fred Whitfield are both calf ropers’
Fred Whitfield with the winning time for Tuesday.
Steer riding (youngsters’ intro to bull riding)
Bareback riding—this cowboy is in the perfect position. He leans back, holds on with one hand, and rakes the horse’s shoulders with his spurs. (Around the back of the horse is a strap that irritates the horse.The spurs don’t hurt, but irritate the horse further.)
The ever-popular bull riding. Here is the third famous competitor we recognized—J. B. Mauney (pronounced moony.)
Between the rodeo and the evening entertainment we walked around the grounds. Brock and Leola liked the horses.
That’s one big foot! Yes that is a draft horse and yes that is as big as a dinner plate.
We watched the blacksmith for a while then walked over to the Indian village. The seven nations of native Canadians were very active participants in the Stampede.
Unfortunately all of their activities were held outdoors. A thunderstorm shut everything down here, including whatever tipi was open for display.
We had a wide variety of food venues to choose from. We selected a mall food court type of area where we could all choose what we wanted, then found a table.
The evening entertainment started out with the Calgary Stampede Showband and representatives of the Indian nations, the military, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
First were chuckwagon races.
The youngsters were fun to watch. They bounced up and down to get the horses to move forward.
Four horse teams pull each chuckwagon. One horse rider uses his horse to position the lead team. At the sound of the Klaxon the rider at the rear throws a plastic block into the back of the wagon. The rider at the head lets the team go, mounts and rides alongside. The guy at the back leads his horse past the front barrel, mounts and rides after the wagon. First wagon to complete one turn around the outside track wins.
After the races this elaborate stage was assembled. Watching that was entertainment itself. It was announced the show to follow was a tribute to Guy Weadick and that in accordance with his philosophy, “It has to be BIG!!!”
First were several Hollywood style musical numbers featuring The Young Canadians, a group of youngsters ranging in age (we’re guessing) from 6 to 21 who are trained in the entertainment arts.
There was a low-wire act,
a high-wire act,
These acrobats who bounce on the trampolines, then land somewhere on or in the box. What makes them neat to watch is that they seem to stand sideways for a couple of seconds on the side of the box.
A Purple Rain tribute to Prince
Note the flaming water fountains
All kinds of people were floating above the stage:
trick dirt bike riders.
The finale was a very impressive fireworks show that made our best Fourth of July fireworks look look ordinary.
Up next is Drumheller. What’s there? Stop back and see.
Louise and Duane