Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tiny Review of the 2014 Calgary Stampede

For many people, the Calgary Stampede means lots of drinking, getting drunk, acting crazy, getting laid and sometimes into fights.  For me I've gotten older and a little beyond the young crowd. Booze causes more problems than its worth. I've seen many family and friends affected by it. So my review will be boring.

Busy crowds, long lines, the smell of carnival found and the midway rides. This year I only went to the afternoon rodeo. It was a hot afternoon, about 33C and I was wearing dress clothes (my mistake). If you've been to one midway you've been to them all. Really these rides are for the younger crowd, and I didn't feel like puking my guts out.

We had a catered steak dinner, which was pretty good. The cook quality was extremely varied. I asked for a well done steak and received medium rare. These people are cooking for quantity, not quality. The loud country music was nice at first, but eventually, it gets on your nerves. 

Apparently the "hot" food this year is pizza with scorpions on it ($10 / slice) and deep-fried oreo cookies. Its not as extreme as you'd think. One can buy dried scorpions from the Chinatown mall (they have everything there). Best bet: Hit the Rainbow bakery in the mall and buy a dozen of their meat-filled buns. These ladies make the best bread and rolls I have ever tasted. Back to the Stampede.

There's quite a bit of commercialism on the grounds. Everywhere you see sponsors and it feels more like a trade show than a real western event. 

Finally, the gem of the show is the rodeo. While some may not agree with the treatment of animals at the Stampede, when I watched I couldn't see any abuse  done to them. The riders suffered more damage than the animals in most cases. The stands are roasting hot. Alcohol and food is sold and people get pretty rowdy up here. The announcers jokes are lame. But what do you expect, David Letterman wit at a country fest? Portions of the Stampede reminded me of the Winnipeg Red River Ex. Some other portions reminded me of the Nova Scotia International Tattoo festival (the military bands). I am grateful there wasn't any bag pipes being played. Thank God for that.

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