July 2012

We debated about driving out to Calgary from Vancouver this year for a summer visit and in the end the draw of family, friends and a week of Yee Hawing at the 100th Calgary Stampede was too much to resist.

The Calgary Stampede kindly provided me with a pass and I brought my family along. However our tendency to explore a little got us (accidentally) behind the scenes and we got a view that usually only the staff and cowboys get!

Coming in from the east side, we found ourselves among the trailer encampment where the rodeo and chuck wagon folks set up for the 10 days, usually with their families. We got to drool at some beautiful RV’s (camping being another passion of mine) and even see some folks riding their horses into the grounds.

Horseback into Calgary Stampede

Also an unattended chuck wagon.


Then we came upon the backfield of the racetrack; I still think the Saddledome is a cool looking building


On the south side of the racetrack by the first bend, we noticed the Mounties getting ready to come on for their musical ride. I never get tired of watching it.

Mounties preparing for musical ride

Wow, there are some real Mounties coming towards us!


My kids refused a corn dog (which made me wonder if they were even mine!) but they enjoyed a hotdog while we waited for the rodeo to start. We did rush seating which is cool because you can get real close but it’s not ideal for small kids. We ended up holding the kids up so they could see better which gets hard on the back. We only watched for about an hour, but the rodeo itself is around 3 hours or so. I definitely recommend purchasing tickets to the rodeo if you are taking your kids, even though my daughter thoroughly enjoyed being held by daddy.

With Daddy

We enjoyed some cool treats

ice cream treats

Then we went on some rides including the roller coaster, which they both BEGGED to go. This is the look on their faces when it really got going.


Afterwards they claimed they were never going on another roller coaster ever again, which we all know is a lie. And this picture is the best $10 I spent!


Then we wandered the grounds, bought some souvenirs (I was pleasantly surprised to get 15% off because I used a BMO card!)and enjoyed the sites. My kids were quite enthralled with the new bronze installation of horses called By the Banks of the Bow created by Longview artists Bob Spaith and Richard Roenisch. It is absolutely stunning and the kids really enjoyed getting to touch and sit on such lifelike creatures.

By the Banks of the Bow

But a visit to the stampede is not complete without seeing the real horses at the agricultural barns


And so we left, with some new memories, a little less cash and two tired but happy kids. Until next year when we come back to do it all over again! Happy 100th Birthday Calgary Stampede!

The 100th Calgary Exhibition and Stampede runs until Sunday July 15th.