For the longest of times I have wanted to go to Calgary Stampede. 4 years ago I ran out of money and had to stop and get a job. 2 years ago I didn’t get my relocate a car in time to get to Calgary from Toronto. But this year I arrived a month early, scored myself a job at the Stampede on the Bell Adrenaline Ranch station and a free pass daily to go with it. Even better, I also scored a job managing the backpackers hostel right over the road from the Stampede Grounds. And so the 12 days of ridiculousness was to begin.
I took one for the team over the first weekend working the night shift at the hostel on the Friday and Saturday night. The Sunday however was to be my first experience of Stampede.
At 6:30am my friend and I awoke to go to Stampede to work for two hours dressed in a sheep costume as Shaun the Sheep and his cute little baby, Timmy. I of course being the shorter of us had to be Timmy the fat baby. We stood in the grand stand and danced and had our pictures taken with a bunch of kids. Some kids pulled Shaun’s tail, one kid ran around hitting my belly and his parents wouldn’t control him. So I may have accidentally head butted him. Tehehe….. It is not like I can see out of the costume anyway. It was eventually time to go and we are tearing down the corridor pretty much blind in the suit while people grab at us for photos. We eventually got out of the hot suits and went home for a nap before the real fun began.
In the afternoon we began drinking sangria at the house before heading over to go proper stampeding. The atmosphere hitting the gates was great and we made our way first to the mini donut stand. A rookie error on my behalf as it was to start my obsession over the next week with mini donuts. Equipped with food, we headed off to the bar to hang out for a while and grab a few drinks before catching Vance Joy playing at the Coca Cola stage.
Vance Joy was awesome. We danced, we screamed and jumped up and down. It was awesome. At one point trying to get out of the crowd to a toilet I jumped a fence into a restricted area and then got thrown out over an even bigger fence. It’s a wonder that I didn’t fall on my face to be honest.
Back to the B Bar it was for more drinks, watching people ride the mechanical bull and dancing on the tables to the Spice Girls before getting kicked off them. Fireworks ended off the evening and it was down the road to the pub.
Monday was a struggle. After a massive detox session it was back to work and doing the double shifts on Tuesday. It was my first day in the evening working on the Bell Adrenaline Ranch with the Cannon Lady and the boys from Keith Sayers doing the Evolution of Extreme motocross show. I was super impressed actually. These guys do some crazy stuff on their bikes.
Wednesday was some more of the same except the wind got up and the shows got cancelled so I got to.go and see the Corral Show of acrobatics and explore around the BMO Centre getting fed donuts and whipped cream from guys we didn’t know and hanging about in the massage chairs. A cruisy day indeed.
On Friday I had my first proper day off work and so I went to go and see the rodeo show. I watched the calf roping, bucking horse, bull riding and the girls.barrel races. It was pretty good. I sat next to a new couple I met there and they explained different things to me and we had a great time judging points.
It was the last of my stampede experiences. And I was glad to have gotten to experience it from so many different angles. Another thing to tick off the bucket list. Done and dusted and ready to set out for the next adventure!