Exploring Northwest US and Canada: Week 1, Day 3, Calgary Stampede!

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February 23rd 2018
Published: February 23rd 2018
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7/13 In the morning we took the C-Train near our hotel to the Calgary Stampede Park. The park is enormous (208 acres). There are two Stampede entrance options when taking the train from the city to the park. We were told to take the second entrance or furthest stop on the train's schedule and it proved to be good advice. We landed near the main building where we could pick up our tickets, cowboy hats and other paraphernalia. From there we walked around the animal barns, saw a “Working Cow Horse Show” in the indoor arena (what a relief from the heat outside). For lunch we had an enormous Gator pork sandwich that actually originated in the Everglades. There was much disorganization among workers at the fairgrounds. Stampede Guides gave different directions for the same agenda which frustrated Dave especially since the park was so large. In the outdoor arena we found our reserved seats among hundreds of white cowboy hatted spectators. From there we watched the Saddle Bronco Championship, roping, steer riding and wrestling, bareback championship, Barrel Racing Championship (women), bull riding and the Wild Pony Race with young children trying to stay on the wild ponies as long as they could before being thrown. The winners of all of these competitions move on to ultimately compete on the final Showdown Sunday in the Championship Heat.

We then hiked the long walk in the hot summer sun to the Indian Village along the Elbow River to watch and hear elaborate dance and music competitions, explore the beautiful tipi homes (26 in total). We spoke with many representatives of various First Nation Peoples. Since 1912 the Piikani, Kainai, Siksika, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda have participated in the Calgary Stampede camping in Stampede Park and establishing the first Indian Village. I think this was my favorite part of the park and well worth the many acre hike in the hot sun to the other side of the park. We left exhausted taking the West Jet Skyride back to the C-Train and the hotel.

Although we were tired we did need to eat dinner so after some quick research we found a fabulous southern Italian restaurant called The Garden Kitchen and Bar near our hotel. We enjoyed delicious Salmon Di Sorrento with risotto and broccoli, wine, beer and homemade Tiramisu for desert. Inside the restaurant was a large TV showing the Chuckwagon Races (called the Chucks) that gave insight to tomorrow nights show.

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