|Today was our day to go to the Stampede. We were lucky enough to find a campground which has a bus to take you and bring you back. We caught the bus at 11:30am and rode through Calgary, which is a much larger city than we had pictured, to the Stampede Grounds which are pretty much downtown. We entered into a midway area. After getting some pictures there, we wandered through part of the Agirama agriculture exhibit. We saw some beautiful black faced goats, sheep and a pig nursing nine piglets, whew!
Next we had lunch, a hamburger with 100 percent lean Canadian beef, and some hand cut fries. By then it was time to head to the Rodeo. The pre-show featured the chiefs of the Treaty Five tribes, Calgary riders and the Calgary Stampede Band. Then the Rodeo began. The events of this day were to get wildcard berths at the finals on Sunday. We saw saddled bronco riding, bareback bronco riding, barrel racing, calf roping and bull riding. It lasted three hours and was fun to watch, especially since we were in covered bleachers right in the center of the grandstands.
After the rodeo, we went back to Agirama and saw the chickens (some darling baby chicks), cattle and some exhibits on Canola. Having seen so many of the fields of Canola, we stopped to talk to the representative. Canola was developed in Canada and is an acronym for (Can)adian O(il) (L)ow (S)ulpher. It is extremely low in saturated fats and has a high smoking point.
Next, we took in a dog show which was cute, then it was time to head back to the stadium for the chuck wagon races and the nightly show. There were nine heats of four chuck wagons. They must first do a figure eight through some barrels then they are off around the track. Each chuck wagon has two outriders and there are rules as to where these riders must be at the end of the race. It is very exciting to watch them, especially the start and the finish.
After the chuck wagon races they brought a stage in and the evening performance began. Because it is Canada's 150th birthday, the show was all about celebrating that and the "Together" theme uniting all the different peoples of Canada. This time the chief from Treaty Six were honored as well as performances by the Young Canadians. There was also a tightrope walker. He started by walking blindfolded across the wire. Halfway across he took off the blindfold and did a headstand. Then he rode a bicycle back across the wire which was on fire. Very impressive.
We left the show a little early because we had a ways to walk back to the bus and didn't want to get stuck in the crowds. We stopped to watch the fireworks then off to the bus. After fighting through traffic, we got back to the campground at about 12:45am. It was a long but fun day and we went to bed exhausted.