Day two of our trip to the Calgary Stampede started off an early one, but we were eager to see the chuckwagon races. We were awoken to the band practicing in the park across the street from our hotel and since our room was facing the park it just went right through. So we decided to get out of bed a little early and go see what was up around town.
When we decided to leave the hotel and venture out the Calgary Stampede Parade was just about to start and the streets were packed. We tried to get a spot somewhere that was close enough to see. The spot we did get wasn’t the greatest but it worked and we got to catch a good portion of the parade.
When we decided to leave the parade we walked a couple blocks down and through some back lanes to get to the other side but the parade was so massive we weren’t able and we would have to wait. We decided to take a walk down by the Bow River and since it was just behind our hotel we didn’t have far to walk. The views were nice and the bike path that they have installed in that section is pretty remarkable. Coming from a city with one bike path and narrow streets because of the geology I enjoyed the sight, it was a good change.
We decided to head back over to the parade sight to see if we could find a way through and by the time we came back the parade was almost done. When the parade finished at our end it had to make its way around which took about an hour and a half to two hours so we had lots of time to see the close attractions by our hotel before we could make our way to the Stampede Grounds.
The art that was available to see was pretty remarkable. All of the parks had statues and sculptures and they were all packed with visitors who undoubtably finished a free breakfast that was being served daily! The hospitality the city gives is unlike something I have yet to see. It is really almost every park, and there is lots, that gives out pancake breakfast everyday during the stampede.
Once the parade was done we were able to make it over to McLeod street which would bring us right to Stampede Park. Before we came to the stampede we had purchased the Chaps and Chucks package and we were scheduled to see chuckwagon races at 7:45 p.m. so we had all day to do some exploring.
We arrived at the Stampede grounds around 1 p.m. and we had entry because of our package. When we got inside we were blown away. Food truck after food truck after food truck all with funky foods! You could get chicken on a stick breaded in Frosted Flakes and deep fried, which I did on day 3 to deep fried cookie dough. The food was amazing and the first thing I got was a foot long hotdog, wrapped in bacon with onions, pizza sauce and pepperoni! mouth watering yet?! It was all out and the prices were awesome. I paid $14 for this hotdog and it was worth it. Most of the stuff ranged between $6-$14 with the exception of freshly squeezed lemon-aid which was $3.75 or something like that! Can you imagine? a festival like this and not being gouged. It is unheard of in Ontario, seriously.
Maybe it was the price of oil and the organizers wanted to attract people to the events, who knows, but we found it inexpensive for what it was. Later in the afternoon while finishing up on gluttonous behaviour we walked around the grounds and made our way to the Saddledome. They had some horse stuff inside and decided to check it out. We entered the Saddledome through a country and western bar, at least that is how it felt. We then made our way through the dinning are to the arena. Once in the arena we had amazing seats about 10 rows up to watch some horse competitions.
After spending some time here we decided to go get something to drink and eat in the bar. We had a couple drinks and some deep fried pickles and it couldn’t have came to $20 with tip. Really nice atmosphere in the bar and once we were done there we decided to head back to the hotel for a rest before we would come back for the evening at the chuckwagon races.
Later on that evening we walked back to the grounds which was about 20 minutes from the Delta. We seen PETA outside protesting and ironically they had a woman protesting while holding a leather purse, fail! So we entered the grounds and headed to our event. When we arrived at the Stampede Stadium we entered the South Entrance and with no wait at all and about 30 minutes early at the most we headed to the second level to grab some drinks and check out our seats. we had some pretty good seats and we enjoyed the chuckwagon races.
The chuckwagon races ran without any incident. I was a little surprised to be honest. One tip if you ever see chuckwagon races, never take the outside lane because for some reason they tend to line them up in a manor that makes it impossible for them to win. I also found it odd there was no gambling on who would win. Maybe there was but we didn’t see it. The 50/50 draw was also over $30,000 so it was nice to see that.
Once the chuckwagon races were complete we headed in to look around at the gift store which is located on the first floor. After we did this we got a few more drinks and headed inside to watch the evening entertainment and the fireworks. The one thing I found very surprising was the comradely with the people of Alberta. During the show they had bits about the Wild Fires in Fort Mcmurray and some were crying and some were giving a standing ovation to the fire fighters. It was nice to see the pride and spirt of Albertans. You don’t see that now days.
The show we seen after the Chuckwagons had everything from Motocross Bikes doing back flips and superman tricks to piano’s being carried through the air while being played. This was a production in a half and was very well done. They also had the roughnecks, which is what they call the oil and gas workers, assemble an oil rig in a competition to see who could do it the fastest. Awesome stuff if you like the entertainment. Last but not least the evening ended with a fireworks display that would top Ottawa on Canada Day. I swear all I could think is Oil Money when the show was going off. It was loud and continuous for 20 minutes maybe and it was one after the other, great stuff.
My next blog about the stampede will be my final one and will be about day three and the bull riding. If you would like to see a complete album of the trip please visit my Facebook page HERE. If you ever go to Calgary I would say go during this time. It is truly breathtaking.