I went to the Stampede Grounds 3 times – phew! The first was to watch the Grandstand show. I am not sure how to describe it. Think: Cirque du Soleil + Sexy Golden Horses + Ritalin. There was so much going on, I am not sure if it was sensory overload or just a really darn good show.
Horse warriors, strong men, and a train...
And let’s not forget the giant wire-man, men running up and down a crescent, and very cute guys jazzing up and down a wall.
I watched Chuckwagon Races, first in the stands and another time on the grounds. FYI for future travellers – it’s only $15 to go onto the ground, if you’re willing to stand to watch. If you want a great view of the show, this is a good option – but for the rodeo and the races, if you can grab a seat, you get a better view!
The races involves tossing a barrel and a couple of poles in the wagon, circling a barrel before pounding around a track. We yelled and screamed with the crowd, ridiculous amount of fun to watch over a sea of cowboy hats!
The Stampede Grounds had some pretty intense treats – deep fried oreos, deep fried cheesecake, deep fried pop tarts, deep fr – okay, you get the point. I stuck my nose up in the air and trotted past them to snobbily pick up a taco in a bag and a hot beef sundae from Homestead Grill. I loved and was revolted with myself at the same time:
The weather was perfect – enjoyed some fishbowl margaritas at Los Chilitos on 17th and a one-man-band on Stephen Ave before heading off to the grounds…again. Big drink, perfect for a sunny patio day, I’d go back for a drink..but probably not for the food (from the looks of it).
We decided to be piggy-piggy and get a few more noshes. In true food festival style, we fanned out while I grabbed a slow cooked beef sandwich from Smokey’s, A snagged a pulled pork sammy (can’t remember the name of the vendor), while K snatched a steak poutine from the La Poutinerie
“It tastes like chicken” – Me
“Really? I think it tastes like a potato” – S
“Dude…you’re eating a piece of potato” – Me
We had them at Bottlescrew Bills which was a great time – good spot to hit during Stampede or after work. We ordered the usual bar food – nachos (good!), wings (decent!), and random platter of dry ribs (salty) and dumplings (good!). The last shot (pun intended) was West which had weak drinks, blah bar snacks, but a fantastic rooftop patio. Go for the patio...not the food! Mind you, dinner might be a different story.
Last, but definitely not least, we hit Wildhorse Saloon which was a ridiculous amount of fun! We danced with absolute strangers and laughed the whole night until the DJ called it quits. If you know me somewhat well, you will know that I hate dancing – but I was spinning, dipping, and hopping with the rest! Everyone was having a great time, and we trotted home with our cowboy hats, jeans, and cowboy boots (I went all out!) loving the Stampede. I hope to come back sometime! Calgarians, groan away but the Stampede made me fall in love with your city a little bit more :-). See ya next year, Stampede!
Oh, and what better way to end Stampede with a spinning chicken on the bbq? OM nom nom NOM!! I need a rotisserie!! We followed with a really random hypnotist show with Terry Stokes. Great weekend!!