Today is our 3 week anniversary of being home...it almost feels as though we never left! So, I've decided to recount our trip - as we took it, beginning with the Calgary Stampede..."The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth". It is pretty impressive. Very much along the lines of our Royal Shows...but BIG, and extensive...and with Rodeo!! (Which means cowboys...and I have this soft spot for cowboys... seems I married one and bore a few...)
All ready for action...It begins with a big bang - quite literally! Fireworks, burning rings of fire, galloping horses, flying enormous flags...and then...the cowboys!
I have a son (actually I have a few...) But, one in particular does this for kicks. So we watched the saddle bronc with special interest...Fin was fortunate enough to compete at the Stampede a few years ago; it was fun to see where he'd been and how it all would have happened.
The bareback riders get tossed around like rag dolls...this can not be good for the body.
And there's always bulls...Personally, I consider this the most insane thing to do...the horses just want to buck you off...the bulls want to buck you off, then rub you out into the arena sand with their considerable heads and big horns! (Regular thank you prayers for the fact that Fin chose the horses!)
And, I wasn't kidding about the Indians! This fellow did the Hoop Dance - he twirled and twisted those hoops into all kinds of representations of animals and birds...in such a fluid and beautiful way...and the costumes!! Beading and colour and detail like you wouldn't believe!
A special treat was the Western Art Exhibition...An enormous pavilion devoted entirely to painting, sculpture, photography, art quilts, and what I could only describe as art furniture...exquisite work that we spent hours and hours poring over.
There's so much more, as well...music - all day, half the night, in about 4 or 5 different places - and big names like Reba McIntyre and Kenny Chesney. But, the most remarkable thing, I think, of all was the chuck wagon races...Oh My!....Chaos and madness like I've never witnessed! Horses, wagons, outriders, ovens (!) all careering around the track. Quite something else!
This guy is supposed to be sticking with his yellow shirted mates...he's an outrider - I'm really not sure what's happening there...but the photo seems to catch the frenzy of the whole thing!