My first Calgary Stampede was in 2003. I wandered the midway and checked out a bit of the rodeo, but as someone from out of town, I didnt really understand what it was about. Sure, I saw a lot of long lines outside beer gardens, and that’s what I thought was going on. It was Calgary’s version of the PNE with booze and a rodeo. Check that – LOTS of booze and a rodeo.But it’s different. It’s more than that, and this weekend I had things really exposed to me.
The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is really about community spirit. It’s about taking pride in traditions, and getting behind a cause to wave the flag high.
Simply put, The Calgary Stampede is Calgary’s Christmas. Think of all the good things that happen in December and then put them in July. There are parties and decorations. There are festive outfits and feasts. There are acts of charity and an indominable smile creeps across everyone’s face.
It’s something the rest of the country could weave into their community. Vancouver, for example, could use a few pancake breakfasts. The spirit of volunteerism, the acts of charity and small communities coming together 1500 at a time binds people together, enforces civic pride and makes it more difficult to torch the things you love.
It may look like just pancakes, beer gardens and a rodeo, but it really is neighbours coming together to celebrate their city.