July 11 2012 by Bryson Forbes
One of the great traditions of stampede are pancake breakfasts where businesses, clubs and associations host a full western breakfast featuring pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, juices, coffees and teas. Of interest, the BEST WESTERN PREMIER offers a pancake breakfast every day with but they also feature waffles, fresh fruits, cereals, custom made omelettes, oatmeal, muffins, pastries, yogurts, juices, coffees and teas. Sixteen of us showed up at the Calgary Winter Club to stompin' country tunes, face-painting, cowboys & cowgirls as far as the eye could see.
With full bellies, we all headed over to the Stampede Grounds for a day of "stampeding". We weren't alone as thousands of people descended the grounds. The hot weather and crowds did not impede the spirit of the day. Rodeo chuck-wagon races, a zip-line ride that seemed to cover the entire width of the grounds at approximately 75 feet in the air, and carnival games had the children's eyes light up with visions of bringing home gigantic ponies and giraffes. Stampede organizers had positioned cool mist stations throughout the grounds where you could catch a break from the heat and hustle & bustle.
Although for most people this is a festival and event and a big party, for competitors this is a serious rodeo with thousands of dollars and hopes of fame and fortune on the line.
So much of the festival is focused on the Wild West but what really struck me was the Aboriginal exhibit where natives actually dismantled their tipis and reassembled them in a large section on the Stampede grounds for stampede guests to tour through. They even had fires going with meats being smoked and someone explaining the how and why of what was being done. They offered tours of the tipis as well. Each tipi was uniquely decorated with aboriginal art; no two tipis were the same.
After a day of crowds and thirty degree weather the pool at the Best Western was a welcome retreat. The hot tub proved to be a great vantage point as we watched the kids enjoy the water slide and splash around.
Another great day of stampeding came to an end. We look forward to heading into the mountains tomorrow for a day in Banff and a planned family hike.
Where's your favourite place to hike in Banff?