Calgary & the Stampede. D4-6. 240mi / 411mi total

Calgary is a big city with tall skylines due to the oil fields. Lots of friendly people and the young women wear short skirts, cowboy boots and tops. The young men dress like young men everywhere, although they do get into cowboy gear for the rodeo. It is still HOT, in the 90’s plus humidity when we arrived and the following day. The following day we took a bus ride to the Calgary Tower where we ate a great breakfast at the revolving restaurant at the top. The observation tower is one floor above where you can get a 360 degree view of Calgary. Many buildings are labeled with either oil company logos or banks. The South side are low rise apartments and the Calgary Stampede grounds, and the North side are the sky scrapers and down below you can see the shops. Speaking of looking down below, I’m posting a picture of our feet looking down from 550 ft thru the glass floor. Some people couldn’t do it but if you just look ahead you can walk out the 3 ft to the enclosed edge. See the pic nearby.Calgary-47

After breakfast we went to the Glenbow Museum and saw Canadian history as well as Calgary’s. We then walked around the downtown area to Stephen Ave Walk that is blocked off for shopping and eating and drinking establishments. We found a hotspot at Starbucks and caught up on e-mails. At the end of the Walk is the Olympic Plaza where there was a concert and Native Indian’s that performed their dancing. I’m glad they are passing on their traditions to the young. The elders carry themselves statesmen riding beautiful horses.

That evening we went to the Chuck Wagon Races at the Grandstand. The C Train was packed going to the arena. Also very hot due to all the bodies. There are the usual carnival rides, food stands and drinking areas. About the start of the ceremonies it started raining and finally cooled off a little. The Chuck Wagon Races were interesting. They start with a handicap start, based on prior runs, with the best run going around barrels number 1 that are about 50% farther apart than barrels number 4. The start is interesting in the outrider throws a small barrel in the back of the wagon when the horn sounds then they have to race around the barrels and head back counter clockwise around the track. They get penalized with a 10 seconds if you run over a barrel, or 5 seconds if you hit one, which happened about every race. There were 9 heats and the top 4 times go to the Finals on Sunday. I’ll try to post a video of the racing.

After the racing they had an Extravaganza at the Grandstand. Very good production with singing, recognizing Canadian singers, lots of Canadian pride in their accomplishment and history. There were dancers from the Alberta Ballet and young (6-13 year olds), in training, Royal Mounted Canadian Police, a 3 time champion Indian hoop dancer, and a man with incredible upper body strength that did acrobatics on either a circular hoop or square frame. This was followed by a fireworks show that was really nice, except that the wind blew the smoke at the stands and was difficult to photograph but easily seen.

All in all a very good day.

Sunday is back to the Grandstand for the finals in all the Rodeo events. They are forecasting rain so we will see.

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