A lazy day today, we need a bit of a break from the chaos that is the Calgary Stampede. We slept in late, enjoyed a late breakfast and then we took the car out for the first time since we parked here at the hotel.
We have some shopping to do. Came back to the hotel after our shopping trip and worked on the photos and the blog and then I laid down for a bit of a nap.
This evening we are going to the Rangeland Derby and Grandstand Show.
We had a quick dinner at 5 pm at the Dairy Queen before boarding the C-Train into the Stampede Grounds.
We have the identical seats for tonights show as we had for yesterday afternoons show.
The show started off with the Calgary Stampede Show Riders, not quite as showy as the RCMP Musical Ride, but still a pretty good demonstrations of ability and control.
There was a brief explanation and demonstration of the rules and regulations for the upcoming Chuck Wagon Races. Here is a brief outline.
Chuck Wagon racing is a team event, led by a driver who commands a team of horses pulling the chuck wagon, and is supported by two outriders, each racing individual thoroughbred horses that follow the chuck wagon. Each race typically involves four teams, and begins with the outriders "breaking camp", by tossing a barrel representing a camp stove into the back of their wagon before mounting their horses and following the wagons as they complete a figure eight around two barrels before circling a race track. The first wagon to cross the finish line typically wins, although various time penalties are handed out for infractions such as a barrel being knocked over, or a stove is not loaded, wagon interference or an outrider crossing the finish line more than 150 ft behind his wagon driver.
We all stood to sing “O Canada” during which a helicopter flew over the stadium with a Canada Flag.
The Chuck Wagon racing got underway. I got many photos and videos of the races, but I am having issues with uploading videos. The videos keep timing out before completely uploading. I am going to go over to McDonalds one of these days and try their free wifi to see if I can get the videos to upload. I can’t figure out if it is the hotel wifi that is causing the issues or if it is FLICKR itself that is the problem. It is possible that the hotel has put a block on any large uploads. I am disappointed and aggravated with the hotel wifi, but it is what it is and there is nothing I can do to speed it up.
At the intermission they had the childrens chuck wagon races on the stage. The kids have mechanized toy horses with a wagon.
There was more chuck wagon racing.
During another break in the action, there was a presentation from Parks Canada that designated The Calgary Stampede as a National Historic Event.
After the last chuck wagon race, they rolled out the big Trans Alta stage in preparation for tonights show.
We were introduced to Harry the Horse, he is the official mascot of the Calgary Stampede
The evening show started off with high wire acrobatic acts and lots of flames and laser lights.
Then the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performers came out for a song and dance routine.
Then the Lariats of Jinan China came out to impress us with their trick rope spinning and jumping routines.
This was followed by some amazing bicycle riding and tricks by the Icarian Bicycle group from China. (don’t we have any stage talent right here in Canada that could have performed at the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede?)
The Extreme Team motorbike jumpers roared up and over the stage as dancers performed below them. This could be a bad scene if something goes wrong. The pictures are terrible, the action was too fast for the camera. The videos turned out great though, so check back later to see if I finally got them uploaded to FLICKR.
The finale of the evening was Paul Brandt. He is the headliner for all 10 evenings of the Calgary Stampede. Paul Brandt is the most awarded male Canadian Country Music artist in history. He was born and grew up in Calgary so it is fitting that he is here for the 100th anniversary. His was lowered from high above the grandstand down to the stage floor.
We snuck out of the show before the last song to get a head start on leaving the Stampede grounds before the rest of the 100,000 people departed. Daily attendance has been over 100,000. The transit and taxi system in Calgary cannot handle these crowds, so you have to be a bit creative and make wise choices or you are going to be stuck in the crowds. There are not enough taxis in town to handle the demand and it has been reported that taxi drivers are charging $100.00 just to get in their cab.
We got to the C-Train station and boarded without any inconvenience, the train was virtually empty. That was a wise decision to bail out before the last song.
To see all of the photos and videos from today, you can find them at my FLICKR site.