2006-2008. Photos from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, copyright Andy Lepki.

Calgary Stampede

It is Calgary Stampede 101 year! This quite epic event runs between July 5th through July 15th 2012. 101 stampedes. I managed to stagger through two and a half.

To anybody who has never been there, hold on to your cowboy hat and line your stomach with pancake breakfasts...

As a newcomer to the Stampede scene in 2006, I was amazed that free breakfasts were served on street corners and in parking lots. Pancakes loaded with sausages and soaked in maple syrup served by CEOs.

Why do people do this? It's a badge of honour to provide a good free breakfast.

"Man you should check out the Staples breakfast..." rumours spread around CBC morning breakfast reports.

During the ten days, which see quite a lot of corporate parties and general liveliness in the city, Stampeders may need a little something stodgier than Corn Flakes to get them through to lunch and beyond.

Local businesses are decorated with cartoon depictions of cowboys, and it really is necessary to wear your cowboy hat everywhere.

Evident in this picture is how the pancakes can pile up on the waist. Big belt buckles also come in handy.

Everything kicks off with the big parade where all the marching bands, cheerleaders, charities, corporations ride through downtown on their floats.
It is madatory to Yee-ha on command, though some favour a Ya-hoo... this is especially necessary if any genuine cowgirl waves in your direction.

After the parade, a trip to Cowboys or Coyotes will confirm that yes, it really is a bit different here...

Waitresses parade around in assless chaps...

...and "tub tarts" who could just as easily be students, waitresses, geophysicists or lawyers can earn cash tips. Of course it doesn't hurt to show a little bit of flesh and say the odd "Howdy"...

and later on, it turns into oil guys who'd checked their rings in at reception* getting tequila poured into their mouths...

Lots of people (well 5) found my site for searching for "Calgary Stampede Sluts". I don't mean to associate that with the lady on the right, as she is probably a lawyer (see above), and true cowboys would never besmirch a lady's honour.




*myth propogated by CBC about Hotel Arts...

The Stampede fairground helps you test the robustness of your stomach to hundreds of mini donuts.
The most overblown brilliant/horrible show is the Stampede Grandstand show complete with hundreds of Young Canadians dancing in formation.
After the grandstand show there is a quite embarassing amount of fireworks
Bars around town decorate themselves with wagon wheels, hay bales, and life sized horses. Somebody has to own, supply and move all of those - Gaps in Calgary does the job perfectly.

The focal part of the Stampede is the rodeo where you can see cowboys flung around on bulls...

Chuckwagon races, where a team drives round in circles and delivers a cooker, there is bull riding

a whole lasso and rope tying,

there are cowgirls too, and you can buy cattle at the livestock auctions.

Events such as Whipstock are private parties to let oil guys let their hair down.

Somehow, I ended up at one, and it had more naked body painting than Coyotes and a slightly more risque air about it.

A $15 cowboy hat is the one essential piece of kit, which after 10 days will become your most loved and hated piece of headgear, but may have improved your manners somewhat.
Drink and chivalry may lead to the odd roll in the hay...
Bizarre acts come to town - such as MC Hammer
First nations performers get a bit of airtime...
Blue Rodeo will be performing somewhere...
Drinking is kind of OK, if not mandatory, at work...
You can probably buy livestock if you want (or a magic electostatic broom at the product showcase)

when oh when will the Calgary Tower be given a hat for stampede???

parade flag brass band
parade penguin float
white suited trumpeters future sherrif
current and future leo xylophone
eat alberta beef white hats
Stampede party at Fort Calgary Peruvians on 8th Ave
Storm clouds Fort Calgary
Feist live at the Grand Critical Mass Stampede breakfast
Body painting at Whipstock More clouds
Cowboy tables & Jim Marika Some random guy thinking he's a player
Deluxe Diner
Horses in the stables at the Stampede stampede flag
Demian & Carrie Corey
The stampede skytrain Tom at the Stampede
Lisa Tom & Anna fly by
Tipi Cow up close
Statr of the rodeo 8th Ave SW
rollercoaster fun bxmer in mid air

brass band in the parade cowboy and cowgirl
  cowtown regulars
Bronco - Dave Brononier in the parade armed tanks invade Calgary
horse with pink some Chinese float
margeritas for breakfast Dave Bronconnier Mayor of Calgary
cowgirls Cowboy