Cowboys, horses and amusement park rides?

Canada is quite an amazing country. From one side to the other you have several thousand kilometres miles of country that ranges from high mountains to prairies, from grasslands to snow covered tundra.

This huge country ishas been a favourite place of mine to visit – I do travel there as often as I can. One thing that is always a lot of fun is the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day rodeo, midway, concert and general party held in Calgary, Alberta. It’s 10 days of people dressing like cowboys, yelling “Yaaaahoooo!”, and serving free breakfasts.

The Stampede is held in the first week of July each year; the next one in 2013 will take place on is the 5th to the 14th of July 2013. It starts out with a tradition parade that winds its way through the city. My favourite part of the parade is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police riders. They dress up in their traditional red uniforms and perform the traditional horse and rider shows all along the parade route.

© Danteling/

The heart of it all

The very heartbest part of the Stampede though starts after the parade is finished – the rodeo events themselves. Even if you’re not much of a rodeo fan, you can’t help but become caught up in the excitement. You can watch bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, horse riding, and wagon races – each event has its fans and its own flavour. Sometimes it can get a bit boring watching one event after another, so I often wander out into the midway area and check out the fairground rides. Every year there is always some ride that is trying to out-do the rides of years gone by, one that is more insane than before, and that’s usually the one I end up trying at least once.

© Anna-Webber/

Out on the streets, outside of the Stampede grounds, you’ll find that everyone in the city gets caught up in the spirit of the event. Companies all over the city host free “Stampede breakfasts” where they serve the typical pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, sausages, eggs and coffee. Yum, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Really, if you ever wonder when a good time is to plan a trip to Canada, or where you can go, I’d vote for Calgary during Stampede week!

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