Today we get to the meat and potatoes of the Calgary Stampede: the rodeo. Every day of the Stampede is a qualifying round, with the final round on sunday where the winner of each event gets a check for $100K (Canadian). I’ve never been to a rodeo before and have only seen snippets of it on television. So I didn’t even know that a rodeo wasn’t just guys riding bulls, there are actually seven events:
- Bareback Riding: Ride a bucking horse without a saddle
- Steer Wrestling: Jump off a perfectly good horse onto a running steer.
- Team Roping: Two guys try to rope and subdue a steer.
- Saddle Bronc: Ride a bucking horse with a saddle.
- Tie-down Roping: Rope a steer from the horse then run over and tie its legs together.
- Barrel Racing: For the ladies, a cowgirl races a fast horse around barrels.
- Bull Riding: Guess.
Now, I can understand how most of these events evolved. Roping, riding, breaking a bucking horse: these are all tasks that cowboys would do in their daily life. But what the hell does Bull Riding or Steer Wrestling have to do with the daily life of a cowboy? Why would you EVER need to ride a bull? And wouldn’t you just rope the steer instead of jumping off your horse and risk getting injured on the range? I think the bull riding started as a bet between some cowboys around a campfire.
“Reckon you can’t ride that bull.”
“Reckon I can.”
Alcohol was most definitely involved.
That evening, we got another huge super-shot of cowboynasity as we attended the concert in the Saddledome. The CrazyFather had somehow started liking country music. I think it’s because his mind is going as he ages. Anyhow, this was his can’t miss attraction of the Stampede and really wanted me to go with him. So I put my baseball cap on backwards, drank some beer from a can, and tried to look like I drove a pickup truck.
The opening act was Miranda Lambert, who I actually enjoyed quite a bit. She has a really great stage personality, because even though I couldn’t make out any of the lyrics and didn’t know any of the songs, I could still get excited by the show and have a good time.
The main headliner was Sugarland, which apparently is the Sonny and Cher of country music (the wife has the talent and the husband is dead weight). I’d have to give them a big “Meh”. Except now I know who is responsible for that “All I want to do-do-do-do” song.
Sugarland, you’re on my list. And it’s not the “Who gets cake list.”