Friday, July 07, 2006

Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy

If you don’t know what the title of my post is about and think I’m just being naughty today, then you don’t know what today is! It’s officially the time of year when the gun-toting, beer-drinking, horse-riding, tobacco-chewing crowd is in town.

Yes, folks, it’s time for the Calgary Stampede!

You can eat free for a week - this is only one set of listings. Every other business in the city has a pancake breakfast, a barbecue lunch, in some cases an Alberta beef steak dinner…

This is Canada’s largest annual event and I’m such a schmuck I get a lump in my throat just thinking about the local spirit this time of year. And tense and grumpy thinking about driving in the city for the next ten days.

I remember the first year I lived in Calgary. I was on my way to work, with no idea about the Stampede and what it meant. It took about half a dozen trains for me to finally make it down to the platform that day – it was a zoo! Of course, I had no idea about the parade. As much fun as my friends to the south have celebrating the Fourth, I’ve got to tell you, Calgary goes wild for Stampede.

Two years ago, the Calgary Flames made it to the Stanley Cup final. I remember all the flags – everywhere you went, the red flag of the Flames was flying. I even remember someone calling in Scott Phillips on Country 105’s request hour and asking for Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire because Tampa was going to go down as the Flames went higher.

A reporter for Tampa Bay covering the games here said Calgary had less than half the population of Tampa Bay, but that in Calgary, of the 933,495 residents, 933,490 were Flames fans. He was amazed at the level of local enthusiasm and support for our team.

He should come back now for a visit, and he’ll see real Calgary spirit.

What are the best things about Stampede?
- You can eat free for a week, and eat well
- If you want a beer with breakfast, nobody thinks that’s odd
- For the young guys, the Buckle Bunnies are out in full force (there’s a saying here – married women give birth 9 months after New Year’s, single mom’s 9 months after… uh, never mind)
- It’s considered a crime to be at Nashville North and be sober
- The Odd Squad usually broadcast the parade, and if you’ve ever heard the Odd Squad, you don’t need me to explain how funny they are
- It’s cool to listen to country music
- There are free concerts everywhere - Nelly Furtado and Our Lady Peace take to the Coca Cola Stage, the likes of Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Scottish country star Johnny Reid take to the Nashville North stage, and - oh gee, look at who’s performing July 10 at Ranchman’s.

Now, I feel I should offer some compensation to those of you who can’t be here for Stampede. If you’re feeling teased with all this talk of parades, scantily-clad women and country music, I have the solution. You can watch the Big & Rich video for Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) I remember when this song came out, and it remains one of the most controversial country music debuts certainly this decade, if not ever. Some people were incredibly offended. So, warning. If you don’t want to see women in short-short shorts swiveling their hips or a bit of cleavage or butt-wiggling, skip this link. If, however, you feel compelled to get into the Stampede spirit, well, that’s the link for you.

But every year the radio takes votes on what song is the best Stampede song. Popular choices? Matraca Berg’s Back in the Saddle, Gretchen Wilson’s Redneck Women and, you guessed it, Big & Rich’s Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.

Important News! It’s Steve’s birthday. Steve has obviously forgotten that he is the cool one who has a birthday today, and the others are just glad to be in his company. Go wish him a good one! And thanks to me, now he knows his birthday is the event of a huge celebration in Calgary. Or, well, shares the same date as one, this year anyway...

And, because it’s Friday, jokes. First, though, a warning from JT Ellison that I felt was important enough to post:

I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself a couple times...but this one is real, and it's important.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warming weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! IT IS A SCAM!!

They only want to see you naked...
I wish I'd gotten this yesterday.
I feel so stupid.

It’s okay JT. We all make mistakes sometimes.

Situational Awareness Scenario:

You are driving in a car at a constant speed.

On your left side is a valley and on your right side is a fire engine
traveling at the same speed as you.

In front of you is a galloping pig which is the same size as your car
and you cannot overtake it.

Behind you is a helicopter flying at ground level.

Both the giant pig and the helicopter are also traveling at the same
speed as you.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Answer below

Answer: Get off the children's "Merry-Go-Round", you're pissed.


Erik Ivan James said...

It's been a long time goal of attend the Calgary Stampede. Someday......

James Goodman said...

Ah, this is officially on my list of things to do before I die.

Trace said...

I wanna go to the Calgary Stampede!! I wanna drink beer for breakfast!

Bill Cameron said...

I gotta admit, you made me want to go, even though normally something like this wouldn't do much for me.

On another note, I hope no one feels like they have to go to that much trouble to get me to dance around naked. Just ask...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Erik, now you have another reason to come here!

James, I think you'd have a blast. And I didn't even talk about the midway and rides and rodeo and chuckwagon races and grandstand show... Lots to entertain the whole family!

Well Trace, what you drink for breakfast in your own home, nobody needs to know!

Bill... You know that remark is going to come back to haunt you at BoucherCon. You just know it!

Bill Cameron said...

Well, just in case, I think I will have to hone my "feign death" skill.

angie said...

Free food for a week? How very...Canadian. Can't imagine good ol' capitalist America walking away from a chance to fleece thousands of hungry folks at a week-long event.

Sounds like a great time, Sandra! Take full advantage of your opportunity to "cowgirl up!"

Julia Buckley said...

So . . . hockey is big in Canada?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Angie, it's great promotion. Kevin gets bonus time off work - everyone where he works does - and they get Stampede tickets as well. Basically, because everyone gets in on it, if you don't do a Stampede event or sponsor something, you lose a lot of local favour. The Chinook Stampede breakfast is massive, and they usually have a list of top performers as well - blueberry pancakes, sausage, bacon, regular pancakes, free face painting and balloons, a jumping tent for the kids, the police helicopter is on scene for people to check out... It's billed as a family fun day, and it's all free.

Julia, thanks for the laugh! Bit like asking if the Fourth of July is big in the US, isn't it?!

Erik Ivan James said...

What's the first reason I have to come there?

angie said...

Okay. I'm offically jealous. And drooling. And I want a bouncy castle of my very own, dammit!

ivan said...

Ranchman's huh?
That's my idea of ridin'

JamesO said...

I don't understand - drinking beer for breakfast is wrong?

S. W. Vaughn said...

JT & Sandra -- thanks for the warning. If only I had known that two weeks ago. He never did find a single tick, and here I was all relieved...


Happy Calgary Stampede to you, Sandra! I'm off to save a horse (okay, maybe not right at this moment, but yanno, saving horses is what I'm all about)

Sandra Ruttan said...

Erik... uh, you'll figure it out, hon.

Angie, wouldn't a bouncy castle be cool? And a kiddie pool to sleep in right about now would be nice...

Ivan, LOL!

Leave it to you Scots, James! Next you'll be wondering what's wrong with Haggis.

SW, is it really saving the horses you're all about? Wait a second. Some questions I might not want answers to. Scratch that.

JamesO said...

They had their own brewery at my school. Sadly a few hundred years before I went there. Back then the boys had a daily ration of beer, and drinking it at breakfast was positively encouraged. Mind you, the water would kill you.

They turned the brewery into a library, which says something, though I'm not sure what.

Elizabeth said...

Beer for breakfast with your blueberry pancakes? Hot cowboys?

I was clearly born in the wrong country.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Stampede sounds similar, but not the same...LOL...that is such a stupid the Running of the Bulls in Pamploma.

All the regulars use this time to take vacation. And allow the town to be taken over by drunkin' revelery!

I hope your's is calmer!LOL!

Love the jokes....LOL!

Steve Allan said...

Hey, someone remembered my birthday!

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