From the ranch I headed back to Calgary, completing my little circular road trip. I returned the car and prepared for a return to hostel sleeping. Here it was a six-bed dorm.
Walking distance away is Stampede Park, venue for the annual Calgary Stampede which I guess you could say is a full-on western festival with rodeo events, country music concerts and cowpersons galore. I always remember mum mentioning that she would have loved to have gone to the Stampede and as I had missed it by about three months, I thought the least I could do is go and see where they hold it.
I found the site and wandered around, a huge outdoor complex of buildings and outside areas. Oddly quiet, in contrast to the peak in July when the Stampede attracts more than a million visitors.
I was quite taken with all of the rodeo imagery dotted around the place.
My rural upbringing featured things like exposure to copious amounts of country and western, going to the New Years Day rodeo in Warkworth, watching westerns with dad, and hanging around with friends who had horses, so the Stampede wouldn’t be too alien an experience. I could see myself returning one day.