Yee Haw!

Quit yer bitchin, man up, and start to understand why the Calgary Stampede is such an important part of who we are as a city. There are only a few points I have to make here on the subject and if we can't agree after these that the Stampede is awesome then we can't be friends.

First off the most obvious and biggest complaint people have about the Stampede is the drunken assholes and the partying. Consider this: I don't know anyone that doesn't want to head to NOLA for Mardi Gras, the Full Moon Party in Thailand or the massive parties in Ibiza or Ipanema. So why is a party as big or bigger than some of those on that list at home so maddening? Why not just join in? And then why do you think the party gets so big and out of hand every year? Calgary is a very wealthy city. We get that way because we work hard (with the exception of a few hipster kids - in the service industry, especially), and the harder you work the harder you need to play to have balance in your life. 85 hour analyst work weeks lead to letting loose, it's that simple.

The athletes. This is where I rip on the idiot greenies fighting for animal rights. Seriously there are bigger fish to fry but not before you get yourselves educated. There are currently 6 billion people in the world not being taken care of the way those prize animals are. And that is why I call them athletes. They are carefully selected for athletic quality and then fed and taken care of like any top NHLer or footballer in the world, more is invested into each animal than will ever be put into whole villages in the third world. For those worried about deaths of horses, more race car drivers (professional athletes) have died on only 3 tracks (Nurburgring, Monza and Indianapolis) than horses in chuckwagon races. The rate at which recreational horses die is much higher than all horse racing. And the cows... the only purpose cows (Bos Taurus) serve is to be food on our table in one way or another. Whether that is milk and cheese or a big hunk of delicious t-bone, wild cows do not exist in nature, so to think that they could have a "better" life somewhere outside the rodeo is absurd.

We are all just a little bit country. The west, and western values, had to come from somewhere and for a brief 10 day moment every year - hidden amongst the pop country and drunks - there are glimpses and sound bytes of the better person we all want to be. For 10 days hat tips, door holds and smiles at one another abound. Lyrics reminding us to be grateful for what we have, and stop taking for granted our life and love can be heard in every shop. For 10 days this city unplugs and does what humans were always meant to do; be a community, eating and drinking together and simply having fun with each other, bonding over all of the happenings. The Stampede, and the country attitude it reminds us of every year, is the reason we rebounded from the flood so quickly. It reminds us to be neighbourly and lend a helping hand. It is a joy to put on a hat and boots and then remember to open a door for a lady. It is a joy to help that old guy with a cane walk another block to his apartment with heavy groceries, and it is a joy to sit outside and offer a passing random Calgarian a beer and make that new friend. I love the most all the times I am reminded that when I appreciate the little things, like a roof over my head and the woman I love layin in my bed. I got shoes on my feet and forever in her eyes staring back at me. I really start to notice more and more when she loves me like Jesus does. 

As a city kid born and raised, for 10 days I am reminded that I should be just a little more country than that.