Imagine our surprise when we found out that Rogers Communications generously offered us two VIP passes to attend Calgary Stampede and to boot (cowboy of course) it was for the day and night of the final chuckwagon races! We graciously accepted and then went shopping for some new cowboy gear so we could blend in a little better than in previous years!
Arriving at the Stampede grounds late morning, we leisurely walked around the grounds, taking in the sights and sounds of the midway as we made our way to the food area to get our fingers on some delightful, smoked meat and decadent desserts. After a finger licking, lip smacking brisket on a bun we made our way through the Victoria Pavilion, Agrium Western Events Centre and Ag Barn.
As we have come to expect, there we many interesting events and demonstrations to experience around every corner. Having become Forged In Fire viewers over the last few months, the blacksmith competition was even more exciting … although there were no signature catch phrases like “it will kill” spoken as the judges inspected the horseshoes.
The skill and precision that is required to create horseshoes to fit was pretty impressive and the commentary that was provided really helped answer a lot of questions we had about the cowboy ways.
We also managed to catch the mini chuckwagon races in the indoor pavilion. In case there was any doubt, just because the horses and chuckwagons were small, the excitement and speed of these races were just about equal to their full sized cousins! The musical show riders were also very impressive to watch as they raced around the indoor track in synchronicity.
We truly enjoyed a “behind the scenes” tour including a meet and greet with the Rogers Chuckwagon driver Jamie Laboucane and his horse team which gave us a new appreciation for the history of chuckwagon racing, care and attention provided to his horses and his own deep roots in the sport. This was followed up by watching the series of races from an incredible vantage spot in the infield with cold drinks in hand!
To be sure, we felt incredibly fortunate to have the unfettered access provided through our VIP passes! A very big thank you goes out to Rogers Communication for making our Stampede experience so special!