A few weeks ago, P and I had the pleasure of going to the Calgary Stampede for the first time ever. Thanks to GMC for taking us there, we had the opportunity of experiencing the rodeo first hand, and exploring the wildnerness of Calgary. If you remember a couple months back, towards the beginning of this year, I went with a bunch of girls to Banff to check out the view. Albeit being wintertime, the landscape was unbelievably beautiful. I made a solemn promise to myself that I would eventually be back in the summer just to see how beautiful the views are unobstructed by snow.
We were only there for a short 3 days, but so much was done that I’ll have to split it up between 2 blog posts. Here’s a quick recap on what we got up to while in Calgary!
Well this was more like night 1 if anything. We landed in the evening and enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Guild that kicked off with some drinks in a private dinner area to meet the GMC team. If you’re ever in Calgary, I highly recommend that you plan at least one meal at The Guild – with the beef tenderloin dish being your highlight. The dish was the epitome of finger licking good with the ridiculously tender beef that quite literally disintegrated upon consumption.
As we were both quite tired, P and myself retired back to our rooms at Le Germain for an early night in, in hopes of recuperating some lost time from travel. Luckily for us time was on our side as Calgary is 2 hours behind Toronto.
Rising early was a theme for the trip. Which is something that I completely advocate for, but can never seem to apply to my life in Toronto. Getting up early meant that we actually had time to enjoy a breakfast before heading out for the day. Having something else besides just a coffee first thing in the morning is definitely a game changer.
The first business of the day was to get the whole group appropriately suited up for the Calgary Stampede. If I didn’t already guess, that meant outfitting everyone with a cowboy hat.
We had the pleasure of visiting Smithbilt Hats to tour their workshop and to pick out a hat. Having the opportunity of observing the production process was fantastic, and I definitely discovered a new-found appreciation for the millinery industry. We were each gifted a hat of our choice and had them custom sized for fit us. Talk about a privileged experience! The theme of the trip was to experience the Stampede #LikeAPro and I was already starting to feel like one with the right gear.
Following our fitting, we headed directly to the Calgary Stampede for a long day ahead of us. The notion of business were the VR Derby races. You’d think that VR is easy to handle, but it’s far from it. Between trying to drive your chuck wagon properly without hitting the side walls, and to actually guide your horse to go faster, it’s basically like a mission to deep space waiting to happen. Everyone had a chance to try their hand at the VR derby before we wandered off to explore the fair grounds. PSA: Anyone who goes to the Calgary Stampede needs to try the deep fried coffee for me. I didn’t get a chance to and now I’m seriously kicking myself for not giving it a go.
We spent the remainder of our day over on the rodeo side of the Calgary Stampede, and began the evening with a behind-the-scenes tours of the stables. Meeting some of the horses that would later run in the chuck wagon races was exhilarating. I was even able to befriend a little one named Oops! He was too cute and I couldn’t help but keep taking photos of him.
After completing the tour of the stables, we swiftly back to our seats on the other side of the arena to get comfy for the chuck wagon races, among some other forms of entertainment. Perhaps the most interesting (at least for me it was) event, was the final one where a relay race was done where the handler dismounts his horse to only quickly remount a new one. It was definitely a sight to see that I’m glad that we didn’t leave to early.
If there was one thing that I picked up on that day, it was to wear sunscreen. Although it was a relatively mild day, I definitely wound up with some minor burns on my arms from sitting in the sun watching the rodeo.
Photography Credits: The Dunk Listt