“When the working day is done. Oh girls, they wanna have fun.”—Cyndi Lauper
After a rough few weeks Ms Soapbox and her family dug out their cowboy hats, found some denim shirts and went stampeding.
Ms Soapbox decided to retrace the steps of the all-time Stampede champion, Premier Rachel Notley, who has been spotted stampeding all over town.
Where to start? How about the Zipline? Rachel climbed up a 14 story tower, strapped herself into a zipline harness and whizzed across the Stampede grounds at 50 kmp. The line zinged like a lightsaber. When she was back on terra firma she declared it was “kinda cool”.
Ummm…nope. Ms Soapbox fell off a curb at the Stampede last year and sustained a hairline fracture to her patella. Ziplining was out of the question. Wandering around the grounds sounded good.
Maybe something involving animals? Rachel officiated at the wiener dog races at MLA Brian Malkinson’s Stampede Breakfast. Three little dogs charged out of the starting gate, two got distracted and ran back to the starting line while the winner hopped over and around hay bales to take first place. It’s not clear from the video footage whether the other two dogs understood they were haring off in the wrong direction. (I’m sure there’s a lesson for the UCP in there somewhere).
Ms Soapbox and her family opted for the Dog Bowl. We cheered until we were hoarse for rescue dogs who dazzled us with feats of speed, agility, and cuteness. We wandered over to the Ag Barn to check out the Clydesdales (which get bigger every year) and the miniature horses (which were tiny, sturdy, and delightful).
There’s always food. Rachel and her Notley Crew flipped pancakes for 4000 Calgarians at the Premier’s Stampede Breakfast at McDougall Centre.
Yes, pancakes are a Stampede tradition, but after three hours on the grounds the Soapbox crew needed “real” food not flapjacks so we picked up a food map and headed for the kiosks flogging chicken on a stick, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and Ms Soapbox’s personal favourite, pyrogies. Nothing says “stampede tradition” like pyrogies, sausage, onions and sour cream straight out of a soggy carton eaten in the shade of the Banks of the Bow bronze sculpture accompanied by the howls of a strange small child who stepped on Mr Soapbox’s hand…twice.
Entertainment! Rachel packed a lot of entertainment venues into her Stampede week—the highlight (for me at least) was when she joined the Maritime Bhangra Group on stage for Bhangra lessons.
The Soapbox entourage chose something a little more sedate. We purchased tickets for the 50th Anniversary of the Young Canadians Grandstand Show. They danced on stage and we boogied in our seats until the fireworks pffted to a stop and we staggered out into the smoky dark trying to remember where we’d parked the car.
Rachel Notley says in Alberta we know where we’re headed and how to get there. This week she demonstrated it’s okay to have a little fun along the way.
Ms Soapbox agrees.
Happy Stampede, Alberta!