As the haze ascends, and the Stampede dust settles here Calgary, many people are attempting to piece together the last 10 days of their lives, I am one of them, and I am struggling. It was my first Stampede, and I do not hope it is my last, although my soul, and liver would say otherwise. Its hard to believe heading downtown today that just two days ago, the biggest rodeo on earth was in full swing, thousands of people causing havoc in this Albertan city.
Weeks before the shenanigans started, I was told by my peers that I was bound to get a slap or two over the festivities…mainly because of how I dress. I cannot help it if Canadians have no fashion sense. Also when you have been blessed with such majestic legs, it would be utterly ridiculous to hide them away, the shorter the better, I say!
I have to admit, that I was sceptical about Stampede. Country music hurts my soul, and the thought of it ricocheting throughout my entire being for almost two weeks wasn’t all that appealing. However, Stampede has this allure that tricks the sceptics into trying out the two step in Nashville North, or shouting ‘Yee-haw’. Although, it could be the vast amount of alcohol, and hormones that are flowing through each individual there. Before I entered the Stampede grounds the first time, I made a silent pact with myself that I would be a respectful guest to this great show. I would conduct myself in a professional courteous manner, yes, thats what I would do. It didn’t work.
The inevitable happened, I got shitfaced. So unbelievably shitfaced that I was transported back in time, when Neanderthals roamed the Albertan plains. There are many Stampede stories I wish I could tell, but due to my inability to recall them due to either too much booze, or they are so haunting I have repressed them, only to come out years down the line when I am paying a middle aged woman to sit and listen to my train wreck of a life, we will see. However I do recall a moment from my adventures, the drunken obnoxious arsehole in me finds it simply hilarious, the young professional in me, also finds is bloody funny. I was kicked out of a ‘family friendly dog show – Superdogs’.
From the start I knew we were in for disaster, after a nervous bag search by security we entered the grounds, tequila still in tow! God bless hiking bags and their copious amounts of pockets. After purchasing a sprite iced beverage, we diverted to the toilets to liven our drinks up. Half a bottle of tequila each. The sun was shining, the buzz was taking over, we felt good. Real fucking good. The super dog show was a first come first serve deal. I was stoked for it, who doesn’t want to see dogs jumping through hoops, and walking on their back legs?! And when you’re pretty drunk, well…the experience was heightened. We had a hour to spare before it all kicked off…beer tent.
The hour passed by in an instant, and so did my morales and dignity. An extremely inebriated Joe stumbled into the Super dog tent, and was instantly confronted by my first morale dilemma of the occasion. A young lad of about 3 was trying to get on to the dog course, but his efforts were being thwarted by the tyrants that call themselves ‘Super dog marshals’. What should I do? Should I walk on by and let the child learn simple life lessons such as ‘boundaries’ and ‘self control’? Nope. I saw my window of opportunity, and scooped the infant up, side stepped the staff members and entered the arena. We made our way to centre stage and I placed the young chap on the podium, he was psyched, I was psyched. Looking around at all these Stampede-goers, I can only relate it to how it must have felt like being in the Amphitheatre in Rome. Fuck yeah, I was a gladiator. Me and the child fist pumped, and I took him back to his parents, who were also pretty impressed with our endeavours. The staff were not. I shied away to the back of the stands, promising that I would behave…I was confronted by my second dilemma.
About three rows in front of me, there sat a young attractive lady. Her auburn hair shimmered in the Calgarian sun, her skin, looked as soft as my freshly conditioned beard. I was in love. That was until I saw her six foot something boyfriend. Bugger. She was wearing a Shania Twain t-shirt on, an opportunity to make contact. Instead of doing what any normal individual would do and attempt to make small talk, I took it upon myself to belt out a Shania classic, ‘Man I feel like a woman’ and serenade this lovely lady. All I managed to achieve was a wry smile from this cheeky, a look of hatred from her fella, and a scornful gaze from the staff. I reeled myself in once again.
Conundrum three then presented itself. My buddy passed me the sambuca we had also smuggled in, after my sing song I was in festival mode. I sat there in open sight drinking sambuca from the bottle, whilst trying to engage a family of three into conversation. The look of horror I received could only be rivalled by that of, Luke Skywalker, when he finds out Darth Vadar is his papa. How the hell was I going to get out of this sticky situation? Impromptu Mexican wave.
I shoot myself up from my seat, arms (and sambuca) in the air, scream WHEEEEY, expecting for others to follow suit! Nope. You could have heard the crickets. I did however hear the staff coming up the stairs, by their feverish steps, they sounded pissed. So I took it upon myself to do the sensible thing, possibly the only sensible thing I did that day, and run the other way, out into the three pm sunshine, out into freedom.
The rest of the evening is a bleary mess of attempting to do the two step, my short shorts getting ripped as I busted out the splits (and nailing them), spending $40 on corn dogs, and attempting to throw my shorts out of the C train window on the way home.
Stampede 1 – 0 Joe. Bravo Stampede, bravo.
(the lovely photo above is myself the morning after. Fit)