Tuesday 10 June 2014

Cowboys Don’t Cry

The Calgary Stampede is coming up and you know what that means, people complaining about cruelty to animals. Yes, there are probably going to be some animals that get injured and die during this years Stampede. Yes, they will die for our entertainment and yes, it probably isn’t right. Like everything in the world, there is a “but”.

I guess that the biggest butt is Steven Harper. Hehehehehe!

The biggest but is that everyone makes a lot of money during the Stampede. The cowboys make enough money to buy those big trucks and trailers they haul the horses around in. They make some cash to help pay for the ranch they come from. The Stampede itself makes a shitpile of money and I imagine it gets funnelled into rich guy’s pockets all over the city. The bars are filled to capacity from the minute they open till when they toss the last urban cowboy out in the wee hours of the morning. Every band in the city that can learn a few country classics can actually make some money during the Stampede.
Almost every major company in the city will sponsor a Stampede party at some point shortly before, during or after the Stampede for their employees and clients. Most businesses don’t count on a lot of work being done during the week of Stampede. For Calgary firms it is kind of like a mini Christmas in terms of production. The companies hire those bands I was talking about, rent BBQ equipment, petting zoos, buy tons of pancake batter, sausage, bacon, coffee and juice, wine, beer, bales of hay (for sitting and decoration) and western themed clowns.
The city has been busy for a couple of months getting the city pretty for Stampede week. They have swept the roads, hung banners, planted flowers and they are actually improving the LRT system. Each and every Alderperson has booked a community hall in their riding for the obligatory pancake breakfast. Federal ministers will make an appearance and flip a few pancakes to show they are just regular guys. The heads of each major national party will be here to support someone that they think need the support.

There is a parade being planned and I would imagine that somewhere in many industrial bays across the city, floats are being assembled. Cowboys and cowgirls are polishing their silver bedecked saddles, marching bands are practicing marching, Shriners are tuning up their tiny cars and clowns are getting clowney. There is a controversy about picking William Shatner to be the parade marshal this year. I think he is the perfect guy for the job, but he does have his dissenters. Who gives a shit! Moms have the day of the parade circled on the calendar and might just be thinking about what they will need to take and where the best place for viewing will be on the route.
The homeless are looking forward to getting free breakfasts every morning of the Stampede, The bottle pickers will find more bottles than they can carry. There are enough freebies that even those with a less than bulging bank account will be able to have a good time.

Oh, and the animals. They are being looked after, groomed, fed and loved. Yes, loved. These animals mean as much to the cowboys as your pet dog or cat means to you, probably more. They cry when an animal needs to be put down. Well, they would cry, but as we all know, cowboys don’t cry. I’m not a big fan of the Stampede, but that is because I have done it for a long time and not being a big drinker, yelling “HOWDY” at the top of my lungs has long since lost its allure.

Bottom line is that the Stampede generates in the area of 345 million dollars for the city and as long as it continues to earn big bucks, the Stampede won’t change. 

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