Saturday, November 13, 2010

Exploring Canada: The Rodeo

So, yesterday I went to the Canadian Finals Rodeo which was held in Edmonton. . . I wasn't super excited about it really and thought it would probably be kind of lame.  With our rodeo tickets we also got tickets to the farm expo.  I'm from Wisconsin (the city), but you know I've been to animal shows, fairs, farm expos, and a rodeo long ago so I assumed the magic would be gone.
Look A Maple Leaf!
Now, I was a bit excited to see this fine example of Western Canadian culture.  Despite being in Canada for 2.5 years now I'd not really seen much of.  For a place that most people refer to as the Texas of Canada (that is Canadians not me) it Edmonton seemed pretty devoid of cowboys unless the Rodeo or Garth Brooks was in town.
Crazy Russian Cowboy
We arrived nice to at the Expo Centre and I must say it was probably the most upscale ag fair I've seen.  Cowboys were abundant as were sellers of hats, boots, saddles . . . you get the picture.  

Then we saw the other side that had a very strange "petting" zoo.  There were not many animals . . . but there was a calf and a evil sheep.  The calf would say moo in its high baby voice and then evil sheep would say baa in its scary deep evil voice.  It was interesting in its way and generally fun.
Calf, lets call him Earl.

Evil 4 horned sheep, lets call him Damian - note the glowing eyes
Then we had dinner corn dogs!  I love corn dogs . . . and then we went and saw the stock animals!
The prettiest cows I've ever seen . . .
Or animal really . . . tons and tons of cows . . . not even horses.  Fluffy cute cows.  Note the vacuum cleaner that is used to get the wood chips off the cow's bottoms.  Next, it was the rodeo proper!
The comb is a beef byproduct!

Me and the skeletal cow!
If you wanted to know . . .
Like all sporting events the Rodeo starts with the anthem (Canadian).  There was a whole big production this night as it was the day after Remembrance Day (Veterans Day).  It was pretty crazy . . . lots of army guys, horses, and a flaming maple leaf!
Flaming Maple Leaf!
Finishing up with fireworks!
Than the Rodeo started . . . and it was awesome (I had to retract my original statement from the opening ceremony that it was like a sporting event from the 50s).  First, the announcers are total gossips . . . like so and so got married last month and they are having a baby in 4!  The announcers are also kind of mean . . . like so and so did great and may be he'll be old enough to shave soon!  The announcers also told poop jokes for about 15 minutes.  Their was lots of normal rodeo type events and then two additional scary/exciting events.
time to run
getting set
wild horse
still on . . .
not anymore . . .
So, the first event that we thought would be the one we told people the next day was Cowboy Poker (the link has a video).  The "game" goes like this.  Four guys who don't know anything about being cowboys sit at a lawn table in plastic chairs while a crazy bucking bull is sent into the arena.  Whoever is in their chair last is entered for a change to win 40,000 - yes that is right, a chance!  You must watch it to really understand . . . not for the faint of heart though.
Normally you'd think that would be the pinnacle of crazy for the evening, but no.  A bull actually jumped into the stands . . . it was one of the weirdest things ever as I really did not see it coming.  I actually thought to myself surely the bull will not jump into the crowd . . . but it did.

Warning - this is a kind of scary video, so don't watch it if your faint of heart.  No blood or anything and it seems everyone will be alright.

It was a crazy night.  I had way more fun than I was anticipating and got quite the shock . . .

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