Parking Lot Parties

IMG_0106The festivities associated with the world’s largest rodeo aren’t limited to the Stampede grounds. Everywhere you turn in Calgary, someone’s throwing a party. And chances are it will be in a parking lot.IMG_0116Throw down a hay bale and some cowboy tchotchkes and you’re ready for a roundup.IMG_0132The Calgary Home + Design Show isn’t until September 19th, but that’s no reason not to have a Stampede party. The way Show Manager Jill Kivett and Amanda Haines of Reformation PR rock their daisy dukes and boots, it makes you think this is not their first rodeo.IMG_0113Before Stampede I had lofty plans of wearing a different cowboy hat for every blog post, but as the days on the dusty road start to blur together, I’m leaning on the ol’ wild rose lid a lot. At this point, I’m more concerned with pacing myself. Early in the day, with those cowprint balloons above my head, I’m exuding a respectable healthiness. Kinda like that yogurt commercial.IMG_0120The smartest strategy to maintain a semblance of sobriety is to eat a big meal. With Gaucho Brazillian BBQ providing the best grub of the week, it wasn’t hard to do.IMG_0109It’s hard to leave when the western wear is this good, but another parking lot was calling my name. My Stampede name. Which I haven’t thought of yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with a great one next week, once the chucks champs have packed up their wagons.IMG_0137 Ran into this purple pardner on the way to Jim Pattison’s party. A brief bicep battle was the only appropriate reaction.IMG_0155IMG_0153IMG_0144IMG_0148Inside, more cowboy accoutrements than I could sling a gun at. Stampede is kind of like Halloween, except everyone is wearing the same costume. Except for that dude in the red plaid shirt who photobombed with aplomb.IMG_0142This cowgirl kindly allowed me to take a picture of her booty.IMG_0168And, in the Wearing a Ten Gallon Hat Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Play Bagpipes category, Calgary’s finest showed up for a little pipe and drums. Highland dancing officers proved there’s more ways to bust a move than the two-step.IMG_0151Bye bye, Amber Big Plume, from Tsuu T’ina Nation,  the 2013 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. Gotta git to the next!IMG_0176This sake glass is where it started to get sloppy. Maybe it was because I took a break from the parking lots to get some sushi at Zen8. But more likely it was because the sushi corralled me toward the VIP suites at the biggest parking lot party of them all. Giddyup!IMG_0183Happy  Stampede indeed. During this marathon 10-day event that turns all Calgarians into cattle drivers, rodeo champions or barrel-racing princesses, all chutes seem to lead to the Cowboys Tent. Which led me to Outrider Steve Sirianni, who, being from Vegas, moonlights as Executive Director of Slots at the Monte Carlo Casino. I’m feeling lucky!ClearSmall xx 2


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