Thursday, May 26, 2011


  The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, attracts over one million visitors per year and features the world's largest rodeo, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions. Calgary takes on a party atmosphere during Stampede; residents don western wear and events held across the city include ever popular pancake breakfasts and barbecues.
   The Stampede's roots are traced to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. American promoter Guy Weadick launched the first rodeo in 1912 though the second was not held until 1919 when the Victory Stampede was organized to honour soldiers returning from World War I.  A 1923 merger with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition created the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and it has been an annual event since. Over two million people visit Stampede Park annually as events are held throughout the year.
   With over $2 million in prizes, the Stampede is among the richest rodeos in the world and attracts top competitors from across North America.


   The Program for 1912 Calgary Stampede featuring the Big 4: Burns, Lane, Cross, and McLean.  The Calgary and District Agricultural Society was formed in 1884 to promote the town and encourage farmers and ranchers from eastern Canada to move west. The society held its first fair two years later, attracting a quarter of the town's 2,000 residents.  By 1889, it had acquired land on the banks of the Elbow River to host the exhibitions but crop failures, poor weather and a declining economy resulted in the society ceasing operations in 1895. The land passed briefly to future Prime Minister R. B. Bennett who sold it to the city. Naming the area Victoria Park after Queen Victoria, the city leased the land to the newly formed Western Pacific Exhibition Company which introduced a new agricultural and industrial fair in 1898.

   The exhibition grew annually, and in 1908, the Government of Canada announced that Calgary would host the federally funded Dominion Exhibition that year. Seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to promote itself, the city spent C$145,000 to build six new pavilions and a racetrack, held a lavish parade and rodeo, horse racing and trick roping competitions as part of the event. The exhibition was a success, drawing 100,000 people to the fairgrounds over seven days despite an economic recession that afflicted the city of 25,000.

   Guy Weadick, an American trick roper who participated in the Dominion Exhibition as part of the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show, was drawn back to Calgary in 1912 in the hopes of establishing an event that more closely represented the "wild west" than the shows he was a part of. With the assistance of local livestock agent H.C. McMullen, Weadick convinced businessmen Pat Burns, George Lane, A.J. MacLean, and A.E. Cross to put up $100,000 to guarantee funding for the event. The Big Four, as they came to be known, viewed the Stampede as a final celebration their life as cattlemen. The city built a rodeo arena on the fairgrounds and over 100,000 people attended the six-day event in September 1912 to watch hundreds of cowboys from Western Canada, the United States and Mexico compete for $20,000 in prizes. The Stampede made $120,000 and was hailed as a success. The city was nonetheless not convinced of the viability of the rodeo and it was not held again until 1919 when Weadick was invited to organize the Calgary Victory Stampede to celebrate the city's soldiers returning from World War I.

 Calgary Exhibition and Stampede

   Stampede in-field and the Stampede Showband on the stageThe Calgary Industrial Exhibition continued its annual fair but faced declining attendance into the 1920s. In 1922, it approached Weadick in the hopes he would join his Stampede with the fair and hold both in conjunction. Weadick agreed, and the union created the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.  The combined event was first held in 1923, and Weadick encouraged the city's residents to dress in western clothes for the event and decorate their businesses in the spirit of the wild west.  Civic leaders truly supported the event for the first time; Mayor George Webster followed the suggestion to dress western and allowed downtown roads to be closed for two hours each morning of the six-day event to accommodate street parties.The new sport of Chuckwagon racing was also introduced in 1923 and proved immediately popular. 138,950 people attended and the event earned a profit.  Over 167,000 people attended in 1924 and the success guaranteed that the Stampede and Exhibition would be held together permanently.

   The 1925 silent movie The Calgary Stampede used footage from the rodeo and exposed the event to people across North America. It was the first of at least five movies filmed at the Stampede by 1950. Attendance suffered during the Great Depression but rebounded during World War II. While the Canadian National Exhibition ceased operations during the war, the Stampede remained active and offered the public an escape. Attendance had grown to 240,000 by 1939 – three times the population of Calgary.  Hollywood stars and foreign dignitaries were attracted to the Stampede. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby both served as parade marshals during the 1950s, while Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made their first of two visits to the Stampede in 1959 as part of their tour of Canada.  The Queen also opened the 1973 Stampede.


   The discovery of Leduc No. 1 in 1946 along with major oil reserves in the Turner Valley area ushered in a period of great growth and prosperity as Calgary was transformed from an agricultural community into the oil and gas capital of Canada.  The city's population nearly doubled between 1949 and 1956, and Calgary's immigrant population not only embraced the Stampede, but encouraged their friends and family in their home towns to do the same. The 1950s represented the golden age of the Calgary Stampede.
   Patsy Rodgers was the first Stampede Queen in 1946 and is seen here as the Parade Marshal in the 2008 Stampede ParadeAttendance records were broken nearly every year in the 1950s, and overall, attendance increased by 200,000 from 1949 to 1959.  The growth necessitated expansion of the exhibition grounds at the same time.  The 7,500 seat Stampede Corral was completed in 1950 as the largest indoor arena in Western Canada.  The board of directors operated the Calgary Stampeders hockey team, which won the Western Hockey League championship in 1954 and helped establish the Corral as the centre of Calgary's sporting world.  During Stampede, acts such as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and Louis Armstrong played the Corral, however the arena's poor acoustics were a frequent concern to organizers and patrons.

   Improvements were made to the grandstand and the race track was rebuilt in 1954.  The Big Four Building, named in honour the Stampede's original patrons, opened in 1959 to serve as the city's largest exhibition hall in the summer, and was converted into a 24-sheet curling facility during the winter.  The improvements failed to alleviate all pressures growth had caused, as despite numerous changes, the Stampede continued to face chronic parking shortages and inability to accommodate demand for tickets to the rodeo and grandstand shows.
   Attendance continued to grow throughout the 1960s and 1970s, topping 500,000 for the first time in 1962 and reaching 654,000 in 1966 prompting organizers to expand the event from six days to nine in 1967 and then to ten one year later.  One million people attended for the first time in 1976. The park, meanwhile, continued to grow. The Round-Up Centre opened in 1979 as the new exhibition hall, and the Olympic Saddledome was completed in 1983. The Saddledome replaced the Corral as the city's top sporting arena, while both facilities hosted hockey and figure skating events at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

   Maintaining the traditional focus on agriculture and western heritage remained a priority for the Stampede as the city grew into a major financial and oil hub in Western Canada. Aggie Days was introduced in 1989 as a means to introduce urban schoolchildren to agriculture and proved immediately popular.  A ten-year expansion plan called Horizon 2000 was released in 1990 detailing plans to grow Stampede Park into a year-round destination for Calgarians, while an updated plan was released in 2004.  Attendance plateued around 1.2 million in recent years, with the current record of 1,262,518 set in 2006.

Stampede Park

    Stampede Grounds as seen from the Calgary Tower. The Saddledome is on the left, and the race track and grandstand in the distance to the right. Stampede Park is located southeast of downtown Calgary in the Beltline District. The park is serviced by Calgary Transit's light rail system as well as neighboring property owners who rent parking spaces during the 10 days of the festival. Permanent structures at the site include the Saddledome and Corral, The Big Four Building, The BMO Centre – a convention and exhibition facility, a casino, the Stampede Grandstand, the agriculture building, and a number of facilities that support the exhibition and livestock shows.

   The park remains at its original location, though attempts had been made in the past to relocate.  In 1964, the Stampede Board attempted to purchase former military land in southwest Calgary near Glenmore Trail and 24 Street and relocate the park there. A fully developed plan was released in 1965, and while it had the support of the civic and federal governments, intense opposition from nearby residents quashed the plan. Space concerns remained a constant concern for the Stampede, and plans to push northward into Victoria Park beginning in 1968 began a series of conflicts with the neighbourhood and city council.

      Then as the neighborhood fell into steady decline, it was not until 2007 that the final buildings were removed, paving the way for both an expansion of Stampede Park and an urban renewal program for the area. With the land finally secured, the Stampede embarked on a $400-million expansion that is planned to feature a new retail and entertainment district, urban park, a new agricultural arena and potentially a new hotel. The expansion was originally planned to be complete by 2011, but delays and an economic downturn have pushed the expected completion of the project back to 2014.

 Events and Parade

     Parade - Beginning shortly before 9AM on the first Friday, the parade serves as the official opening of Stampede.  Each year features a different parade marshal, chosen to reflect the public's interests at that time. Politicians, athletes, actors and other dignitaries have led the event over the years. The event features dozens of marching bands, 170 floats and hundreds of horses with entrants from around the world, and combines western themes with modern. Cowboys, First Nations dancers, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their red serges are joined by clowns, bands, political and business leaders. The first Stampede Parade in 1912 was attended by 75,000 people, greater than the city's population at the time. As many as 350,000 people attended the parade in 2009.

     Rodeo- The Stampede rodeo is the largest, and most famous event of its kind in the world. Offering a prize of $100,000 to the winner of each major discipline and $1,000,000 total on championship day, it is also has the richest payout in the world. There are six major disciplines – bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc and bareback riding – and four novice events – junior steer riding, novice bareback, novice saddle bronc and wild pony racing.

Rangeland Derby/Chuckwagon racing

       Weadick is credited with inventing the sport of Chuckwagon racing in 1923, inspired either by seeing a similar event in 1922 at the Gleichen Stampede or watching impromptu races as he grew up. As it was the first year the Exhibition and Stampede were held together, Weadick wanted to add a new and exciting event. He invited ranchers to enter their chuckwagons and crews to compete for a total of $275 in prize money.
       Chuckwagon races are a popular attraction at the StampedeKnown at the Stampede as the Rangeland Derby, and nicknamed the "half-mile of hell", chuckwagon racing proved immediately popular, and quickly became the Stampede's largest attraction. While just six groups raced in 1923, today's Rangeland Derby consists of 36 teams competing for $1.15 million in prize money.  Races are broadcast nationally by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Prior to each Stampede, drivers auction advertising space on their wagons. The first advertisement on the tarp cover of a chuckwagon was made in 1941, Lloyd Nelson became the last person to win the Rangeland Derby without a sponsored wagon in 1956 and the first tarp auction was held in 1979.  The revenue generated by the auctions, over $2 million for the 2010 Stampede, is considered an indicator of the strength of Calgary's economy.

      Though popular, chuckwagon racing is a consistent source of controversy.  Animal rights groups protest the event, arguing that the sport causes undue suffering on the horses.  Racers admit the sport is dangerous, and it is not uncommon for at least one horse to die during each Stampede.  In 1986 and 2002, for instance, six horses each were killed as a result of crashes.  Racers defend their sport amidst the controversy, arguing that the animals are well cared for, and that allowing them to race actually saves the majority from prematurely going to slaughter.

   When the agricultural exhibition was first launched in 1886, Alberta was an overwhelmingly rural province. Today, agricultural producers make less than two percent of the province's population, but the exhibition remains an integral part of the Stampede.  Nearly half of all visitors attend the 50 agricultural programs that are organized by more than 1,000 exhibitors.  In addition to livestock auctions, exhibits and competitions, the Exhibition serves to educate the public about Alberta's ranching and agricultural heritage through events like Agrium Ag-tivity in the City.


Midway on the Stampede Grounds
   The Stampede midway has been operated by Conklin Shows since 1976. The midway is unique within the Stampede, as it is the only aspect of the event operated on a for-profit basis.  It is considered an essential component of the Stampede, but exists separate of the central western themes that dominate all other aspects of it. The midway opens on the Thursday night before Stampede opens and is known as "sneak-a-peek" night.  In addition to the traditional rides and carnival games, the midway features two concert areas - the Coca-Cola Stage and Nashville North, which feature rock/pop and country music respectively, and draw acts from all over North America.
   On July 16, 2010, a midway ride called the Scorpion collapsed at around 8:30 pm. One arm of the carnival ride was said to have collapsed, sending riders to the ground, leaving them with cuts and bruises. 10 were injured, with 6 where taken to hospital for further care.

   The tradition of pancake breakfasts dates back to the 1923 Stampede when a chuckwagon driver by the name of Jack Morton invited passing citizens to join him for his morning meals. That act of hospitality grew over time and today, dozens of companies and community groups hold free pancake breakfasts across the city each day. The largest, by far, is the breakfast hosted at the Chinook Centre shopping mall. Four hundred volunteers are required to feed over 60,000 people who attend the one-day event that enjoyed its 50th anniversary in 2010. Other groups, such as the Calgary Stampede Caravan, feed as many as 120,000 people over the ten days of Stampede. The rising popularity of the barbecue grill in the 1960s and immigrants from the city's population boom at the time brought with it the growth of community and company barbecues throughout the city during Stampede.

 Native Participation
   First Nations peoples had been frequent participants of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition since it was first held in 1886, participating in parades, sporting events and entertaining spectators with native dances. By 1912 however, pressure from agents of the Department of Indian Affairs to suppress their historic traditions and to keep them on their farms nearly ended native participation at the Exhibition. Weadick hoped to include natives as a feature of his Stampede, but Indian Affairs refused, and asked the Duke of Connaught, Canada's Governor General to support their position. The Duke refused, and after Weadick gained the support of political contacts in Ottawa, including future Prime Minister R. B. Bennett, the path was cleared for native participation.

     Six Indian tribes enthusiastically supported the event. Hundreds came to the Stampede, camping in teepees, wearing their finest traditional clothes and proved among the most popular participants of the parade. Tom Three Persons, of the Blood Tribe, emerged as one of the Stampede's first heroes, amazing spectators with a winning performance in the saddle bronc.  Indian Affairs again unsuccessfully sought to ban native participation in 1925, but they have otherwise remained an important part of the Stampede since.

Animal Welfare
   Animal advocacy groups have voiced concern over the Stampede and rodeos in general. The Stampede has countered that they protect the safety of animals, years go by without losses, and they cannot avoid all accidents. After every accident resulting in the death of a human or loss of an animal, the Stampede conducts a review which results in safety modifications.
    In 1986, 12 horses died during the Stampede (most were euthanized because of injuries), making that year the  worst for loss of stock. As a result, the Calgary Stampede implemented major safety changes to make collisions less likely. Between 1995 and 2005 there have been 21 horse deaths at the Calgary Stampede.

     The worst animal accident for a single event related to the Stampede was on July 3, 2005.  Nine horses died after jumping off a bridge and into the Bow River. The accident occurred during the Trail 2005 trail ride from the Stampede's ranch to the city. The incident occurred five days before the beginning of the Stampede. Shortly after the accident, the Calgary Police cleared organizers of any criminal fault, upon finding no wilful intent to cause cruelty.  The Stampede's internal investigation was released in December of the same year and failed to identify the cause. It did rule that the accident was not caused by sudden noise, as was speculated at the time. With its press release, the Stampede indicated they would not try again unless they could ensure safety. Though no future rides were planned, the option to have one in the future was left open.
   In 2009 the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun both refused to run an ad by the Vancouver Humane Society depicting alleged cruelty in the calf roping rodeo event. That same year, four animals were killed at the Stampede when three chuckwagon horses died  and one steer had to be euthanized after incurring a spinal cord injury during the steer wrestling event.
   In 2010, six horses died during competition at the Stampede, the majority due to stress-related injuries. The British League Against Cruel Sports encouraged British travel agencies to boycott the Stampede, and more than 50 members of the United Kingdom's Parliament signed a motion asking the Canadian government to improve the treatment of animals in the rodeo.


   Porn and horror movies have always been similar and if you watch either, you'd know that they're basically made of the same elements. For those that are blind and don't see the similarities, these are 10 irrefutable porn and horror movie similarities.

No Acting Skills Needed
   Porn and horror movie producers seem to pride themselves on their baffling horrible acting standards. Bad acting skills used loosely seem to be the charm of both porn and horror movies and is actually preferred since no one wants to watch a serious porn or horror movie. In both genres, there isn't a need for porn and horror actors to depict a wide emotional or character range, they are similar because both genres only require actors to portray one emotion. Porn requires acting out the emotion of pleasure; horror only requires fear, anything else is a bonus.

Nudity Is a Requirement For Both
   It's a no-brainer that nudity is required for porn movies, but have you ever paid attention to the unnecessary amount of nudity in horror movies? Horror movies aren't called B-movies by accident; booties and boobies are unofficial requirements for all horror movies. Porn and horror movies both share the same appreciation for creating sexual situations out of completely random circumstances. Car broke down? In the woods? Pizza man dropped by? These are all perfect situations for nude scenes in both porn and horror movies.

Low Production Budget
   To create a horror or porn movie, all you'd need is a handheld camera, a wrist, and people to voluntarily shoot. Lighting, camera crews, rehearsal, and other high overhead aren't needed when shooting a porn or horror movie, because the audience won't care either way. The background, sound, makeup and special effects of horror and porn movies are always laughably sub-par and that's ok; porn and horror movie fans won't have it any other way.

Terrible  Soundtrack
   Porn is known for its retro late 70s groovy music, saxophone solos, and soothing yoga-like music; horror movies are known for loud synth screeches, dark and long base tones, and random breathing sounds. The soundtracks of porn and horror movies aren't similar in the least bit, but both share the same appreciation for annoyingly painful soundtracks. Sound is just a distraction from cricket sounds, bird chirps, and background car sound in both porn and horror movies, it's not for real music quality.

Neither is Respected
   Both the porn and horror movie genres have been looked down on since they first hit the scene. No one openly admits to being a fan of either genre (unless they're total oddballs) and the Academy will never respect these movie genres. If an actor becomes too famous in either porn or horror movies, they'll always be type casted as porn or horror movie stars - and can never work outside of those genres again. Both porn and horror movies provide an entertainment need, but they just haven't reached the level of social acceptance to make either mainstream.

Moans, Groans, and Screaming for God
   If you were to mute a porn or horror movie during certain scenes, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and if you were to turn off your screen and listen to a horror or porn movie, you'd have no idea which type of movie you were listening to. Both porn and horror movie genres share the same kind of guttural screeches, groans, and pleas for god to either save them, or take them to the furthest levels of ecstasy. When watching a porn or horror movie, you are bound to see a close eyed, open mouthed woman and sweaty guy that's just trying to hold it all together before the woman finds out how unmanly they are.

No Plot is Needed
   When you watch a porn or horror genre movie, you couldn't care less about a plot. When you watch these movies, you only want to see one thing in each respective genre. In fact, when a horror or porn movie tries to establish a plot, it totally ruins the entire movie. No one cares where the porn stars met or their relationship status; their isn't even a need to see them undress each other - it could start right in the middle of the naked action and porn fans would be happy (with a hint of depression). Horror movies are always ruined when the producer (anyone other than Steven King) tries to get witty with their audience; give us blood, screams, and one survivor to live forever in fear and that's all it'll take (p.s. the one survivor isn't needed).

The Same Audience Viewing Setting
   It's funny, but both horror and porn movies are viewed under the same circumstances; dark room, on the bed, and usually under covers. Couples also watch both movie genres to bring each other closer and both can make the man in the relationship look manly - or like a total wuss depending on the porn or horror movie.

Paranoia Inducing
   Porn and horror movies influence the most paranoiac behavior of all movie genres. As soon as you turn on a porn movie, you'll instantly become paranoid of any sound, shadow, or games your mind plays on that makes you believe you'll be found watching porn. Horror movies also make you paranoid, but not because you're ashamed; you'll become paranoid when watching horror because you know that something jumpy is around every corner - you just don't know when it'll happen.

Awkward Endings
   Honestly, both porn and horror movies take too long to end, but when they do, both genres always end awkwardly. Before and during the time you're watching a porn or horror movie, you'll be totally into the movie, but after its over; you automatically snap out of the movie's spell. Horror and porn films end in the same ways every time and even though we know the ending beforehand, we can't help but feel dirty after the movie is over.


   This year's Dover Days Festival proves to be bigger and better than ever—and you won't want to miss a minute of the many free  festivities! Held on The Green and Legislative Mall, two beautiful outdoor parks in the historic downtown district, Dover Days unites heritage, tradition and modern attractions into a festival that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Now in its 78th year, Dover Days is Delaware's longest running festival that celebrates First State history — with more than 25,000 people coming from all over the Mid-Atlantic states to celebrate the weekend's events, May 6-8.

   Springtime is beautiful in Dover, and Dover Days offers so many ways to enjoy it—in a weekend jam-packed with fun for the entire family. Get a glimpse of Delaware's enriching history, through huge parades, traditional Maypole dancing with children in Colonial attire, walking tours, major Civil War Encampment, free admission to numerous museums, and more. Immerse yourself in the ages through costumed reenactments of the Renaissance, the Civil War and WWII. You can see the Governor's mansion first-hand. And enjoy all the excitement of the festival, with more than 200 arts and crafts vendors, delicious foods, live entertainment, children's activities, a hot classic car show, and more.

The History of Dover Days

   As one of the longest running festivals in the state of Delaware, Dover Days dates all the way back to 1933. What started as a simple flower and garden show staged by the Dover Garden Club, has now become an annual time to remember Dover's heritage with community spirit and an entertaining festival of family events.
   Celebrating springtime on a weekend in May, "A Day with the Storied Houses and Gardens of Old Dover, 1683-1933" showcased 20 gardens, and greeted visitors with quadrille dancing, the exhibits of antiques, and maypole dancing on The Green with costumed participants. As the popularity of the event grew, tours were given of the new Legislative Hall. A carriage parade led by the Governor and Mayor, concerts of period music, Governors Tea and demonstrations of old trades, crafts and games were added to enhance the festivities, which drew 3000 attendees by 1936.

   Over the next 20 years, the festival was held annually (with a brief interruption for WWII), and by 1955 it became a two-day event, drawing visitors from all over the Mid-Atlantic states. In 1967, a major celebration was held to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Dover, and again for the 275th anniversary in 1992 - "Old Dover Days" continued to showcase Dover at its best in the spring, and offer visitors the opportunity to celebrate the cherished history of this nation's First State. With each anniversary, this exciting festival grows - attracting over 25,000 people to the multi-day event, and adding new traditions every year. No longer "Old," Dover Days promises to remain a treasured part of Dover's past - and future - for generations and decades to come.

   At the heart of Dover Days lies The Green. The center of much of the action, and the home to many of the festival's events, this one-acre expanse of grass and foliage is a beautiful reminder of the monumental history of Dover and the start of this great nation. In 2009, designated as one of the "10 Great Public Spaces in America," The Green naturally exudes a strong sense of place that makes it a perfect setting for the Dover Days Festival.

   Lined with over 300 years of historical architecture, The Green is an exciting public living space where people can come to celebrate the community and relax - at a place where history was made. The Green has been a significant part of Dover's heritage dating back as early as 1680 - nearly 40 years before Dover's original town plat was prepared in 1717. As the site of some of Dover's most historic events, The Green has bore witness to the passions of revolutionaries, the birth of the nation, and the deep divisions along Union and Confederate lines.