There is cowboy class and cowboy crass and a hell of a lot of in-between at the Calgary Stampede. It’s like the whole city dusts off boots and picks up plaid and ten gallon hats for the ten day event. You see a lot of denim and you also see a lot of skin. Old, young, sloppy, phoney, sharp, rich, flashy, and double chilli hot—it’s all there. Leather too, as well as frills, feathers and glittering gold belt buckles: anything that’s western. For the first time in my life, I have had hat envy. It was elegantly woven of straw, so shady and cool. And there were hats of felt and fur too, as well as boots of leather, crocodile, and ostrich.
Here are some people with outlandish Stampede style at Cowboys nightclub, on a bucking Saturday night. A Calgary resident described the place as ‘Cancun on spring break with western wear.’ For better or worse A three hour line to dance with 4,000 people to standard DJ party tunes in a hangar-sized tent beside the midway. The place was already working up to a fever when I was told at 10 PM that there would be no more pictures. It was like Cancun in western wear. Sort of. Yeeeeee haw.