Saturday March 9th, 2013 - Los Angeles residents were overtaken by the sights and sounds of Explore Alberta: A Festival of Alberta Canada's top summer experiences. A large stage featured Japanese drummers, country artists and a variety of other acts. Off-stage there was a brightly costumed performer twirling flourescent hool hoops and Cirque du Soleil-type stilwalkers working the crowd.
Attendees enjoyed a variety of interactive events like riding a mechanical bull, climbing to the top of a mountain on a climbing wall, digging for dinosaur bones, learning how to line dance and even getting a chance to win a trip to Alberta.
Other events included fly fishing with an instructor, driving a golf ball on their golf simulator and several hockey challenges where you could try and score-on-the-goalie in a miniature hockey rink. Capping off the festivities was a performance by singing/songwriting sensation Jason Greeley. Jason was a Top 4 contender on “CTV’s Canadian Idol” out of over 9,000 hopefuls across Canada, and returned home a hero. With that success came the release of Greeley’s debut album, “Live, Love, Sing”. The album includes a single co-written with Idol judge Sass Jordan and debuted at number one in Newfoundland, selling over 12,000 copies.
Greeley then took his music overseas, making three trips to Germany to perform for the Canadian troops. He signed with Royalty Records, the long-time Alberta indie label that connected Greeley with two-time CCMA Producer of the Year, Joel Feeney. Greeley’s songwriting talents came to the forefront as well, and he co-wrote five of the songs on the album, including partnering with Nashville’s Denny Carr (Rocket Girl) on “What I’ve Gotta Do”. Greeley’s musical direction is defined by his credo, “You’ve got to sing what you love, to love what you sing”.
The fun-filled interactive event took place from 12:00pm - 7:00pm at Nokia Plaza at LA Live across from the beautiful Staples Center. The Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses greeted and took photos with attendees and encouraged them to experience Alberta for themselves and to get a taste of The Calgary Stampede. This annual Rodeo takes place in July to preserve and promote western heritage and values.
The Calgary Stampede is a ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, chuckwagon racing, and agricultural competitions. The event's roots are traced to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. Organized by thousands of volunteers and supported by civic leaders, the Calgary Stampede has grown into one of Canada's largest festivals and a significant tourist attraction for the city.
The Calgary Stampede Rodeo is the world’s richest tournament-style rodeo, featuring over $2 million in prize money. Contestants are divided into two pools. The top four money winners in each pool advance to Showdown Sunday. The remaining six competitors in each pool compete on Wild Card Saturday. The top two in each event advance to Showdown Sunday – Rodeo’s Richest Afternoon with over $1 million to be given away. It all leads up to a one shot, go-for-broke performance with winners taking home the Calgary Stampede Championship and $100,000.
After the day of activities ended, Travel Alberta and The Los Angeles Kings brought local Canadian and hockey fans together at The Staples Center in anticipation for the rival hockey match between The Calgary Flames and The Los Angeles Kings. Both teams were pumped up and ready to rumble. I was graciously invited to one of the Staples Centers' Sky Boxes to watch the game and rub elbows with a couple of Kings legends as well as the Flames famous Mascot.
The Staples Center presented Legends Night and honored former Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey (from Alberta), for an amazing record-setting career. A special pre-game ceremony was held for Kelly with his wife Donna and three daughters present. A vdeo highlight reel was shown and at the end of the ceremony, Kelly dropped the puck between the captains of the Calagry Flames and the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flames and the Kings were evenly matched and the game was a tense back and forth battle between the two teams who were tied 1–1 in the first period. It was an amazing match-up that kept all spectators in the stadium on the edge of their seats. But in the end, the Kings out-scored the Flames, eventually winning the game 6-2.
Following the game, the final glasses of beer were downed, the victory cries subsided, and the beautiful Calgary Stampede Queen and her court rode off into the Sunset. All had a great time. A special thanks to Travel Alberta, The Calgary Stampede, The Los Angeles Kings, the fans, and everyone that worked tirelessly to make this wonderful event an enormous success.
Come and visit, and see why The Calgary Stampede is indeed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. So come to Calgary in July and enjoy Canada’s beautiful, scenic and breathtaking country, 10 days of amazing Stampede events, and get spoiled by Alberta’s western hospitality. For more information, and to book your travel arrangements, go to www.CalgaryStampede.com or www.TravelAlberta.com/
Keep an eye out for my next series of travel articles when I visit Alberta this Summer.