“Howdy, can I help you with something?”
It was the first thing a Stampede staff member said to us. If one “howdy” wasn’t good enough, we were greeted by several other people, all giving us a friendly “howdy, enjoy your day!” I quickly turned to Robyn and Chris and mumbled under my breath, “I’m pretty sure this is the only place in the world where it’s normal for people to say ‘howdy.’ I wonder if I can pull it off?”
Don’t worry, I don’t greet everyone by saying “howdy” now. I did however give it a test run, busting out a cheerful “Howdy, ya’ll!” Shockingly enough, I wasn’t taken seriously.
I’ve only been to Calgary once. My visit was during the Stampede, so I don’t know if it’s always swept up in cowboy culture, but it sure was when I was there.
We stopped at an Earls (which is a popular restaurant out West,) for lunch after Robyn and Chris picked me up from the airport. We were immersed in a sea of cowboy boots, hats, and denim galore. All of the waitresses were decked out in cowgirl gear. Even the TV’s were set to the country music station — again, the ONLY place in Canada where that’s perfectly normal. Before you knew it, the three of us were chatting about where we could go to find ourselves a pair of cowboy boots.
When we finally got to the Stampede I was in awe of the amount of Western plaid, hats, and get this — CUT OFF tee shirts. I know it’s only clothing, but clothes represent people and cultures, and it was really neat seeing something totally different.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to check out the rodeo and see real cowboys do their thing. We did stumble upon seeing OneRepublic live though! They were playing at the outdoor stage so all you had to do was pay Stampede admission to see them play. They sounded amazing – even better than they do on their albums. Ryan Tedder’s vocals on the album do not do him justice — he had a lot more freedom live and we got to see how talented he really is.
Sadly, my staggering 5 foot 3 inches frame didn’t quite cut it and I spent most of the time on my tiptoes trying to find an opening through the masses to catch a glimpse of the stage. There were a lot of “THERE HE IS!” moments, followed by breathtaking views of the back of someone’s head. I didn’t mind though because the band sounded amazing and it was great getting to hear them play.
The drive back home was definitely a highlight of the trip. I can’t even describe how beautiful the scenery was. I love mountains and getting to drive through the Rockies was amazing. We made a quick stop in Banff (another location I’ve added to my list of places I want to live) and we stopped to stick our feet in a beautiful river.
So, when to use “howdy”? Only if you’re in Calgary during the Stampede…