This event is essentially a large carnival and rodeo combined, and usually attracts around 1 million visitors each year to our city and is enjoyed and looked forward to by pretty much everyone, both young and old, as it is usually a great deal of fun.
It is also one of the events I really love!
This year I offered to help my Mom, who is taking my 8 year old nephew Mikey and his younger sister Emma, as my sister always refuses to go anywhere near this annual event.
Each year Sis usually will claim she is too busy or too tired to take the kids down to the Stampede and therefore the responsibility falls on either our parents or family friends to take the kids.
As I was driving over to pick everyone up, I thought back to the very last time Sis actually attended the Stampede, which was years ago, when she was only around 6 years old.
It was Mom and Dad, Sis and myself all wandering around the grounds, laughing and enjoying all the rides and different foods, such as the delicious mini-donuts and caramel corn and drinks.
As we turned the corner there was a big sign that said '300 Pound Man Eating Chicken Inside' and beside it was a painting of the biggest and ugliest chicken you had ever seen chasing after a child so he could presumably eat it.
The trailer the animal was in had large metal bars on the window and you had to pay to walk up the stairs and look at it from behind a safety glass window.
The sign also made the claim that this was 'A Once in a lifetime Opportunity !!'.
Sis, who as I recall was even a pain back then, immediately demanded that we all go and line up and see this grotesque animal since this was, as the sign said 'a once in a lifetime opportunity'. A rather hefty assertion to be made by a child who was only 6 years old at the time.
Dad then advised Sis that it was nothing more than a scam and a waste of money and he had spent enough money for one day. She would not be seeing it.
Already known to as being both whiney and obnoxious, Sis began crying and complaining for the rest of the afternoon and finally Mom consented to let her see this beast if Sis agreed to pay the admission ticket with her own money, which would be her entire allowance for the next 3 weeks.
Being the wise individual even way back then at 7 years old, I stood back with Dad as both Mom and Sis ascended the stairs and looked through the window at this hideous '300 Pound Man Eating Chicken'.
After a couple minutes both Mom and Sis emerged from the back of the exhibit. Mom was attempting to suppress a huge smile and Sis had big tears rolling down her ridiculous face.
As Mom was consoling Sis she looked up at us and quietly advised that inside the trailer was actually a big 300 pound man eating chicken from a bucket. Sis was crying because it was such a huge rip-off and also it cost her entire allowance for the next 3 weeks.
Through her tears all Sis could mumble was "How come they can cheat us Mommy? It was just an old fat man eating a chicken leg. It's not fair."
I burst out laughing immediately and calmly advised "Well that's what the sign said '300 Pound Man Eating Chicken' you got exactly what you paid for!! HAHA"
Dad even turned away to ensure Sis did not see him laughing. Finally she calmed down and we wandered around the Stampede for an hour or so longer, although clearly the fun was now over for her.
To add insult to injury, later on we saw two fat guys gorging themselves on ice cream and cotton candy over by the agricultural exhibits. Mom claimed that the larger of the two men was the exact same man who they saw earlier inside the trailer eating the chicken leg.
Both Dad and myself burst out laughing once again as I kindly offered to take a photo for Sis of not one but two '300 pound men eating junk food' for only a small fee.
Hearing my mockery, Sis once again began crying and my mother quickly chastised me for being so 'mean and insensitive to the poor girl'.
Since that fateful day all those years ago, my sister has never returned to the Stampede and now she is grown up with kids of her own, she still refuses to set foot even near the place. All because of a 300 pound man eating chicken.
Actually now I reflect about this story, it is truly one of my favourite Stampede memories. And it stands the test of time as it is still hilarious to this day. HAHA!!
I think this year I'll share this little tale with the kids. I really love the Stampede !!