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Let ARGRA Entertain You!

The Bud Light Canadian Rockies International Rodeo

Community Event by Evan Kayne (From GayCalgary® Magazine, June 2010, page 48)
Let ARGRA Entertain You!: The Bud Light Canadian Rockies International Rodeo
Let ARGRA Entertain You!: The Bud Light Canadian Rockies International Rodeo
Let ARGRA Entertain You!: The Bud Light Canadian Rockies International Rodeo
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The Bud Light Canadian Rockies International Rodeo (CRIR) July 1-4 promises to be full of fun, entertainment and Wild West action. Get ready to party as all four days will have acts or musicians alongside the main attraction: the rodeo. Check out the improved midway experience, or (new this year) step off the sidelines and actually learn how to be a cowboy/cowgirl?
The New Midway Experience
One of the things people like about the Calgary Stampede is the collection of retailers, food, and games of chance, all wrapped up together. The CRIR is looking to replicate this experience, only more festive and gay (in both definitions of the word).
This year the Art Show, Silent Auction, retailers, GayCalgary and Edmonton Community Carnival, and food vendors will be mixed in together. For retailers this is especially a great change as Judy Munson, ARGRA Communications Director, told us.
“Retailers will be far more visible – they’ll be part of the midway...they want to interact more with the people who are attending, and I think that’s a great idea.”
As for the Art show, this is the fifth year for the annual Rodeo Silent Auction and the third year for the Art show (which still remains the largest LGBT Art show in Western Canada). Both have grown in popularity, with grander items for you to buy or bid on.
Also returning for its second year is the GayCalgary and Edmonton Community Carnival. Rodeo attendees will have fun playing games of chance while they get to know and support LGBT organizations in our province. Confirmed games include, Bingo with the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Chinook Arch (ISCCA), a target-hitting game with Pride Calgary, and a carnival booth from Gay Friends in Calgary. While there are other groups who have expressed interest, there is still time for more group to come on board for this great fundraising opportunity – contact ARGRA for details.
The midway also means food, which is the guilty pleasure for some. So you can be sipping on wine when you browse the Art/Silent Auction area, then step out for Funnel Cakes or Mini Donuts to munch on while you take in performances on the Bud Light Stage on the Midway.
The Entertainers
Entertainment everywhere is another selling point for this year’s CRIR. On the Midway, the Bud Light stage will provide music, karaoke and as many live singers as they can get up there. The stage will be nearby the Silent Auction area; Judy told us the entertainment will run before registration and the dance on Friday night, and on Saturday, between the rodeo and the nighttime events.
On Canada Day, you’ll want to start the party with Aunt Joanna, “The Gal with a Gazillion Voices”. He has entertained audiences both in his own voice, and with over 30 celebrity vocal impressions, including: Patsy Cline, Celine Dion, Liza Minnelli and even Johnny Cash. All the song parodies are hilarious and original. 
Thursday then continues with a dance, and the Canada Day fireworks –visible from the rodeo grounds.
Joanna’s not the only returning artist. ARGRA ups the ante for Friday night’s dance with the headliner from last year - Steve Arsenault – back by popular demand. 
“He was just so full of energy,” Judy told us, “and he loved us...when we got all done he said, Oh, you guys want me to come back I’m all over it.”
Of course, the fantastic Bud Light Barn Burner Dance and dinner on Saturday is usually the busiest and most popular dance of the weekend. Dynamic DJ Rob will be providing your music along with a “mystery” entertainer.
The fun winds to a close Sunday night with the Awards Ceremony and the Happy Trails Dance featuring Rooster in a Hen House Band and Dynamic DJ Rob. These are just the bigger items – there’s more stuff listed on the schedule – check out the details on ARGRA’S website, or in the ARGRA Guide at a Glance on page 35.
The Rodeo
Naturally, the main draw for the cow folk is the rodeo. The experience everyone had last year, switching to the bigger venue at Strathmore Agricultural Society Grounds, has people eagerly anticipating this year’s event. While you can expect to see all the events you’ve come to enjoy, this year ARGRA has included something for anyone eager to learn how to be a cowpoke: the Rodeo School.
Since this was announced, “We’re getting a lot of people interested [and] signed up already,” Judy told us. Rodeo school members can learn the ins and outs of chute dogging, calf roping on foot, steer decorating, and steer riding. If you’re interested, Judy stresses that you need contact ARGRA and sign up now, because while the deadline is June 20th, they may run out of space before then.
Finally, ARGRA wants to make sure everyone acknowledges the real heroes of the rodeo – all the volunteers. CRIR can’t run without the help of their volunteers. In fact, Judy tells us, “I had our volunteer guy count the number of hours – volunteer hours for the rodeo – and it’s over 4200...and [they] step up every year.”  So ARGRA is doing something this year to actively recognize the effort of these dedicated individuals. There will be a separate building set up as a volunteer center for people to sign in and get the details on their assignments. This could mean you too, as ARGRA is still looking for help.
Finally, if you are planning to go and party, don’t drive home drunk – not that you’d get far considering last year saw Checkstop positioned right outside the gates Saturday night.
For those cowpokes who want to be staggering distance to a bed, there is camping at the Strathmore Agricultural grounds. If you want more upscale, the official host hotel for the CRIR is the Strathmore Travelodge. If you prefer the comfort of your own bed, either have a designated driver, or take the Rodeo bus which will travel between Strathmore and Calgary. Party safe because ARGRA wants you back for years to come!
For more details, read the ARGRA Guide at a Glance on page 35 of this edition.

(GC)

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