Feature: Calgary Stampede offers more than its noted rodeo

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Outside the barns, the Stampede provides food, games and music. In its Indian Village, visitors can experience the culture of "Canadian First Nations".

Calgary Stampede is a special blending of town and country, with the city's downtown skyscrapers encircling the barns, amusement rides and food stalls on the sprawling Stampede Grounds.

Animal and crop husbandry remain as two of Alberta's key industries, as well as the most attractive aspects of the event.

By Evan Duggan

CALGARY, July 14 (Xinhua) -- A crowd of Stampede-goers gathered at once for a closer look at Tigger when this 2,000-pound Clydesdale was led to the livestock barn and tethered to a metal post at the Stampede grounds.

"(We saw) humongous horses and beautiful cows. They're so well looked after and so well maintained," said Lynne Hendry, a visitor from Ontario who just did the tour of barns. "It's nice."

Since 1912 in this western Canadian city, Calgary Stampede has become the most well-known rodeo in North America. Visitors were able to witness bull riding, bareback riding and Chuckwagon racing everywhere, with even more attractions seen around this ten-day event.

Clydesdales, originally used for agriculture in Scotland, were now showcased in this rodeo scheduled from July 6-15 when a replica of a 19th-century stagecoach was pulled around the grounds between events.

The audience stand in awe, as Josh Minshull, the handler of nine Clydesdales from Oklahoma, believed it was "just because of the (Clydesdale's) size."

"It doesn't matter where you are in Canada, or even in the U.S. and in Europe," said Jim, Hendry's husband. "Everybody knows the Calgary Stampede."

This annual event attracts about 1.2 million visitors from all over the world and pumps nearly half-a-billion U.S. dollars into the local economy of the Canadian province of Alberta.

Big and powerful, these workhorses with white markings were "unique" in Minshull's eyes, as well as "docile and very nice to work around," he told Xinhua when Tigger peers over his shoulder.

Lindsay Jardine, the Stampede's tourism sales manager, loves the people there most. Calgary was known for its Western hospitality and that just heightened during the past ten days, said Jardine.