The Greatest Show on Earth

That's me, brandishing the branding iron at the Trottier ranch.

That’s me, brandishing the branding iron at the Trottier ranch. TU was Buzz Trottier’s brand. This looks mean, but keeps the cows home.

My home town – Calgary, Alberta, Canada – hosts an annual 10-day cowpoke fest called the Calgary Stampede, aka, “The Greatest Show on Earth”. I’m not a cowboy, but I’ve been lucky enough to help friends with spring branding and fall herding. In the past, I was bewildered to see people with clean boots and pressed shirts swinging their lariats in town, but I’ve come to see it as a compliment to western and cowboy culture rather than some sort of awkward cultural appropriation.

So, I am among the fans of the Stampede.  Each year, a million or more folks wander around the exhibition grounds in early July to see things like blacksmith finals competitions and girls on ponies racing around barrels. This year there was a new and extremely popular display: The Calgary and District Beekeepers Association set up a big exhibit highlighting Alberta’s honey industry.

My friend Liz Goldie was one of the many beekeeper-volunteers on site and she gave me the pictures that follow, taken at the 2016 Calgary Stampede.


Pierre the Bear points visitors to the bee exhibit.

Getting down and Partyin' at the Calgary Stampede

Gettin’ down and Partyin’ up – at the Calgary Stampede’s bee exhibit.


The place was sooo crowded most of the time. Liz took the following picture early in the day, before the bee exhibit was overwhelmed…


Pierre the Bear bothering a bee. You can't get much closer at catching the spirit of the Calgary Stampede!

Pierre the Bear bothering a bee.
You can’t get much closer at catching the spirit of the Calgary Stampede!

Again, I’d like to thank Liz Goldie for these pictures. By the way, Liz was one of the three finalists in the Calgary Stampede Honey Show. Her honey is on the top shelf, below!

honey show winners

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Friends, Outreach and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Greatest Show on Earth

  1. Pingback: Saturday at the Hive | Bad Beekeeping Blog

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