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THE FIREWORKS AT THE CALGARY STAMPEDE CREATED A WALLOP OF EXCITEMENT!

HELLO COLLECTORS!

 

 
THERE ARE NUMEROUS DEFINITIONS OF “FIREWORKS”, SOME GREAT AND SOME NOT SO GREAT.  BUT….  BUT… THE FIREWORKS AT THE CALGARY STAMPEDE CREATED A WALLOP OF EXCITEMENT!

 
Read on “Rodeo Queens” and “Cow Punchers”. This was how it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
 
Every evening, just after the Chuckwagon Races at 11:00 PM — BANG! BANG, bellowed in the night sky. Everyone in the block rushed to their front porch to catch a glimpse of the Calgary Stampede’s spectacular firework display, in all it's brilliant colour.
 
Now you may not think this was significant, but it was a big deal for a 7 year old cowboy kid with a “Cap Gun”.  Sensational colour on the jet black sky, created “ohh’s” and “ahh’s for many a spectator.
 
On special occasions we were fortunate to take in the sparkling rockets from “Scotchmen's Hill”, which over looked the Elbow River and the Calgary Stampede Exhibition grounds. Hundreds of Calgarian’s and visitors rushed to an optimal viewing spot on the hill, to witness the final event of the evening.   
 
However, the attractions of the Midway carried on long into the night. 

The Ferris wheel, Twister and Bumper Cars among others, provided continuous entertainment as well as illuminating the passages with glowing hues. The thousands of gleaming lights did their best to compete with each other. “Dancing with the stars” comes to mind with music flowing from all corners of the Exhibition grounds. A splendid view from “Scotchmen’s Hill” and best of all, FREE!!!
 
Now, what do you remember about the Midway - the rides – the side shows - the tents – the games of chance – the prizes?
 
Also, there was FOOD!  Well, other than all of the obvious, how about “food on a stick”.

Corndogs, candy apples, corn on the cob, frozen ice cream treats and cotton candy, just to name a few. 
 
Now, think 🤔 about this. You can walktalk, and eat for as long as your body allows... You simply pass your “food on a stick” to a buddy, and jump on the next ride. You can throw darts at balloons or attempt to knock milk bottles over. or throw dimes on plates - all in the hopes of winning that huge stuffed poodle.
 
Or, perhaps you were addicted to “crown and anchor”, or the “wheel of chance”. 

Maybe you were “tough in the day”, and pounded the hammer to “ring the bell”. Remember that mouse that always ran into the wrong hole!
 
I was always a “sucker” for games of chance at the Midway. 

Do you recall those little green or red packaged nickels? I tried my best, cranking the wheel,  “gold digging” for those nickels or better yet a silver dollar! The closest I ever came to a silver dollar was when my nose was pushed against the glass looking in. Have you ever won a silver dollar at the Midway?  A silver dollar was a lot of money in those days!
 
Now, which ride did you like the best? Or which ride did you “puke” the least on?

For me they were:
 
1. Ferris Wheel, projectile v………!
 
2. Roller Coaster, diaper needed!
 
3. Carousel, my horse stumbled out of the gate!
 
4. Bumper Car: My car always stalled in a corner. I would watch the other kids have fun. 😞
 
5. Glass Doors & Mirrors:  My guardian frequently said “get lost” while he paid my admission to the Glass Doors & Mirrors and shooed me up the entrance ramp. Yup, lost I was!
 
6. The Wipe Out: I passed out before the Wipe Out part of the ride started!
 
7. The Freak Show: As I walked by the stage and before I could get any further, a guy said “you’re hired”!
 
8. In Field Events, Bucking: When about 11 years old, I had visions of becoming a bronco type rider. It all fit with the Calgary Stampede.
 
So it just happened, my father and I were visiting one of his friends on a farm north of Calgary. There were a number of calves in the corral and it was strongly suggested I try and ride one. 
 
Now let’s be clear here, this was not an AUDITION to become a bucking bronco champion at a future Calgary Stampede. It was an “Evil Knievel type” stupid idea. 
 
Nonetheless the calf was held in a stationery position, as I climbed over the fence top railing.  
 
Then, then what?
 
As I straddled the calf, it bolted and within two seconds I was bucked off, falling into a ripe freshly made cow pie.

Funny huh? And no showers on that farm!

 
My career ambitions as a bucking bronco champion ended abruptly. 

As you can imagine, the 150 mile trip in the back seat of my dad’s car to Calgary was memorable.
 
Frankly I was looking forward to a shower, clean clothes and let’s say a “fresh new start”. 

Looking for that elusive stamp and postal history item, was a much more favourable option for me. 
 
SPEAKING OF POSTCARDS AND POSTAL HISTORY 
CHECK OUT OUR NEW ITEMS ON MJR’s Website:
mjrpostcardsandcovers.ca 

Remember, we are listing new items twice a week on the Website and Ebay Store, tuesdays at 9:00am and fridays at 3:00pm.

 
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER EVERYONE !!
 
John Bucci

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