Cowboy hats come in all styles but the official one of the stampede is the White Hat made by local company Smithbilt. The company started in 1919 with a $300 bank loan, first making dress hats but then supplying cowboy hats for local ranchers.
Alberta – Photo Tip

Photo tip! Visitors make for an excellent topic

Photo by Ton Koene

Alberta – Photo Tip Photo tip! Visitors make for an excellent topic

The yearly Calgary Stampede is a real cowboy show. The main events happen within a huge arena in which rodeo, chuckwagon races, bull riding and calf roping are performed by the cowboys and cowgirls.

Ton Koene
Ton Koene Travel Photographer

At first, I focussed on these exciting activities but, the longer I was there, the less interesting they became. How many photos does one need of horseback-riding cowboys or wild steaming bulls, even in Calgary? And access is understandably controlled backstage, where I might have caught some of the nailbiting tension before the action.

Fortunately, just outside the stampede arena is a huge fairground that actually proved more interesting to photograph. I saw large Asian families from India, obese people stuffing themselves with junk food, young women showing off in hotpants. It is an interesting cross-section of Canadian society. Then I met these guys (above) having fun at a stall.

For me, this photo represented the stampede: happy people dressed like cowboys. I am not sure whether they were actual cowboys, but they certainly looked the part. It is amazing how fast a cowboy hat transforms you. I had to wear one too, as the cowboy dress code – jeans, shirt, boots and hat – is compulsory for all media. I must say, I loved it.

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canada27

Most Canadian cities have more women aged 25 and under than men, but Calgary is split much more evenly on gender lines. The modal age is 25-29, where the male-female ratio is almost exactly 50:50. Photo by Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Canon EOS 5D-III

Aperture
ƒ/9
Exposure
1/320
ISO
100
Focal
24 mm

Most Canadian cities have more women aged 25 and under than men, but Calgary is split much more evenly on gender lines. The modal age is 25-29, where the male-female ratio is almost exactly 50:50.

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