Who says you can’t go home?

We spent the weekend in my hometown at the Ponoka Stampede.  It’s a pretty big deal!  Over 65,000 people attended the 7 day event featuring the best of the pro rodeo and chuckwagon circuits.  Next to the Calgary Stampede, it is the largest stampede in western Canada.  I might be biased, but I think Kate and Will would have enjoyed the P-town rodeo more.

My old friend Rick is very involved in organizing the stampede and asked if I was interested in ‘helping out a bit’.  I foolishly thought this meant, ‘come to Ponoka for a few days, volunteer for a short while doing something very easy, and receive access to the infield where all of the very handsome cowboys hang out’.  I even convinced L to come along, promising a fun time.

It wasn’t.  I should have known better when Rick’s wife told me to be there at 3 so I could get signed into the computer.  We arrived on Friday and discovered this:

We were selling tickets.  Using Ticketmaster.  It was hard.  And stressful.  The line up outside my ticket booth didn’t seem to die down at all during my entire 6 hour shifts.  I have a whole new appreciation for people who work with Ticketmaster or any other service related job.  It is tough.  I also have unbelieveable respect and admiration for everyone involved in organizing this event.  Everyone is a volunteer and even today on the last afternoon; they were still in great spirits and a pleasure to work with.  I was probably the grumpiest one because of my problems with all things technical and apologize to everyone who ended up in my line over the past 3 days.  I hope L forgives me for subjecting her to such a tough volunteer assignment.  I hope this blog isn’t renamed One And The City tomorrow!

Its great to go home and see so many familiar faces.  Stepping into the beer gardens is like a highschool reunion.  I knew the hamburgers from the Lions Club concession would be good because the retired secretary of my highschool and the former Co-Op manager were the ones cooking.  The bartenders were my neighbours on the farm growing up.  The only change is that everyone is getting older; especially me <sigh>.  The good-looking guy volunteering at the casino entrance turned out to a kid I used to babysit.  Now he’s 6’1″ and a pro-hockey player.  L & I couldn’t go to the rodeo dance because judging by the people we sold tickets to, we were far too old.  It did make me feel younger to walk home from Boston Pizza and sneak 2 friends into my parents basement after we’d been out celebrating L’s birthday.

Hope you all had great weekend as well!  After my Ticketmaster experience, I can’t wait to get back to my real job tomorrow morning.

S

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