Not My First Rodeo: Arleigh Vasconcellos

Tips from longtime Calgarians who have been going to the Stampede since they were kids.

Name: Arleigh Vasconcellos

Occupation: Founder and Principal of The Agency, a tech-focused boutique PR firm.

I’ve lived in Calgary since: 1978 (not including a 12-year gap from 1996-2009).

I’ve been going to the Stampede since: 1979, when my parents first took me.

My favourite Stampede memory is: I have a few. The first is going to the parade every year with my dad from the ages of three to 10. We would make a day of it and watch the parade in the morning and go down to the grounds together to eat junk food, go on rides, and walk around in the afternoon. My second is having fun taking part in the night life and concerts during my early twenties when I was home from school in the summers. Moving forward I think I’ll really enjoy watching my daughter experience all of the cool things that the Stampede has to offer.

These days, my typical Stampede includes: A corporate party or two, organizing and running a client’s Stampede party, a BBQ with friends, and a visit to the grounds with my hubby and daughter.

My favourite Stampede attraction is: It’s a toss-up between walking through the barns and going on the rides at the midway. I still like to ride the Zipper each year!

My favourite Stampede food is: Sinful, but delicious: a caramel apple and the occasional corn dog with lots of mustard, washed down with some home-style lemonade.

My favourite Stampede outfit is: A “westerny”-style sundress (I have about five in my closet) or one of my vintage western shirts and jeans/jean skirt, cowboy boots, a jean jacket for the evening, and some form of vintage western jewelry – either my old-school bolo tie or a great pair of big earrings.

Three things I recommend doing at the Stampede are: Going down to the grounds at least once and touring the barns and watching one of the free shows, as it’s a sight to see. Watch the parade live. And watch the fireworks from one of the bluffs around downtown… Scotsman’s hill is the best location!

One thing you should avoid is: The line-up to get into Nashville North if possible… hard to do though.

Last words of advice: Have fun, participate, and try to take away more from Stampede than just a hangover.

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