Longview, High River events have down-home feeling

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 11:08 am

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The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth is over, and rats, the Okotoks Western Wheel didnít have a foothills area chuckwagon driver or rodeo cowboy on its front page for winning the $100,000 Rangeland Derby or Sunday Showdown.

But hey, there is still next week.

Maybe there will be a local athlete on the front page for winning one of the Greatest Laid-back Outdoor Shows on Earth.

The Longview Rodeo and the Guy Weadick Chuckwagon races are in Longview and High River respectively this weekend.

Neither one are the Calgary Stampede, but then again they donít try to be.

The Stampede organizers go out of the way to be hospitable, but with more than a million people going through the turnstiles, itís hard to get that personal touch.

Thatís not the case at High River or Longview.

At both events you can get close enough to the action that, if you want, you can literally get infield dust in your face. Thereís also more opportunity to meet the likes of drivers Jason Glass, Mark Sutherland, Jordie Fike at the High River show. All three have been more than patient to explain to a neophyte reporter that an outrider isnít a football player who got cut in Saskatchewan.

They couldnít be coming at a better time. The wagons rolling into High River is redemption of sorts for the community. After all, the first day of races in 2013 was June 20 ó a day which will live in infamy for High River residents as when the Highwood River breached its banks and ripped apart the community.

However, it didnít rip apart its spirit. The races this weekend are one more indication the community is back.

The same spirit can be found in Longview. The Foothills Cowboy Association run event gives rodeo fans ó old and new ó see the young stars who one day will likely compete at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Itís in such a beautiful setting you would swear Unforgiven or Brokeback Mountain were filmed in the area Ė and they were.

So go to Longview or High River and enjoy yourself and maybe have a beverage with a driver, outrider, bronc rider or barrel racer.

I can guarantee it will be a whole lot cheaper than a cool one at the Calgary Stampede.


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