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5 Places to Light up Your Cowboy Spirit in Calgary

By Anna Rybnickova

Courtesy of Cowboys Nightclub

Calgary Stampede is over but you still crave that western-country vibe? Don’t despair — Calgary isn’t called the Cow-Town for nothing! Whether it’s those bootstompin’ rhythms or the cuisine of the Old West you are after, this city has something for everybody.


Yeah, take your horse to the old town road and park it by the Cowboys Dance Hall & Casino in the heart of the city. The place has a vibrant western energy bursting out of every nook and cranny. The nightclub offers line dancing, live concerts, DJs and theme nights and has a conjoining casino where you can play all the games worthy of a true cowboy.

421 – 12 Ave SE, cowboysnightclub.com; cowboyscasino.ca


Experience for yourself Calgary’s “greatest honky tonk.” This western-style cookhouse has it all — an overflowing bar, a stage and a mechanical bull on which you can test your skills and stamina, not to mention a menu like from the Old Wild West, including burgers, ribs and wings. Put that 10-gallon hat back on and have an ace-high time.

9615 Macleod Trail SE, ranchmans.com


Whether you’re heading to the dance floor in one of the clubs or just want to glam your outfit a little bit, you can pull off a good pair of cowboy boots with basically anything in this town! Alberta Boot Company has been making them since 1978 and since then has outfitted royalty, movie stars, entertainers, celebrities, athletes, public figures, religious leaders and everyone else who is caught in the fascinating air surrounding the Wild West.

50 – 50 Ave SE, albertaboot.com


Have you always wanted to learn those country moves but never got the chance? Well, now’s your time to shine. Professional instructors will teach you the secrets of modern western swing, line dancing and even aerial maneuvers. Get those boots on and get down on the dance floor!

544 42 Avenue SE, outlawdance.com


Since 1919, Smithbilt Hats has been producing the cowboy hats for a wide range of clientele. Their signature “Calgary white hat,” which symbolizes hospitality, is ever-popular in Alberta and has even been worn by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This accessory is the sign of a true cowboy so why not get it from a traditional business and support a local craft?

1015 – 11 St SE, smithbilthats.com

Courtesy of the Smithbilt Hats

Art and Cattle: Edmonton, Alberta

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why We Chose It

Sure, Calgary gets the Stampede, but Edmonton has its cowboys, too! Too weird for words, this photo of cow country meets city slicker is a perfect combination for Edmonton, one of Canada’s “wild west” cities. The juxtaposition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo cattle parading through downtown in front of the modern Art Gallery of Alberta is priceless. It’s also just a great, crisp shot with excellent lighting and composition. (more…)

Honky-tonk Beginnings

The early career years of country music king George Strait



See George Strait at the Saddledome on July 11. For tickets call Ticketmaster, 403-777-0000.

When it comes to the archetypal cowboy, George Strait fits the stereotype down to a tee. He grew up on a Texas ranch, knows how to rope a steer, wears his Wranglers starched, and is rarely seen without his Resistol hat. He’s got the love of a good woman (he’s been with wife Norma for almost 40 years), is a hard worker (he’s had 57 number one hits) and is musically influenced by “the greats”: Merle Haggard and George Jones.

To the outside world, he is known for being shy—a reputation that longtime friends and crewmates, Tommy Foote and Mike Daily say is not without merit.

Tommy Foote is Strait’s road manager. Back in the “old days” he was the drummer for Ace in the Hole—the band that has been Strait’s touring band since before his manager Erv Woolsey got him signed onto MCA Records. Mike Daily is another original Ace in the Hole band member, he plays the steel guitar.

Both Foote and Daily get nostalgic when talking about their early years. “We were young, doing what we loved to do. It was the best time of my life,” Foote says. When Foote, Daily, Ron Cabal, and Terry Hale were college students, they were in a band called Stoney Ridge.

“We had four band members, but no singer. We auditioned a few people, but none of them worked quite right,” Daily says. “We had a bulletin board in the student centre at the college where we posted signs saying ‘Looking for a singer,’ George saw it and auditioned.”


Cowboy Chic

Western looks that you can wear to any event this Stampede

Model: Robyn

Model: Robyn

It’s not always easy deciding how “western” to dress during the Calgary Stampede. To help you out, we’ve enlisted city stylist Alli Cullen, who gave us tips on how to look stylish, western, and event appropriate.

Photography: Anne Wright Photography
Hair, Make-up and Styling: MakeMe by Alli
Location: Mason’s Ranch


Alli’s tips: “Just remember, your Stampede bar attire is sure to get roughed up, so keep in mind not to wear your best western pieces. A flirty floral or denim dress is sure to attract a couple of cowboys and a straw cowboy hat is a definite must!”

Robyn: Dress, $125, by MM Couture. Necklace, $375, by Shereen de Rousseau. Find both at Crabapple Clothing Company. Ankle boot, $249, Arnold Churgin Shoes

Anne Wright Photography. Models: Ryden and Dana. Stylist: MakeMe by Alli. Location: Mason's Ranch.

Models: Ryden and Dana


Alli’s tips: “Dress the part! This is the time to wear your Wranglers, so wear them tight and proud! Also, for you rodeo gals, a little bit of glitz will add glamour to your rodeo wear (think rhinestones and big belt buckles). You will definitely fit in with the barrel riders!

Ryden: Cowboy hat, $249, Grant by Stetson. Shirt, $64.98, Rough Stock by Panhandle Slim. Jeans, $39.98, by Wrangler. Belt, $49.98. All available at Riley & McCormick. Motorcycle boots, $270, Alberta Boot Company.

Dana: Shirt, $64.98, Tough Enough to Wear Pink by Wrangler. Jeans, $55, Q-Baby by Wrangler. Concho belt, $215, by Wrangler. Cowboy hat, $49.90, by Bailey Western. All available at Riley & McCormick. Crazy Horse cowboy boots, $270, Alberta Boot Company.

Models: Brittany and Adrian from I Model Management

Models: Brittany and Adrian from I Model Management


Alli’s tips: “A white airy dress with country lace detailing is a perfect backdrop for chunky turquoise or coral jewellery! If you’re feeling a bit sassy, throw on a pair of red cowboy boots to add a bit of intrigue.

Gentlemen, now is the time to show off that booty in either a pair of high fashion denim or with a good old pair of Wranglers. Lastly, a worn-in, plaid, western shirt is a great choice, it will leave a rustic cowboy impression! Keep it loose—top two, if not three buttons undone.

Brittany: Algonquin white dress, $490, by Tibi. Belt, $132, by Brave Leather. Earrings, $65, by Bejewel. Bracelet, $125, by Bejewel. Necklace, $320, by Bejewel. All available at Crabapple Clothing Company. Cowboy boots, $249, Arnold Churgin Shoes.

Adrian: Dress shirt, $150, by Armani. Jeans, $250, by Diesel. Find both at Henry. Cowboy hat, $199, by Stetson, Riley & McCormick. Full quill ostrich cowboy boots, $1,000, Alberta Boot Company.

Model: Robyn

Model: Robyn


Stylish western wear:
Arnold Churgin Shoes
Crabapple Clothing Company
Junk Star Vintage

Traditional western wear:
Alberta Boot Company
Lammle’s Western Wear & Tack
Riley & McCormick
Smithbilt Hats
Stallion Boot & Jean Company
Stampede Boot

Robyn: Plaid tank, $121, by Free People, Crabapple Clothing Company. Straw cowboy hat, $39.90, Riley & McCormick.