It’s like clockwork every July: Cowboy hats everywhere, pancake breakfasts and anti-cowboy, anti-Stampede discussion popping up on social media.
As soon as the beer tents are popping up and loafers are replaced by cowboy boots downtown, my newsfeed starts to fill up with haters openly knocking tourists, cowboy culture, the Stampede and any female who has the audacity to show too much skin.
In a discussion with a friend this past weekend, we realized that if someone was openly making fun of the Calgary Pride parade and its participants, they’d be branded a homophobe (and rightly so).
If some knuckle-dragging troglodyte was mocking Carfiest or Festival Latino, they would be called out for being a bigot (and an idiot).
Call a girl a tramp for wearing a short skirt? You’re a slut-shaming chauvinist (at best).
But when it’s Stampede time, it seems perfectly fine and acceptable in some social circles to refer to anyone in western wear as a redneck, white-trash idiot.
Why trash talk visitors to our town, especially when downtown businesses need the foot traffic this year more than ever?
How is it OK and celebrated to hate on anything Stampede related, when taking a swipe at any other festival would make you an outright jerk?
These same people would be outraged at openly hoping for the destruction of another cultural festival in our great city (oh right, let me guess, the Stampede isn’t a cultural festival? Yawn.)
Worst of the worst are those who think it’s OK to refer to any woman showing a little too much skin in a cowboy hat a slut or a tramp.
Just because someone is deciding to have a good time in a way you don’t approve of doesn’t make them any less human.
Like Chinooks and Deerfoot gridlock Friday afternoon, the Stampede is a constant in our city. It’s not going anywhere. Even a once-in-100-year flood can’t stop the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth, so if you’re not with it, pipe down or get out of town.
It’s not for everyone, just like the Folk Fest, AfricaDey and Sled Island aren’t for everyone. But just because it’s the oldest and biggest party in town, it doesn’t mean it’s OK to rip on someone who likes to enjoy it, especially if they’ve made our city part of their travel destination.