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The Cowboys Tent - Your secrets to Calgary Stampede success

It’s no secret that the Stampede has become a hub for those looking to impress and woos both professionally and personally.

As a microcosm of both rural and corporate Calgary, the massive Cowboys tent is perhaps the epicentre of the modern Stampede. There you’ll find a plethora of 20-somethings attempting to live up to the Cowboys stories that have preceded them, and of course, the countless Calgarians with the ever-valuable corporate card.

But the 10,000 person tent isn't just for those who like to be bused around the town in retired school buses and party. Every year since the tent opened in 2012, I’ve gone to Cowboys and I've actually had a good time. Yes, the same guy that stayed home two weeks ago to watch the premiere of "Girl Meets World" also likes to frequent the Cowboys tent. I like to keep my brain on its toes.

Now I get it, I’m not exactly the main demographic for places like Cowboys, but if you’re looking to party during Stampede and you’re not lucky enough to be invited to those fancy VIP parties, then a tent with 9,999 other people is often your best bet. Over the years, I’ve come up with a fool-proof system to make sure that I make the most of my experience.

There you’ll find a plethora of 20-somethings attempting to live up to the Cowboys stories that have preceded them...

First things first; wear boots or at the very least closed shoes. During this year’s first weekend, I was shocked by how many people, girls in particular, were wearing sandals or open-toed shoes. It’s not that Cowboys is particularly unsanitary, but the thousands of people you’re partying with often are, especially after drinking so much Budweiser. Within a matter of minutes, your precious toes will be subjected to who knows what. So save your pedicure for Folk Fest and strap on a pair of boots.

Get ready to spend your money. Cowboys isn’t the "United Way". It’s part of a successful company that for years has milked from the teat of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and they're good at it. Is Cowboys expensive? Yes! But it's Stampede, everything is expensive.

Come up with a bathroom strategy. Before the place even opens, the women have likely already commandeered both the male and female washrooms. Which, by the way, is my least favourite trend of our modern age.

If you’re like me and are crippled with anxiety over the mere thought of having to try and pee in front of not one, but two sexes, then you’ll want to come up with a contingency plan. I handed over my wallet and cell phone to a security guard for him to look the other way as I ran into a VIP bathroom. It was both the proudest and lowest moment of my life.

The fourth rule is pretty simple. Before they head upstairs, try to become friends with someone with a VIP bracelet.

Whether it’s a little friendly flirting or handcuffing yourself up to a complete stranger, do it! They live better lives up there.

The grass is greener and more importantly, they have couches and bathrooms. It really is the simple things, isn’t it?

Mike Morrison writes Mike’s Bloggity Blog and tweets from @mikesbloggity!

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