A Very Pleasant Sunday

Just a few quick notes from today. I haven’t been watching any traditional sports all day. Instead, I spent the day at the Calgary Stampede, the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’. There I was watching the rodeo and the chuckwagon races – like I did several times throughout the last 10 days. Today was the final day, and that meant that championships were given out in earnest. The rodeo gives away $900,000 in the six traditional events (calf roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, and bull riding for you city slickers) in less than an hour – exciting stuff. The chuckwagon races are a true and bizarre spectacle – one of those things that everyone should see at some point in their life. There is also a betting aspect, albeit a very informal one. There is no legal betting on the chuckwagon races, but virtually everyone there does betting of some time with those with them, and there are a few different ways to set up a very pleasing an potentially lucrative bit of action – friendly, but hopefully not too friendly. Calgary is sometimes a good place to live and sometimes not so much, but during the 10 days of the Stampede every July it shines.

While I was enjoying the sun and the sights the sports world was still spinning away like normal. Here are the two stories that most caught my eye as I sat down to catch up:

My Canadian pride swelled a bit tonight thanks to Rene Tosoni. Tosoni is a Twins’ outfield prospect who won MVP honors at the Futures game. He overcame a rain delay of more than four hours to hit the go-ahead double as a pinch-hitter. Tosoni joins a surprisingly impressive list of former MVPs given that the event is only in its’ 11th year – guys like Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes, Alfonso Soriano, and Aaron Hill.

Lance Armstrong has made an already thrilling race even more exciting with his return to the Tour de France. He’s obviously having a very good time – they are only nine stages into the three week race, and he’s already looking to the future. For the first time he has said that this is probably not his last tour – that he will likely be back next year. Good news for the sponsors and the networks, and good news because it will drive the French crazy and that’s never a bad thing.

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