The University of Calgary Rugby Football Club (UCRFC) embarked on a major tour to Scotland which coincided with the university’s reading week, February 14, 2013 to February 25, 2013 and would encompass three games plus various cultural tours in the Glasgow / Edinburgh areas. The group reached out to the Calgary Stampede to obtain some iconic white cowboy hats to wear on the tour, in order to represent our city in style.
I was able to catch up with some of the team members and gather a summary of individual responses to the questions below. 

How did you decide you wanted to bring the iconic “White Hat” with the team to Scotland?

The team felt it would be a good tour theme but more than anything, what better way to portray a team from Calgary.  The hats represent Western Canadian values but more importantly, values we hold dear in our city.  These values symbolize respect, honour and pride in our heritage.  The hats would be a novel memento, unique & recognizable- and fun to wear.

How recognizable do you feel the hats were?  Did most know you were from Canada, or even Calgary, specifically?

The hats were very recognizable however many

initial thoughts were USA / Texas origin with some knowing Calgary.  The hats did elicit many comments and questions which allowed the players to explain where we were from.  Team was very recognizable in a crowd and this helped bring the team together.  The hats were in great demand.

One of the most memorable moments was when the team caught the attention of an elderly Scottish gentleman in Glasgow who in jest informed us that the only way we could possibly wear the white hats was if we were from Calgary.  Well we got the last laugh when he found out not one, but all of us were.

Did you notice any extra attention while travelling with them in airports or at the games, for example?

We were very noticeable in the airports and felt unified in representing the University of Calgary wearing the hats.  Again lots of comments and questions from people and we even had a Calgarian post a Facebook post about seeing us at Heathrow airport.  A group of 30 wearing cowboy hats is not a common sight in Europe.

Were you able to speak with people who had experienced the Calgary Stampede first hand?

Generally speaking most people we spoke to had not experienced the Stampede first hand.  There was an older gentlemen who had been many years ago, a few who definitely had heard some Stampede legends and many more who have ambitions of coming to Canada and specifically to Calgary to take in the Stampede.

What does having your head in a white cowboy hat mean to you?

Most of us took pride in representing the city of Calgary by wearing the cowboy hats.  There is no single better symbol that defines history & tradition of Calgary and the Stampede.  It is the top of the western trifecta, boots. Levis and the white hats…..makes you feel a few inches taller!!

This is a wonderful example of how the Calgary Stampede is an organization that has reach not only within the community, but a further global presence as well. I know that when I wear my ‘White Hat’, I feel so incredibly proud to be a Calgarian and a strong supporter of the Calgary Stampede. Only 86 more days until Parade Day everyone! 

paisley cowboy hats

Edinburgh cowboy hat