It all started with a trip to the Badlands. Far past the city limits, over steel bridges and through river valleys you'll come to a roadside attraction of yesterday where a bygone era of the Alberta cowboy and its world famous hospitality still lives on 365 days a year. This is where we finally set up camp for the night – amongst antique taxidermy and whiskey bottles that line the saloon walls of a haunted hotel.

Over a couple dozen quarts of beer and some karaoke, we swapped ghost stories and a few pickled eggs with the locals. With a crowd like no other, the saloon is home to regulars who have sat at the bar top for decades, bikers of Southern Alberta and people like ourselves – the curious weekend warriors who make the pilgrimage out to seek out something unique in their own backyard.

Whatever you're seeking, that special slice of Alberta living comes alive in Calgary for 10 days every year – the good and the bad in all its honky tonk glory. Beyond the beer tubs and the rodeo clowns, you'll find a curious and captivating collection of culture and wild spirits that make the Calgary Stampede a legendary event.

You just have to know where to find it.