Growing up playing football on the streets of the Bronx, N.Y., Terrence Patrick never saw rodeos or cowboys.
So walking around Calgary the past few days, Patrick had to rub his eyes to make sure he was still in a city.
During the Calgary Stampede, everyone becomes a cowboy. But Patrick never knew anything about the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth before joining the Calgary Stampeders as a defensive lineman this year.
"Since the Stampede started, I didn't know this many cowboys were around," said Patrick, who celebrated his 23rd birthday last week. "When I first came here, it was just like a normal city.
"When Stampede came around, the horses, the cowboy hats and boots all came out. It's a shock. I've never seen anything like this. It doesn't seem weird but it's really different. I like the fact a lot of people are having fun."
Patrick is certainly not the only one excited about Stampede.
Fellow defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk has lived in Calgary since 2002 but this is the first year he's gone down to the grounds.
He won't tattle on teammates who are hitting the packed night clubs and coming in to practice a little groggy.
But cutting loose probably helps relieve the pressure for a few of the players new to the CFL club, the veteran said.
"A lot of guys are getting down to the grounds," said Napastuk, who said his partying days are in the past.
"It's a good chance for them to get out of their apartments and have some fun. I've seen some people dragging their butts around the last couple of days and that could be the cause of it."
Receiver Jeremaine Copeland took in the sights on the weekend and compares it to the Montreal Jazz Festival in terms of excitement.
But because the Stamps had the weekend off from practice, Copeland doesn't expect his teammates to do much late-night revelry.
"If you come in smelling bad, people will wonder where your mind is at," said Copeland.
"This year doesn't seem to be a problem because we're all so focused. I don't know if many people have been out and if they have, they're coming home early."
WEEKLY AWARDS: Nealon Greene didn't pick up the victory but he received another award yesterday. The Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback was named offensive player of the week for his stellar performance in Toronto Saturday. Greene went 31 of 39 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Alouettes safety Richard Karikari was named defensive player of the week after picking off Ricky Ray twice in Montreal's victory over Edmonton. Stamps linebacker Brian Clark was considered for the award.
Anthony Collier of the Renegades was named lineman of the week for his five-sack performance against the Lions.