Rowley, Alta., hosts Pizza Night monthly

A crowd of people stand outside Sam’s Saloon, chatting and enjoying the unusually nice temperature this winter has been providing. It is the last Saturday of the month, which means just one thing in Rowley, Alta., Pizza Night.

Across the street, volunteers are mixing up delicious pizzas; this is what keeps people coming back.

“It’s like the real Ranchman’s,” said Nathan Shearer, who makes the two-hour drive from Calgary as often as he can. His friends introduced him to Pizza Night last summer.

The floor in the saloon is covered in sawdust, which gives it that authentic feel. The bar is made of dark wood, which by the looks of it has seen its fair share of good times. The walls of the saloon are decorated with old beer advertisements and comical posters.

Giving it the old-fashioned touch, the door entering Sam’s Saloon looks like something out of a western movie in Rowley, Alta.
Photo by: Donella Swan

People are gathered around tables laughing. Small children are running around freely, and the huge popcorn machine in the corner seems to be frequently visited by patrons.

Biting into the pepperoni pizza proves that there is definitely a signature taste. The pizza is homemade and fresh. The gentleman across the way has topped his pizza up with a mountain of pink shrimp and cheddar cheese. He is wolfing it down; it appears that it tastes as good as it looks.

Christopher Foesier, event organizer, explained that children are allowed in Sam’s Saloon because of the special liquor license the community was granted. He described it like any other lounge that serves food only you can order a drink with your meal.

“People like coming with their family because it’s not a huge expense,” said Foesier.

You can enjoy Pizza Night for under $20. With $12 pizzas and $3 drinks it’s easy to do the math.

Rowley resident, Corinna Borsheim has been coming to Pizza Night for 15 years with her children.

Leroy Avramenko volunteers his time bar tending at Pizza Night in Rowley, Alta.
Photo by: Donella Swan

“You won’t find this in the city,” said Borsheim.

Foesier said it is much busier in the summer but people still like to come out in the colder months.

The operation is entirely volunteer run, from the making of the pizzas to the flowing of the beverages. About 2,000 pizzas are made each year and people from the surrounding area and all over the world join in the fun, said Foesier.

Leafing through the guestbook shows signatures from all over the world. Foesier said there have been people from Australia, Finland, Germany, and places from all over Canada coming to Pizza Night.

“It’s about a community getting everybody together,” said Foesier.

Pizza night runs from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the last Saturday of each month except December.

Rowley is approximately 170 km from Calgary. One good way of getting there is taking Highway 56 north out of Drumheller.

dswan@cjournal.ca