The Calgary Stampede is selling T-shirts with the slogan, “Come Hell of High Water” to raise money for the Southern Alberta disaster relief. Proceeds are collected through the Red Cross and are available online here. How much of the annual event, Calgarians will enjoy this year, is still being discussed and prioritized. Mayor Nenshi said we “will do something”, and Calgary Stampede President, Bob Thompson said the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth would be going ahead “come hell or high water.” The annual event is scheduled to start July 5 – July 15th, already volunteer and employee teams have begun the formidable task of clean up to deliver the event on schedule. That’s the Spirit of Calgary, they love their city, they love one another, and they love their Stampede, and all the income that it brings. Come hell or high water the show will go on.
For those that haven’t been to the Calgary Stampede yet, the event kicks off with a downtown parade, which officially opens the exhibition. Every year there’s a designated Marshall who leads the entourage of marching bands, floats, First Nations dancers, RCMP and of course all the cowboys and cowgirls necessary to mark it as a truly “western” roots. The attractions include the Rodeo, with it’s millions of dollars in prizes, a Rangeland Derby, a midway carnival, concerts and daily pancake breakfasts held free of charge around the city. In 2011, the parade was attended by Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who received the honorary white cowboy hat given to all dignitaries and honoured guests.
The Calgary Stampede has it’s own type of royalty, Queens and Princesses that are crowned annually and are ambassadors of the event, “promoting western heritage and values within the community and around the world. The winning three contestants must embody the Stampede values of integrity, pride of place, western hospitality and commitment to community.”
So what is to be said about the upcoming event, with the city in a state of local emergency? Over 75,000 residents were evacuated from the homes Friday Jun 21, 2013 and many communities have been devastated by the flood.
We’re Calgarians. We’re going to make it work,” Nenshi told reporters on Saturday. “The show will go on.” – Mayor Nenshi
Not everyone is so enthralled by this announcement, and some residents feel that the Stampede is not our first priority.
The city should be less concerned about making a dollar and more concerned about trying to save a dollar. “We’ll bring in soo much money, oh well if the people of Calgary lose a few hundred homes and businesses.” Some people really need to rethink what they are thinking with, their hearts or their wallets.
And surely, the economic impact is a major concern, now more than ever. An estimated 1 million people attend the Calgary Stampede every year, with 30-40% of those attendees coming from outside the city, and including foreign tourists from the U.S, the U.K, Australia and parts of Asia. In 2009, it was estimated that revenue from the event was over $172 million dollars, and for a city of 1 million people, that’s a lot of business. The difficulty of hosting the event, with a crippled downtown core will mean hotels and executive suites reservations may not be able to accommodate the tourists, and the C-Train which is the preferred method of travel for many is still not operational.
With damage estimated between $3-5 billion dollars across Souther Alberta, the process of restoration will take months, years possibly. Calgarians have already banded together to start rebuilding their lives and their homes. The city has a great spirit, a gret tenacity, and has never once in 100 years missed a Stampede. In spite of the damage and the impact of the disaster, one thing is for sure, there will be a Calgary Stampede 2013 come hell or high water.
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BBC News – Royal Tour
Calgary Stampede – 2013 Queen and Princesses are Crowned
City News Toronto – City Continues Cleanup After Disaster
CTV News –
Wikipedia – Calgary Stampede