Calgary is in a state of recovery from the recent devastating floods, and with just over a week to go for cleanup efforts, the famed Calgary Stampede is going ahead.
Jim Wavrecan will be driving the City of Cranbrook’s float in the Stampede parade. Wavrecan said he’d heard from organizers that the parade is going on.
“I just emailed back the fellow that’s in charge of the municipal floats and said now more than ever we’d be there to support the city,” he said.
The parade will most likely have to take a bit different route.
“The usual setup is for a barbecue on Thursday night and a breakfast on Friday morning, but I suspect that area got washed right out, because it’s right where the Elbow and the Bow meet. So there may be a different starting location. Judging from what I see on TV, I think they’ll have the streets cleared up pretty good. It shouldn’t be a problem to do the parade.”
Wavrecan has been driving the float off and on for 20 years.
“We’ve been pretty pleased with the float this year,” he said. “We’ve been in two out-of-town parades and won first prize in our category in both of them.”
A few years ago, Cranbrook even won the Calgary Stampede’s float competition, when the float featured Cranbrook’s famous escaped elephant.
Also in Cranbrook, Lawrence McGibbon of Carlaw Clydes is preparing horses for the Stampede despite still not knowing the extent to which the event will be going ahead.
McGibbon said he had put in calls to people he knows in the office but had no answer yet. On the weekend, seeing the damage that was occurring, he said he thought for sure the Stampede would be cancelled, as much of the grounds and buildings were flooded, but on Monday he saw the message on the stampede website saying that the show was going ahead.
McGibbon said the Saddledome is similar to Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, as it’s built in a hole.
“Under all the seats in the bleachers, that’s where all the rooms are — dressing rooms, change rooms, offices, showers, security,” he said. “They were full (with water) right above the ceiling there. That’s where all the electronics were, the electrics and everything else. We’re wondering how they’re going to get that working out and inspected.”
Up until last year there was also a big tent on the opposite end of the barns from where the Saddledome is, known as the Big Top.
“For years we showed in there,” McGibbon said. “But now they tore that down because they are building a new facility where it was and the new facility will not be ready until next year. So push come to shove we could have went back to the Big Top, but that’s torn down and gone.
“So I don’t know, we’ve got a lot of work to get done ourselves, you know.”
McGibbon said they intend to leave next Wednesday for the Stampede with eight horses. “We have to re-shoe them and get ready and get our stuff together and get on the road,” he said, despite not knowing the fate of this year’s activities.