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'A lot of work': Raymond Stampede ready to kick off in new location


The 122-year-old Raymond Stampede is set to get underway this weekend, but this year’s event will occur at a new location.

The former site is being redeveloped to make room for the construction of a new high school in the town.

“On July 1, we wrapped up our 2023 edition and on July 10 we tore the arena down,” said Robert Heggie, president of the Raymond Stampede.

The new rodeo grounds were donated by the Heggie family, with the rebuild started last October.

“We got right to work and were lucky with a mild start to the winter so we were able to work right up into December and then once the snow and frost came out, we got right back to work,” he said.

Heggie says leaving the old location is bittersweet. He says it took a lot of perseverance to get the grounds to where they are today.

“It's taken a lot of work from a lot of people to get where we are right now,” Heggie said.

“A lot of skepticism that we wouldn't have it set up for this year but we just kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept going and people in the town really got behind it,” he said.

While more work is still to come, Heggie and the stampede committee are getting ready to welcome around 380 cowboys and cowgirls to the ground located on the northeast side of Raymond – the largest intake of participants the rodeo has seen since starting in 1902.

“Pro-rodeo has really taken off probably in the last 10 years,” Heggie explained. “The Cowboy Channel has made people aware of rodeo on television and made them aware that it is a professional sport.”

Once the stampede wraps up on Canada Day, Heggie says construction will resume, including adding coverings to the grandstands.

“We need more buildings put up, we need water, we need power which we’re running without this year, but we're going to get by,” he said.

The stampede has turned to the community for support in the rebuild process – with a goal to raise $250,000.

Heggie says that support has been astounding.

“We’re just going to keep forging ahead and try and make this place as good or better as our last location,” he said.

The first rodeo events get underway at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on July 1. Top Stories

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