CALGARY -- It's still more than three months away, but as major events are cancelled or delayed all over the world the Calgary Stampede could be next.

"We’re still a few months away from Stampede but eventually a call will have to be made sometime," says Billy Melville, a rodeo announcer and chuck wagon historian.

He says that call to allow the giant gathering or not will most likely be led by government and health officials.

"We have a bit of a saying in the chuck wagon business: Never holler whoa! in a tight spot."

Last week Stampede temporarily laid off roughly 800 workers and postponed its annual chuckwagon tarp auction.

But rodeo athletes need to start training their horses to be ready in time for the July 3-12 event.

Veteran chuckwagon driver Mark Sutherland says his 49 horses need about 45 days of hard work to be ready to compete each year. He would normally start training them around the first week of April, but now that timeline is up in the air.

"It’s highly unlikely we’ll see our season go the way that it was last year," says Sutherland. "I’m going to have to make a decision in a couple of weeks."

That decision will determine if he’s able to start the racing season in May. With no sponsorship in place and increased costs to have the horses in race condition, eventually Sutherland and the other drivers will simply run out of time to get ready.

"It’s for the health of the general population," he says. "If the Stampede has to cancel their events then that’s okay. It’s just part of today’s world."

No decisions made

On Tuesday, Stampede officials issued a statement saying no decisions have been made at this time.

"We are committed to moving forward with prudence and in coordination with Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Alberta Health Services.," the statement said.

Since becoming an annual event in 1923, the Calgary Stampede has never missed a year — not through the Great Depression, the Second World War or the 2013 flood.