Calgary Stampede unveils 2021 plans, chuckwagons won't roll this year
CALGARY -- Calgary Stampede officials have announced the plans for the upcoming edition of 'The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth' but with one noticeable absence from previous years.
The Rangeland Derby will not be held as a result of the pandemic-related cancellations of the 2020 and 2021 chuckwagon racing seasons in Western Canada. The races are expected to return in 2022.
The Grandstand Show, which traditionally followed the final heat of the races each night, has been rebranded as an 'Evening Show' and is set to include rodeo events, live music, The Young Canadians and fireworks.
Original Grandstand Show plans featured local icon Paul Brandt but the country musician will not participate in the reimagined nightly shows.
This year's event is scheduled to include the Stampede Rodeo, midway, Elbow River Camp, Nashville North, The Big Four Roadhouse, BMO Market, Western Showcase, as well as agriculture showcases and competitions.
Calgarians appear torn on the idea of a full-blown Stampede returning in roughly six weeks time.
Steve Uren says businesses could certainly use the boost in revenue but wonders if it's happening too soon.
"I think given how soon we’ve seen peaks occur from when restrictions are moved I think it could be a little uneasy for many yes."
Helio Gomes is excited for the return of Stampede but worries an economic boost will be followed by a peak in cases.
"I’m excited about it. I hope it happens but I'm still concerned it's too soon. But it’s exciting to see we can go back to normal."
Maria Yarantseva, a Grade 12 student, says she has mixed-feelings and finds it hypocritical given the fact many don't know if they can even pull off a full graduation.
“I feel for Calgary and Alberta. It should be kinda embarrassing we couldn’t get COVID under control for a year-and-a-half, but we’re going to throw this big party?"
SAFETY TOP PRIORITY
Kristina Barnes with the Stampede says she understands people may feel uneasy about the event going ahead but says safety will be top priority.
“Stampede 2021 will still look different. There will still be safety protocols in place, expecting fewer people and things laid out differently,” she says.
There is more than 200 acres of land on the ground and Barnes says organizers are using it to spread things out and move experiences they can outdoors.
“We look at this year as something - a bit of hope, a bit of optimism and a look towards the future.”
The Stampede does hope to have some version of a parade this year but is still in talks with the city about a potential permit.
On Thursday the Premier said some quarantine exemptions had been granted by the federal government for rodeo athletes coming into Canada but according to Barnes that still hasn’t been finalized. She hopes the exemptions will be similar to some NHL games during the pandemic in Alberta.