Fortney: A Stampede Parade like no other

The truth is, if issues go nicely on this planet, it’ll be the one certainly one of its form within the greater than century-long historical past of the occasion

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She’s been ready for this present day all yr.

“Completely happy, excited, nervous, every part,” says nine-year-old Azaya Fines as she saddles up on Lili, 1 / 4 horse on mortgage from a fellow member of the Millarville Musical Journey. “It’s the primary time I’ve ever ridden within the Stampede parade.”

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Azaya Fines, 9, one of the youngest participants of the Millarville Musical Ride poses for a photo with her horse Lili on Friday, July 9, 2021. This year is her first parade. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
Azaya Fines, 9, one of many youngest members of the Millarville Musical Journey poses for a photograph together with her horse Lili on Friday, July 9, 2021. This yr is her first parade. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Picture by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

With lower than half the standard floats and members, it lasted solely about 40 minutes, passing scores of largely masked Stampede brass, staff and media. Followers watched on TV and livestreamed video, somewhat than lining the parade route by the tens of 1000’s.

It’s all a part of the stringent measures and restrictions the Stampede has put in place to try to forestall any outbreaks of COVID-19 because the pandemic slows throughout Canada. Whereas the virus continues to be right here, at the least on this present day beneath sunny skies and excellent summer season temperatures, the horrors of sickness amidst an unprecedented public well being emergency appeared a world away.

Even Filipe Masetti Leite is doing his greatest to begin from a clear slate. The Brazilian cowboy spent years crossing the Americas on horseback, the plan being to take advantage of heralded arrival of a Stampede parade marshal ever. That was 2020, although, and he arrived simply in time for the occasion to be cancelled for the primary time because it grew to become an annual occasion in 1923.

“It’s a real honour to be again right here,” mentioned the beaming cowboy as he ready to accompany fellow parade marshal Katari Proper Hand, a Siksika fancy dancer, to guide the parade. “You realize, a cowboy all the time will get again on his horse, perseveres. That’s what I’m hoping individuals see at present.”

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Katari Right Hand, the 2021 Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal, was photographed during the Calgary Stampede parade at the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021, with Filipe Masetti Leite to her left. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
Katari Proper Hand, the 2021 Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal, was photographed in the course of the Calgary Stampede parade on the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021, with Filipe Masetti Leite to her left. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Picture by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Nonetheless, the previous yr is just not going unnoticed amongst each members and the small sprinkling of spectators unfold out alongside the route.

“The previous 15 months have been so onerous and once I acquired the decision, I began to cry joyful tears,” says Tim Hortons worker Analyn Bautista, who together with her colleague Alma Dela Cruz is a part of the contingent of front-line staff who joined the procession that included Shriners driving teeny tiny vehicles, dancers in wildly vibrant costumes and horses so far as the attention may see.

“By no means in one million years,” mentioned Bautista, who’s from the Philippines, “did I feel somebody would assume I used to be necessary sufficient to be in a parade.”

Jennifer Vance admits she was having hassle holding again the tears as she ready to stroll the route with restaurant staff, police, well being care staff and others who helped maintain us all protected and the meals provide chain operational for greater than a yr.

“It has been a battle within the trenches,” mentioned Vance, administrator for Bethany Calgary, which homes greater than 400 seniors within the metropolis. “I’m right here to signify all of the workers who labored so onerous to look after our aged residents; I can’t say sufficient about how devoted they had been.”

Megan Kyle mentioned she “vibrated with pleasure” when she acquired the decision to be within the parade.

“We labored all by means of the pandemic, generally seven days every week, and it feels so good to be appreciated,” mentioned the employee at Loblaws Freeport Distribution Centre. “It feels so good that the Stampede is displaying their appreciation for us.”

Tears flowed simply each amongst members and spectators, as everybody took in what will probably be a Stampede parade talked about for many years to return, and, on this present day, watched by the world.

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The Calgary Stampede parade was held at the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
The Calgary Stampede parade was held on the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Picture by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

“I’m sorry, I simply maintain crying, however they’re tears of happiness and satisfaction,” mentioned Jamee DeWit, director of the Stampede Showriders, an equestrian crew accustomed to travelling the world and performing.

“It’s been begin and cease all yr, however we managed to get in observe occasions,” mentioned DeWit of her expert riders, a long-time staple of the parade. “It undoubtedly isn’t the way in which we’re used to doing it, however we’re all so thrilled to assist placed on a parade that offers individuals each leisure and hope.”

It’s not the way in which Mayor Naheed Nenshi deliberate to spend his final time atop a horse on the Stampede Parade, both, however he took all of it in with gusto.

“This isn’t about pretending COVID by no means existed,” mentioned a masked Nenshi, who was juggling in-person interviews with calls from nationwide media pre-parade. “It honours what we’ve been by means of … however it additionally offers us an opportunity to show the web page on this pandemic.”

After her trip alongside the route of this unprecedented Stampede parade, Azaya Fines reacted like several nine-year-old; she’s not in a philosophical temper just like the grown-ups, however somewhat a euphoric one.

“It was a variety of enjoyable,” mentioned the recent face of Stampede future, who like so many others right here on this wonderful morning was selecting to see the glass as half full. “I can’t wait till subsequent yr, the place I can see all of the individuals alongside the parade route. This primary time was good observe.”

The Calgary Stampede parade was held at the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
The Calgary Stampede parade was held on the Stampede grounds on Friday, July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Picture by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

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