There may not be a Stampede this year, but Calgary is still ready to celebrate the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
Today, Parade Marshal Filipe Masetti Leite rode into Calgary after eight years travelling across the Americas on horseback.
When Masetti Leite first started this journey, he didn’t know what it would bring. He was always ready to accept the challenges.
In eight years, while travelling more than 25,000 km through all sorts of terrain and weather, he had to knock on strangers’ doors every day and ask for help.
“Eight years ago I left the Calgary Stampede an unknown cowboy, a kid with a dream that seemed bigger than life. Many people called me crazy, several said I would die doing it and almost all said it was impossible,” said Masetti Leiti.
“But here I am eight years later finishing where it all started as Parade Marshal for the 2020 Calgary Stampede.”
Without the generosity and community spirit Masetti Leite experienced, he would have never been able to finish his trek.
The rewards and positive aspects of his journey were the things that kept him going.
“Before I even got here like when I stood across the bridges downtown it just came out of me. I couldn’t stop crying, I was crying really heavily and I just have so much gratitude,” said Masetti Leite.
Even without a parade, the stage was decorated, the First Nations Princesses and Queens were lined up and Masetti Leiti’s horses napped in the background.
“Filipe is proof that Stampede Parade marshals don’t just lead a parade. They exemplify Western Heritage, values and culture,” said Calgary Stampede president and chairman of the board, Dana Peers.
The journey began just before the Calgary floods
Masetti Leiti left on his journey one year before the Hell or High-Water floods and saw how Calgary came together as a community to make the Stampede happen.
He reflected upon how that applied to his personal journey.
“It only happened because the community came together and made it happen. The community came together today,” said Masetti Leite.
While on stage Masetti shed some tears thanking his family, his girlfriend and his horses.
Over the course of his journey, he has gone through multiple horses, which he confessed was his biggest worry of the whole trip.
“To watch these horses, mature every single day, their mind, their body, their soul and being able to share this journey with them it wasn’t easy. It was a learning curve for everyone, it has been nothing short of spectacular,” Masetti Leite said.
“And to all my other horses that helped me get here, I wouldn’t have gotten here without you guys. You have made me a better human being and I love you all so much.”
Masetti Leiti will be celebrating Calgary Stampede by visiting the food truck rally, pancake breakfasts and eating mini donuts, along with having a nice cold beer.