No chucks: Calgary Stampede updates on preps being made for 2021 bash

Country music star Paul Brandt will also not be a part of the Grandstand show this year

Calgarians are enjoying to play street games in Calgary Stampede on Sunday, July 7, 2019. (Photo by Minyeong Jo/SAIT)

Calgary’s mayor said the Calgary Stampede board has been very thoughtful about putting on the 2021 Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, with a focus on keeping park visitors safe.

Earlier Thursday the Calgary Stampede organizers said they’ll “flex and adapt” to evolving the evolving public health situation. It would be modified, but the show will go on.

That comes after Premier Jason Kenney spoke at length about the 2021 Calgary Stampede Wednesday during the announcement on reopening plans. He said it would be fully possible should Alberta meet certain targets.

“There’s going to be some pretty good business, I think, for those in the events, entertainment industry. They need a little bit of business, they need some love,” he said at the media event.

Kenney said the province had been working with Stampede organizers on how to best hold the event safely.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who is a Calgary Stampede board member, was more cautious in his approach to the Calgary Stampede. He said the recent reopening announcement doesn’t change the organizations approach.

“It will look different. It will look smaller and activities will be designed in such a way to be as safe as possible,” the mayor said in a media briefing Thursday.

The mayor said they don’t want the message to be that they’re being reckless in their approach. There will be safety restriction in place at the event. It could include masking – perhaps the whole time on the grounds, or in designated areas, he said.

“We are going to make sure that people around the world who see the Stampede don’t see a bunch of people thumbing their nose at the pandemic, but actually see people responsibly being leaders, showing the world how we move forward coming out,” he said.

Stampede changes for 2021

On Thursday, the Calgary Stampede said planning is underway for the rodeo, the Midway, live music at Nashville North, displays at the Big Four and other shows and competitions.

“Given the contexts of the past year and safety precautions leading up to the planning efforts for Stampede 2021, our annual celebration will be a bit different this year,” the Calgary Stampede release read.

One of the major changes is the exclusion of the Rangeland Derby chuckwagon racing. It won’t be part of the evening show at the Calgary Stampede. Nor will the Grandstand Show featuring Canadian country music artist, Paul Brandt.

Changes are being made to the evening show, but it will still have Young Canadians performances, western events and live music. It will also have the evening fireworks display.

The Premier did say Wednesday that a permit would not be issued for a Calgary Stampede parade this year. Mayor Nenshi confirmed this and said that there are logistical and health issues with the parade.

“The challenge, of course, you can’t control the number of people who come and you’ve got a lot of people sitting next to one another for three or four hours. So it’s a long duration,” he said.

The mayor also noted the large number of children that would be present and they are not yet vaccinated. Mayor Nenshi hinted at the possibility of a safe parade, either for broadcast or with limited numbers and distance control.

Will the mayor attend Calgary Stampede events?

When asked, the mayor said he’d be more thoughtful about how he spent his Calgary Stampede time this year. He doesn’t anticipate the same number of community events during Stampede, where he usually goes. He’s on the grounds once or twice a day, but he likely trim it back based with safety in mind.

“I will be looking very carefully again with safety is my first priority at ways in which that I can get involved,” he said.

“I anticipate my days will probably be a little bit shorter than they’ve been in the past.”

The mayor reassured Calgarians that it’s OK to have the Calgary Stampede this year.

“I want people to know that it’s good to have a Stampede this year. It will be good for us after this incredibly difficult thing that we’ve gone through together to actually have a bit of fun, to turn the page,” he said.

“I am in complete agreement with others who say this summer is our opportunity to do it.”

While different, Calgary Stampede officials are hoping to put together a show Calgarians will remember.

“We plan to make new Stampede memories with the community each night, and each afternoon with the continued tradition of the Stampede Rodeo, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo!” The Calgary Stampede said.

They said thousands of jobs are available at this year’s Calgary Stampede. Tickets are also on sale.

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