Though it didn’t quite go off without a hitch, CEO and GM of the Strathmore and District Agricultural Society Ryan Schmidt said this year’s Strathmore Stampede is certainly one to remember.
He was excited to report that attendees generally seemed to be greatly enjoying themselves, and the support from both the sponsors and the small army of volunteers was “tremendous.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Friday crowd like we had this year. We set a record for Friday rodeo and chuckwagon attendance and I think the chuckwagon race on Friday night was the best I’ve ever seen,” said Schmidt. “There were several photo-finishes and the crowd was just going wild. I think it was the finest chuckwagon racing night I’ve seen in my life.”
With an event of this scale, Schmidt said there are always little things that need attending to in order to keep everything running smoothly, and this year was no exception.
“Friday is always our day when we put out all the fires. I don’t know if I could think of one in particular to highlight but it seems like just 200 little things, all the things that you forgot about or you set up wrong, or you find out when everybody shows up,” he explained. “Between the staff and the volunteers, we had most of them out by the end of the Friday, a couple on Saturday morning and then a smooth sailing from there.”
Schmidt said of all the new additions to the Strathmore Stampede this year, he was particularly intrigued by the reptile exhibit brought in by Calgary Reptile Parties – a sentiment that seemed to be echoed by many attendees.
“To see all these little creatures crawling around, there’s all the craziness outside but to take a moment to go and see those neat little creatures was pretty cool and I hope that they come back next year too,” he said.
Among other concerns included inclement weather which threatened to halt concert and chuckwagon activities on Friday and Saturday. Though for Sunday, it was clear skies and smooth sailing, which Schmidt noted was a relief to see for the duration of the third day.
Going forward, if next year should see similar heat and weather during the Strathmore Stampede, Schmidt advises people to dress for the hot sun and to come prepared with lots of water.
Schmidt closed his comments regarding this year’s Stampede with a note of gratitude to all the volunteers who came out to make it all happen and help the event come together.
“Thank you to the generosity of everybody in town and the county who came out and gave their time,” he said. “It’s greatly appreciated.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times