The Calgary Stampede and Spruce Meadows 2008
By Trooper Courneyea
7 July 2008
Another year has passed and another Stampede has come and gone. Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) have again “stepped up to the plate” and put on a good show for the residents of Calgary and speculators of the Stampede, proving, once again, our motto of Perseverance.
The festivities were underway with an early 0400hrs start on Friday to prepare for the Stampede parade. It was a wise decision as we learned the joys of downtown parking during a parade. Once we got parked and sorted out, we took to the streets accompanied by the Royal Canadian Artillery Band, a Coyote, an ARV, and a Leopard C2 battle tank. Major John Cochrane and MWO Richard Stacey tried diligently to secure a position behind the Brazilian Dance Association but to no avail; I guess the Stampede organizers realized that we would have been a little distracted. Attached is a photo of the most recent additions of the Dance Association. Once we stepped off, the applause and cheering never stopped. It resembled a continuous wave as our contingent moved through the city. We surely drew the loudest and most heartfelt response from the parade onlookers. We moved with our heads held high and eyes mostly to the front. We never wasted a second, conducting a reconnaissance of what Calgary had to offer and dodging some little gifts left by the horses.
Saturday afternoon, a 100 man Guard of Honour from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) took to the field at Spruce Meadows. The guard was on the field to conduct a Feu-de Joie ceremony for Spruce Meadows, while also have the opportunity to salute our newly appointed, Chief of the Defence Staff, General W. Natynczyk. The Regiment has been parading at Spruce Meadows since the 1970’s and have formed a strong tie with this organization. They have shown tremendous support for both our Regiment, especially the Strathcona Mounted Troop, and the Canadian Forces. The Saturday parade was capped off with a $140,000.00 donation from Spruce Meadows and their sponsors, through their “Show Your Colours” campaign, to the Military Family Fund. With this, they are supporting one of our most important resources, the military families, who truly are the “Hero’s behind the Hero’s”. Sunday saw a repeat of the Saturday show; however it was Brigadier General K.L. WOIDEN, Commander Land Forces Western Area and Joint Task Force West, who received the salute.
This three day collection of public relations activities were truly memorable events. It was an exceptional opportunity to allow the Canadian public to once again connect with their soldiers. While the events not only demonstrated our commitment to serving them and Canada’s interests around the world, it also reinforced to us, Canada’s soldiers, that we have the public’s support, and that is all any soldier can ask for.