The Regiment at the Calgary Stampede and Spruce Meadows
By: Lieutenant Richard Yang
Another year has come for the 100 man Honor Guard for the Calgary Stampede and Spruce Meadows and in 2016 Recce Sqn, with attachments from across the Regiment, followed in the steps of this rich tradition. The four days the soldiers spent in Calgary was a truly rewarding experience for the soldiers and Recce Sqn.
Soon after our arrival, the Honor Guard began the four day event with a 6km run in the Bow River valley in the Calgary downtown core. Bystanders and passing runners got a close-up of Recce Sqn’s esprit de corps as soldiers began the Recce chant shortly after we started the run. Locals cheered as MCpl Justin Wry shouted “last one to the front” while the Guard tried to eat itself with 100m sprints. The sight of 100 soldiers running as a formed body in the Bow River Valley is a sight that Calgarians have not likely seen in many years.
The following morning, the guard joined the Naden Band, a Leopard 2 tank, an ARV 3, and a Scimitar from the UK Army for the Calgary Stampede parade. The crowd loved us. Cpl Shane Fettes ran alongside and motivated the crowds with chants and human waves, creating ripples of energy as the parade went on. The soldiers were very happy to be recognized by the thousands of Canadians lining the streets for the parade. The City of Calgary welcomed us with open arms and with much appreciation.
The Spruce Meadows parade and static displays at the North American Cup was another exceptional opportunity to showcase the professionalism and dedication of the Regiment’s soldiers. The soldiers’ hard work and dedication at parade practice over the preceding days was rewarded in a perfectly executed parade that honored the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Commander of 3rd Canadian Division, and the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. Spruce Meadows also hosted a Leopard 2 tank and the Regiment’s HVT Tp, led by WO Peter Jones, attracting interested crowds with our Sherman Tank “CATHERINE.” The Mounted Troop, working on steeds provided by Spruce Meadows, continued their tradition of representing the Regiment’s cavalry history. The Guidon party, led by the TQMS MWO Leigh Taylor, were a spectacle unto themselves and the centerpiece of the honour guard. As always, Mr Kurby Court and the team at Spruce Meadows treated our team with tremendous generosity.
Following the second parade at Spruce Meadows on Sunday afternoon, the guard boarded the busses for the drive north. Although a bit sun burned and exhausted from a weekend of parades and nights out at the Stampede, all those that came down for the Calgary weekend had a rewarding experience. Once again our soldiers represented the Regiment to the highest standard, and this is something that we can all be proud of.