Behind the scenes at The Calgary Stampede Parade

The Calgary Stampede Parade Committee receives a high five and an expression of gratitude from this author and her colleagues. On Thursday, July 5th, one day prior to the Calgary Stampede Parade, seven local ‘Women of Stampede’ authors saddled up for the ride, having been invited to the Participants BBQ and Parade Day breakfast.

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From left to right: C.G. Furst, Maeve Buchanan, Shelley Kassian, Katie O’Connor, Nicole Roy, Alyssa Linn Palmer, and Brenda Sinclair.

The BBQ and breakfast is a happening place. The atmosphere is rife with excitement and entertainment; you can feel the vibe thrumming in the air as parade participants begin to arrive. All afternoon, trucks and trailers continually roll into Fort Calgary, parking along the fence line beside the Bow River. I watched in amazement as horses were unloaded, enjoying the presence of equines nickering and riders trotting along a ready made pathway, and one leader among the crowd who directed the drivers where to park all while riding his russet mare.

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I’ve attended the Calgary Stampede for years, and I’ve always appreciated how the city celebrates a Western-themed event each year. It’s the direct reason I was inspired to write a contemporary romance novel, loosely based on the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, though I never imagined that a series project, which I oversaw with Katie O’Connor, might lead to this behind the scenes glimpse of the Calgary Stampede parade. I didn’t expect to be treated like a VIP. Standing in a long line of parade attendees, a volunteer noticed my badge and with a smile, escorted me to the VIP line. It felt great to be given such respect and care.

My most amazing moment of day one arrived when I met Kelly Sutherland. Oh my… I felt blessed and honored when he purchased my novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, plus the other six novels in the series. My fictional family discover a chuckwagon legacy, which sends them back to the race track, trying to achieve a win on the half mile of Hell. Kelly wanted to know if I’d based my characters on any drivers he might know. I assured him my story is purely fictional! Definitely a fan girl moment!

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The greatest champion in chuckwagon racing history, Kelly Sutherland, and Shelley Kassian

The Women of Stampede authors arrived at Fort Calgary early on day two. The sun was just beginning to rise. Pancakes and sausages were already cooking on the grill and parade participants lined up early to eat. Six am! Approximately 600 volunteers work behind the scenes to feed and care for the parade participants. They were fantastic ambassadors for the Calgary Stampede. I extend my thanks to them! The food was delicious! 🙂

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Like everything in life, good occasions must come to an end. I wish to thank the Calgary Stampede Parade Committee for inviting the Women of Stampede to their event and for treating us like royalty. I imagine, every guest might have felt that way!


 

The Half Mile of Baby Blue, A Women of Stampede romance novel, is available for purchase at Chapters, Indigo, and all places where digital books are sold.

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