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Calgary Stampede to go ahead ‘come hell or high water’

CALGARY- It’s official: the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth will go on.

Calgary Stampede officials announced Monday they will go ahead with the city’s annual event come hell or high water, despite the devastating flood damage.

CEO of Calgary Stampede Vern Kimball said the Stampede’s economic impact is around $340 million and is scheduled for July 5-14.

Watch: Stampede officials confirm event will go ahead “come hell or high water”

“There are a lot of hotels that count on the stampede,” said Kimball, at a press conference Monday. “Other tourism infrastructure will all be there to support [the Stampede].”
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Kimball said that volunteers and employee orientations for the Stampede have been rescheduled, as cleanup efforts are still underway.

“Everything is covered with water, everything is covered with silt,”  said Kimball. “There is a tremendous amount of cleanup to be done.”

According to officials the Big 4 building still has water in its basement and there was significant damage to the track and infield. The Grandstand has been cleaned out, but had about two and a half feet of water. The BMO and Corral also experienced minor flood damage.

The Stampede is using its own resources for the cleanup.

“We haven’t put out a request for any special assistance from anybody.”

No attractions for the event have been cancelled, but the setup timeline has been compressed as organizers have lost ten days of their three week preparation schedule.

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Kimball said that despite the flood damage, he hopes the stampede will be the same as last year’s event “in all material respects.”

The Stampede is also looking at the possibility of adding a benefit concert for flood victims. The Stampede’s president says that this year’s party might be more subdued than in year’s past.

“We are sensitive to the extreme grief and difficulties that the citizens are facing,” says Bob Thompson.

In its history the Stampede has endured two wars and a Great Depression and has never once been cancelled.

WATCH: Scott Fee wearing Hell or High Water t-shirt

On Tuesday, the Stampede unveiled its “Hell or High Water” t-shirts, and proceeds from each one sold will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund.

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Shirts are $19.95 each. Click here to order: http://store.calgarystampede.com/

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