Officials with the Calgary Stampede have begun the countdown to this year’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
Stampede president Steve McDonough unveiled on Wednesday the poster for 2022’s popular rodeo and exhibition.
The poster, designed by 19-year-old artist Kane Pendry of Edmonton, shows an Indigenous man riding near a rail in the midst of a relay race.
“I’m Metis, so I’ve been making an effort to touch back on my roots,” said Pendry, who added the poster was three years in the making.
“It was really heartfelt talking to a lot of the riders and that’s why I wanted to do it.”
Pendry said there were some tricky moments.
“Photographing right up there against the rails, I was getting yelled at from a few people to back off.”
McDonough said he was excited to release the poster and get the run-up to the Stampede started.
“A hundred days to go!” he said.
Unlike last year, the 2022 version will be a full event similar to pre-pandemic times.
“Everything you’d know and expect from the Calgary Stampede will be back,” said McDonough.
“We’re not unaware that there’s still a pandemic, but we’re making a plan for a full Stampede. We can always scale things back. I don’t see it happening at this point, but let’s get ready.”
The Stampede was cancelled in 2020, for the first time in its history, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It returned last year but was scaled down. Daily attendance was cut in half. Staff and volunteers were required to wear masks and get tested. The chuckwagon races were cancelled and the kickoff parade was confined to the Stampede grounds without spectators.
“It’s been pretty dark around here for a couple of years,” McDonough said.
Jeremy Gocal with the Bootleggin’ Breakfast said he anticipates this year’s Stampede will be a “blowout year.”
“I do expect 2022 to be as big as 2019, if not bigger. That is the hope and it seems like — based on the numbers I’m seeing, conversations I’m having — that looks like it will be a big event again this year.”
Dan DeSantis, the general manager of three Calgary hotels, said early bookings are already looking very strong.
“We’re actually pacing a little ahead of 2019 right now, which is excellent for our industry,” DeSantis said.
“We’re thrilled to be back hosting parties, Stampede parties, conferences. And we’re starting to see business travel slowly begin to pick up,” he continued. “These are all great signs for our industry.”
This year, a full parade through the downtown is set for July 8.
— with files from Tomasia DaSilva, Global News.