It’s not every day the Calgary Stampede rolls up to someone’s front door.
That was the case on Saturday as officials kicked off its Stampede pop-up tradition of welcoming newer Canadians living in Calgary.
“This brings a great new flavour to brand new immigrants to our wonderful city,” said Kevin Hendricks with the Calgary Stampede.
“We just want to extend the hospitality, have them be aware of what Calgary Stampede is and leave them with a small flavour.”
The families and neighbours in attendance are treated with visits from Calgary Stampede royalty, including Princess Jenna Peters and First Nation Princess Sikapinakii Low Horn, as well as mascots, trolleys and horses.
By the end of the week, the convoy will have visited more than two dozen immigrant families who were chosen by Immigrant Services Calgary.
“These types of events help newcomers build a connection to Calgary and nurtures their sense of belonging to the community,” said Jatinder Kaurbagrr with Immigrant Services Calgary.
Selected families receive several gifts, including tickets to the stampede and the long-standing tradition of receiving a white cowboy hat.
“We are white hatting them,” Hendrickson said. “Making them honourary citizens of our fine city. Giving them a warm welcome to our wonderful city.”
Abid Khurshid’s family was chosen this year. His family emigrated from Pakistan in February and now lives in the Northeast part of Calgary.
“I am so thankful to them and this gives me inspiration that one day I will be part of these volunteers and I will serve this country, “ said Khurshid.
His son Xaviyar has never attended a stampede and is looking forward to seeing the horses.
Calgary Stampede kicks off July 8 and runs until July 17.