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article imageCalgary Stampede will be held 'come hell or high water'

By Arthur Weinreb     Jun 25, 2013 in World
Calgary - The annual event will begin as scheduled on July 5, despite the devastating floods that hit Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta last week.
The main page of the Calgary Stampede's website says it all: "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth Will Go On." The 101st Calgary Stampede is scheduled to run from July 5 until July 14. And according to organizers, it will begin on time despite the massive flooding that forced 100,000 people from their homes left many without power, and did millions of dollars in damages.
Bob Thompson, president and chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board, said the event will open on time "come hell or high water." Thompson said, "Throughout our entire history, we have never cancelled a show despite two wars and a Great Depression. 2013 will be no exception. We have witnessed families coming together, neighbours coming together and community coming together. Even as we are challenged with the cleanup, we are looking forward to our guests with a place to pause, to join their family and friends and celebrate community pride."
Vern Kimball, chief executive of the Stampede, said, "We're in the midst of draining and drying all the buildings. Removing damaged materials and replacing and restoring everything we can. The job of cleaning and restoring our buildings and facilities including the racetrack and infield is monumental. There's a ton of work to be done. Once that's completed we're going to run a concentrated version of Stampede set up and infrastructure installation."
It normally takes about three weeks to set up the Stampede. While almost half of that time has been lost, organizers remain optimistic they will be ready on time. People from as far away as Texas have offered to assist organizers to get ready for the annual event.
The Scotiabank Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is expected to be ready to hold concerts during the Stampede despite taking on a lot of water. And organizers say the Grandstand, that was flooded with about two feet of water, will also be ready by July 5.
The Stampede is using its own resources for the cleanup. Kimball stressed that his organization has received no special treatment from the city of Calgary. He said, "At this time, we haven't even looked at what it's costing. We're going to do whatever it takes for July 5."
Except for a change in the parade route through Calgary, no major changes to this year's Stampede are expected.
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