By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Canada Day festivities, including the Raymond Stampede, are on in 2021 as part of the Town of Raymond’s Heritage Days events.
“We definitely don’t want to go any year without having the stampede,” said Robert Heggie, president of the Raymond Stampede Committee.
“We’re on a mission to save the tradition here, and anything we can do this year, we’re going to do it within the government guidelines.”
Founded in 1902, the Raymond Stampede is Canada’s oldest professional rodeo, predating the Calgary Stampede by a decade, and is usually held during the town’s Canada Day festivities.
“It’s a gathering. It’s a family gathering, it’s a local gathering, it’s where everybody shuts down and comes to the Raymond Stampede. It’s just that old and that famous,” said Heggie.
In addition to the pandemic health restrictions, organizers do have a few changes to the stampede this year.
On June 30 at noon, there will be a timed performance for events such as barrel racing, calf roping and steer roping. From those who take part, they will bring back the top 10 in each category to compete again July 1.
Under the current health restrictions, they are allowed to have one-third of their seating capacity for the stampede, and they are selling advance tickets for the event through the town’s website. As the event approaches, they will be letting people know more information about the restrictions they’ll have to follow to attend the event.
While Heggie hopes they will be able to open to full capacity under Stage 3 of the province’s “Open for Summer Plan,” which is expected to go in late June or early July, by the time Canada Day comes around, they are exploring options for people who are unable to attend the event to watch it in-person.
In addition to the stampede events, the Town of Raymond has a series of fun activities planned to help celebrate Heritage Days in the town.
On June 30 at 10:30 p.m. there will be a Smith Family Fireworks display to enjoy.
On July 1, the Rotary Club Parade will go at 10 a.m., and stampede events will follow at 2 p.m.
Additionally, the Studio 8 Market will go in the Ice Arena from 2-5 p.m., a day fair with live bands and food trucks from 5-9 p.m., spike ball games under the lights at Comet Field starting at 9 p.m., and fireworks at the Victoria Sports Park at 11 p.m.
On July 2, people are being encouraged to register a team for games of softball, disc golf, beach volleyball, three-on-three basketball and spike ball games.
On July 3, at 7:30 a.m. the 5K and 10K Harlan Taylor Road Race will take place, with the Chamber of Commerce Pancake Breakfast going from 8-10 a.m., and a drive-in movie at 500N and Broadway going at 10:30 p.m.
With all events, public health restrictions will be in place on the day of the event.
For more information, visit raymondrecreation.ca.