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Canada: Calgary Stampede won't be thrown by flooding, officials say

June 25, 2013|By Chris Erskine
  • Floodwaters from the Elbow River cover the grandstand and track area at the Calgary Stampede grounds.
Floodwaters from the Elbow River cover the grandstand and track area at… (Mike Ridewood / EPA )

One of the world’s great rodeos will go on “come hell or high water.”

Calgary Stampede officials announced Monday that Canada’s ultimate rodeo will run  as scheduled July 5-14, despite extensive flooding to the grounds and the city itself.

"We have pumped millions of gallons of water from our facilities, scraped the mud from our tarmac, commenced the cleanup of our park, all to welcome guests from around the world," Stampede president Bob Thompson said.

"We will be hosting the greatest outdoor show on Earth, come hell or high water," he said.

This will mark the 101st year of the Stampede, which has never been canceled, despite two wars and the Great Depression.

The challenges, though, will be considerable.

In Calgary, more than 65,000 residents were being allowed to go back to assess the damage from flooding that has left Alberta’s largest city awash in debris and dirty water, the Canadian Press reported.

Residents were facing extensive repairs to homes and businesses. About 75,000 people had to leave at the height of the crisis as the Elbow and Bow rivers surged over their banks last week.

Officials said the annual opening parade will also be held in the morning of July 5, probably with some changes to the route, which winds through downtown.

Crews and specialists have worked around the clock to pump and dry buildings, including Calgary Stampede Stadium.

At stake is one of Canada’s premier events, a 10-day festival that draws 1-million visitors each year. In addition to one of the world’s largest rodeos, the event features chuckwagon racing, concerts, cultural exhibitions and a midway.

Meanwhile, the severe weather that has swept southern Alberta has mostly spared Banff National Park, officials there say. Routes between Calgary and Banff have reopened.

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chris.erskine@latimes.com

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