February 28th, 2024

Stampede gearing up for scaled down event

By ALEX McCUAIG Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on July 14, 2021.

In this file photo from February 2020, Stampede Queen Rayelle Smith (centre) unveils the poster for the would-be 2020 Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede with the help of Princess Dionne Freimark as former Stampede general manager Jim McArthur looks on. The Stampede will return in 2021 following a pandemic cancelled year, albeit a scaled down version of the summer festival Hatters know.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

amccuaig@medicinehatnews.com

The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede is gearing up this week for its first post-pandemic rodeo with less than two weeks left to go.

“It’s been a little bit crazy,” said general manager Kara Brake.

Entries have been submitted for the Better Living and Visual Arts competition and Thursday will see the Stampede Queen competition open with the horsemanship portion.

New this year will be the Stampede Queen crowning which will take place at the beginning of the MHES, said Brake.

“We’ve changed it up a little bit to give the girls more recognition,” she said.

The MHES home decoration contest will again return with the entry deadline July 22.

And, as always, the rodeo will be the highlight with Brake adding, “everybody is really excited to get going with this.”

But while the show will go on, the pandemic has taken a toll on many of the usual events.

The midway rides, country in the city, free stage entertainment, parade, trade show, ranch horse competition and service club raffles won’t be happening this year.

But Brake says sales have been strong for the rodeo and the Hunter Brothers performance followed by fireworks are expected to draw a large crowd.

And despite the challenges, Brake said this year, “We still wanted to offer the people of Medicine Hat something to do.”

As for 2022, “We are definitely back to normal, busier than ever,” she said.

The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede runs from July 29-31.

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