Calgary – Yes, we’ve been bucked off, so to speak, for Stampede 2020. But we’re determined to get back in the saddle and continue the ride. We’d also like to encourage our community to celebrate with us, even without this year’s event in July. Over the next month we are excited to share Stampede stories and experiences with our community.
In the absence of the parade, but in the spirit of celebration, we’d like to begin by sharing the story of the man who would have led the way. Eight years ago Filipe Masetti Leite saddled up and set off from the Stampede on a remarkable adventure, and on July 3, 2020, his journey will be complete.
“The choice of Filipe Masetti Leite for the Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal has been many years in the making and was finalized long before our world changed this spring,” says Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Stampede Board. “He is proof Stampede Parade Marshals don’t just lead a parade; they exemplify western heritage, values and culture.”
In 2012, at the Calgary Stampede’s Centennial celebration, Masetti Leite swung into the saddle and began chasing an extraordinary dream passed down from his father and inspired by the legendary long-riders of the past. He embarked on a 12 country, 25,000 km journey on horseback across North and South America, through some of the most beautiful and most challenging country on Earth. From his adopted country of Canada, Masetti Leite made his way to his native Brazil, then on to the very tip of South America, Ushuaia, Argentina.
To complete the journey and achieve his long-time goal, last year he once again set off on horseback from Alaska with the goal of returning to Calgary in time for the Stampede. After pausing for the winter months and the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipe Masetti Leite is now riding his final 800 km along remote roads, headed to Calgary.
“I’m finishing where I started. It’s a dream,” says Masetti Leite, adding, “To be named the Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal is the biggest honour of my life. I can’t wait to ride into Calgary on July 3, even if no one is watching.”
Masetti Leite is dedicating this remaining part of his ride to healthcare providers around the world who have worked tirelessly during this global health crisis. It is a sentiment echoed by Peers.
“We want the community to know we have heard their calls to recognize the extraordinary efforts of health care professionals, first responders and essential workers who are all selflessly supporting our community through this pandemic. We wholeheartedly agree and will provide appropriate recognition when we can gather once again.”
In the meantime, as we draw closer to July, we invite our community to experience the final chapter of this remarkable story of western culture, resiliency and community spirit. Keep your hats on!
Click HERE to watch the video of Filipe Masetti Leite’s journey to the 2020 Calgary Stampede.
You can also follow Filipe Masetti Leite’s journey on social media @FilipeMasetti and find more video and information about his travels through the Americas on Outwild TV’s JourneyAmerica.com.
Read about the first leg of Filipe Masetti Leite’s journey in his book Long Ride Home: Guts and Guns and Grizzlies, 800 Days Through the Americas in a Saddle, with his e-book available for free for the next 48 hours on Amazon.ca
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.