It was a family affair
I have been fortunate to be a part of the Calgary Stampede for over 50 years, when the Stampede was just a half century old then. This annual event was my family’s holiday and we would travel from Ponoka every year to experience what the big city of Calgary had to offer. I am very fortunate to be the great niece of the legendary Tommy Dorchester as his wife Joy Shantz was my dad's aunt. We were able to spend a lot of time in the barns back in the 1960’s. My great uncle was Lloyd Shantz and he was married to Tom's sister Caroline. Lloyd was the starter of the wagons back then.
It was a family affair. I could hardly wait to see everyone but one year especially sticks out in my mind. It was a very hot summer and we showed up all ready for fun. We decided we should spend some time in the river to try and fend off the cold. It seemed like a safe thing to do, and besides I was ten years old and knew just about everything. Well after we spent time there we walked over to Uncle Lloyd and Auntie Caroline’s camper and she commented that there was some blood coming from my foot. Well sure enough I had a huge open wound on the heal of my foot – I was unaware that the river was full of broken bottles. I have that scar on my foot to remind me of the Calgary Stampede.
I never think of that time with dismay. As a child I absolutely loved to spend time at the Calgary Stampede. It was just second nature to our family. The smell of the olds barns was wonderful. It was a simple time and it was a great home town rodeo.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of the simple time of the Calgary Stampede when you could get wooden nickels to buy chocolate milk, and the Indian Village housed many of my friends and it was easy to converse and spend time with them.