My dad's saddest day of his life

As a young boy, my dad Ron moved to the big city of Calgary from the small hamlet of Cayley, Alberta, just south of the city.  The year was 1949, he was just 6 years old and his younger brother Gary was 4 years old. 

On that beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon Grandma let the boys go play in the community.  Little did they know their dad Cecil was close behind, watching as they wondered around checking out their new community to see what it had to offer, after all it was the big city!  They had moved to the top of Scotsman hill. 

Years later my dad still tells the story like it was yesterday and he remembers this as one of his favorite childhood memories!  He was so impressed with the view of the Calgary Stampede when he came around the corner and looked over the hillside down at the Park!  With all the activity and flashing lights, the horses, stables, Chuckwagons, Cowboys, Indian Village, and the sounds!  It was magical, and he couldn't stop talking about the view of the Stampede at the dinner table!  He wore the biggest smile a young boy of his age could, with shear happiness! 

The next morning, he awoke with anticipation and after breakfast he couldn't wait for his Grandma to give him permission to go back to the hillside and see the Calgary Stampede!  He was so happy when she said go ahead and off he went, with his brother in tow; and once again his Dad was not far behind them. 

Heartbreak and devastation was all he felt, to his dismay it was all gone. Torn down in the middle of the night, packed up and moved away, never to been seen again for a whole year.  A boys dream was broken.  The following year his parents had saved enough that he and each sibling were given a dollar a day to spend at the Stampede.  He doesn't know how his parents could afford to that, still to this day he just doesn't know how they did it, but they did!  It brings a smile to his face.

He relives this memory every year when the Stampede returns!  It's a family story that has become a yearly tradition.  We go to the top of Scotsman hill to watch the fireworks with Grandpa and listen to his childhood memories living so close to the Calgary Stampede!

Thanks for the family memories!  My daughters Shaylene, Amanda and I look forward to it every year and cherish it as part of our Stampede memories!  We come to the Park every year, go to the Grandstand show, the Rodeo, and the Parade yearly; but it's the fireworks with Grandpa and his story that means the most!  Congratulations to 100 years of Stampede memories!

Colleen Kocher

My dad, Ron, and his younger brother, Gary