Friends in Low Places

It was Stampede 1991 and as the Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses, Halley Strandquist, Michel Higgenbotham and I had spent the day traveling all over Calgary and Stampede Park helping various groups and organizations celebrate the Stampede. 

As part of our 10-day routine we were sitting on the back of the burgundy convertible car waiting for the Park Parade to start. 

For those who may not be aware, Park Parade consisted of the Showband and other mini-floats and mascots traveling through the Midway at around 7 p.m. each night. The Park Parade started at the Saddledome. 

While waiting for the Park Parade to start one evening, we were more excited than usual because Garth Brooks was playing at the Saddledome, and were looking forward to seeing him play a few songs.  It was rumored that we might get to meet him, but we did not want get our hopes up.  Suddenly we were told that if we came quickly, we could meet Garth Brooks before the Park Parade.

Lesley, our chaperone, was a little concerned that we might not have enough time to meet him before the Park Parade but didn’t want us to miss out either, so away we went.  On our way to his dressing room we ran into Theoren Fleury and told him to join us. With a Calgary Flame in tow, we waited outside Garth’s dressing room in the basement of the Saddledome.

We waited and waited, and waited and waited.  Lesley kept looking at her watch and then said, “We have to go.”  I said, “Just one more minute.”  She agreed, and we waited. Just as we were about to leave, the door opened and there he was - the country star!  He looked at us and apologized for our wait.  We said it was an honour to meet him and he took off his hat, held it to his chest and said, “No, It’s an honour to meet you ladies.” Wow, so kind and chivalrous!  We took pictures with him, and off we went.

The funny thing was, a few weeks later we went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.  The headliner in Cheyenne happened to be Garth Brooks!  Trisha Yearwood opened for him (this was before they were married) and we got to sit and watch him outdoors in the infield of their arena.  Trisha Yearwood’s band came out and sat with us while we watched ….pretty neat!!

Alison Ross, 1991 Calgary Stampede Princess