WOW, What a Day

My stampede story takes place in 1951.We were living in Drumheller and my Grandfather, Frank Sparrow also known as leather lungs Sparrow was the infield caller at the Stampede and had been since the 1920s. He always booked the hotel room facing 9 ave in the old Dominion Carlton Hotel, which used to be across the street from the Palliser.

From this room you had access to the Marque through the room window. I was 5 at the time and one of my aunts brought me in to Calgary very early by train on Parade day, and of course we went to the Hotel to watch the Parade. I believe there were about 50 people crowded into that room and on the marque, most were relatives that I had never met, Grandpa had been born in Calgary in 1890 to a pioneer family so we had a lot of relatives. Of course Grandpa and most of the crew indulged in some spirits and were quite vocal to all Parade participants and anybody else within eyesight. After an exciting couple of hours we walked to the grounds and attended the Rodeo were Grandpa announced the Cowboys and the stock involved with each event. After a meal on the grounds we caught the train back to Drumheller that night, WOW, what a day. When I moved to Calgary in 1988 I chose the Calgary Stampede as one of my volunteer commitments. Over the years my wife Carrolle Duffin, and one of my Daughters Erin Omeara, also volunteered with the Stampede. Thanks for reading this but my day in 1951 and my Grandfathers experience over the years really helped us make that commitment to the Calgary Stampede.

Everyday is a Saturday now.

Francis (Frank) Duffin