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Organizers hope Stampede can be a go for 2021

Following COVID-19 precautions, the Calgary Stampede has announced significant staff reductions. (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — After it was cancelled in 2020 for the first time in over a century, organizers remain optimistic that the next edition of the Calgary Stampede can go ahead this summer.

It is unknown what sort of restrictions could still be in place if large gatherings can resume at the time, but officials feel it is prudent for them to plan for a best-case scenario in the event that the Stampede can be held once more.

“Certainly health and safety is top of mind for our community, and we’ve got a great team of employees working on this as well as a terrific group of excited volunteers wanting to make sure that the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth happens in 2021,” Calgary Stampede interim CEO Dana Peers said.

Peers said they have several scenarios in mind, but they cannot make any final decisions at this time.

The scope of a potential 2021 Stampede all depends on what rules will remain in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and there are also factors to consider relating to the vaccine roll out around Alberta.

Late last year, the Stampede also unveiled the poster for a potential event this summer, indicating that they were still moving forward with the plans while COVID-19 cases were steadily on the rise.

However, Peers stressed that they are not putting the wagon before the horse and want to ensure all necessary protocols are being followed before finalizing any plans.

“We’re going to continue to be in close contact with all of our partners to try and envision the Calgary Stampede in such a way that we can still have a safe Stampede come July,” he said.

But they also have to consider other events that take place on Stampede Park, with numerous other events that are usually scheduled in the winter and spring. Peers said they are tackling them on a case by case basis and will make sure that anything that happens on the grounds follows public health protocols.

There was also other events that happened last year that seemed to show there are solutions for the Stampede. This included the National Finals Rodeo happening in the United States with provisions in place to help protect everyone involved.

Peers said they have an advantage with the Stampede since most events occur outdoors, where COVID-19 transmission is lower, and they have a lot of space to work with on Stampede Park.

He is hopeful that the cancellation of 2020 will be a one-off and will not be repeated this time around, and Peers said it would be a comforting positive if it can be held in 2021.

“We know that it has a very important economic impact on the city,” Peers said. “It’s not just about us wanting to have a Stampede, but the important role this plays economically for hotels, restaurants, rideshares, for everybody else. We’re going to do our best to have a 2021 Calgary Stampede.”