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Calgary Stampede looks for extra cash after 2020 losses

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

CALGARY — Not only was the cancellation of the 2020 Calgary Stampede an exceptionally rare thing to happen in the city’s history, but it also contributed to a significant loss for the organization.

The Stampede lost more than $26 million last year, as they struggled the make up the difference after calling off the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With plans right now to go ahead with a 2021 return for the Stampede in July, officials were at city hall on Tuesday to ask for some changes so they can secure extra funding.

In the end, the Priorities and Finance Committee approved an amendment to agreements so the Stampede could seek an additional $10 million in credit facilities to provide some security for the year.

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“To help us through this point in time where cash flow certainly could be a potential issue,” said Stampede interim CEO Dana Peers. “We are not wanting to go into some of our long-term debt and strictly sort of a short-term fix.”

This does not mean the city absorbs any financial risk, nor does it mean any extra taxes on Calgarians.

The loss of more than $26 million is also calculated after the Stampede received additional financial support from the provincial and federal governments, underscoring the scale of the situation. Peers said they are very optimistic about being able to move ahead with the Stampede in 2021, promising that it will be a safe event as well.

Planning has been underway for several months in the hopes that COVID-19 restrictions will be removed, and as it stands now the province remains on track to cancel all restrictions by the start of July. Peers said the extra money gives them the chance to ensure everything goes along smoothly.

“In the hopes that we will be able to do something that is to the benefit of the community, is able to still go ahead with certain restrictions that are still unknown at this time in place.”

The Calgary Stampede is scheduled to run from Jul. 9 to 18, however, there will be no parade and the chuckwagon races will not be held.