Brazilian long rider Filipe Masetti Leite is expected to arrive in Calgary on July 3, 2020 after his 3,400-kilometre journey. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Brazilian cowboy to finish trek from Alaska to Calgary with Stampede honour

Parade marshal makes 3,400-kilometre journey

CALGARY — Brazilian long rider Filipe Masetti Leite is almost at the finish line.

The 33-year-old is scheduled to complete a 3,400-kilometre journey on horseback from Alaska to Calgary today, the same day the Calgary Stampede was supposed to begin.

Although the annual event and a parade to kick it off were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipe Leite was crowned this year’s parade marshal.

He is to be met by Stampede officials and handed a marshal’s badge before receiving an RCMP escort to the exhibition grounds for a small ceremony.

Masetti Leite moved with his family from Brazil to Calgary when he was nine and later grew up in Toronto.

He has been on long horse rides before, but he says this one is to be his last so he can move on with new challenges.

“Sure enough the year I get picked to be the parade marshal — and it’s a huge honour — there’s no parade, no rodeo,” he says with a chuckle.

“But if this has taught me anything, it’s that you’ve got to be flexible. Someone, somewhere, wanted the Calgary Stampede to be cancelled when Filipe finished his ride, but I’m still blessed to be chosen.”

Masetti Leite covered about 16,000 kilometres riding from Calgary to his parents’ home of Espirito Santo do Pinhal, Sao Paulo, between 2012 and 2014. In 2016, he rode 7,350 kilometres from Brazil to Patagonia.

He says he was inspired to become a long rider by Aime Tschiffely, a Swiss school teacher who rode 16,000 kilometres alone from Buenos Aires to New York City in 1925 and wrote about his experiences.

Masetti Leite has also documented his travels and written the book “Long Ride Home: Guts and Guns and Grizzlies, 800 Days Through the Americas in a Saddle.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.

Calgary Stampede

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

New owners of Sylvan Lake Canadian Tire looking to be big part of the community

Randy and Alison Patton are the new owners of Sylvan Lake Canadian Tire

Notley to stay on as Alberta NDP leader for 2023 provincial election

The NDP took almost all of Edmonton but few seats outside of the city

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Death of mother grizzly a ‘big loss’ for bear population in Banff park: experts

The bear, known as No. 143, spent most of her time in the backcountry of Banff

U.S.-Canadian border closure reportedly could extend through November

The border between the two countries has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21

Threat of fall federal election eases as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Congeniality emerged as fears of second wave of COVID-19 were heightened after another case increase

Intoxicated male arrested by Ponoka RCMP passes away after fall

Incident remains under investigation by ASIRT

Most Read