Parade marshal named for cancelled Stampede

Parade marshal named for cancelled Stampede

CALGARY — Filipe Masetti Leite has spent a lot of alone time in the saddle criss-crossing countries on horseback over the last eight years.

The latest journey for the long rider — from Anchorage, Alaska, to Calgary — will be bittersweet when he completes it in one month.

But he’ll have a new title.

Masetti Leite has been named the 2020 Calgary Stampede’s parade marshal, even though the event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masetti Leite was asked to take the job while still on his trek and before the health crisis shut down most of the world.

“To be named the Calgary Stampede parade marshal is the biggest honour of my life. I can’t wait to ride into Calgary on July 3, even if no one is watching,” Masetti Leite said in a news release.

“I’m finishing where I started. It’s a dream.”

Masetti Leite, 33, immigrated to Canada from Brazil when he was a teenager. In 2012, he began his first journey from Calgary and spent two years riding his two horses through 10 countries in North, Central and South America.

He covered about 16,000 kilometres before reaching his final destination: his home in Espirito Santo do Pinhal, Sao Paulo.

Masetti Leite, who has a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto, began a second trip in 2016, which spanned 7,350 kilometres over 15 months and took him from Brazil to Patagonia.

His latest 3,500-kilometre trek from Alaska has him arriving in Calgary next month on the same day the Stampede was scheduled to begin.

Masetti Leite said he’s dedicating the remaining part of his ride to health-care workers around the world, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s edition of what is called the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” Stampede president Dana Peers said Masetti Leite was selected long before the world changed.

“The choice of Filipe Masetti Leite for the Calgary Stampede parade marshal has been many years in the making,” Peers said.

“He is proof Stampede parade marshals don’t just lead a parade; they exemplify western heritage, values and culture.”

A long rider is someone who has ridden more than 1,600 continuous kilometres on a single equestrian journey.

The inspiration for Masetti Leite came from a similar quest in 1925 by the original long rider, Aime Tschiffely, a Swiss school teacher, who rode 16,000 kilometres alone from Buenos Aires to New York City and wrote about his experiences.

Masetti Leite has 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 June 3, 2020

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Calgary

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

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

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

Most Read