Major Calgary Stampede sponsor will support financially but not take part in events

CALGARY — One of the Calgary Stampede’s largest sponsors will continue with its financial support for the event this year, but won’t be taking part when it comes to branding and hosting.

TC Energy called it a “difficult decision” but a prudent one.

“TC Energy has a long-standing relationship with the Calgary Stampede and while we will continue our financial support for certain Stampede events, we will not be participating in those events this year, from both a brand and a hosting perspective,” said spokesperson Suzanne Wilton in a statement.

“This is a difficult decision for us but we believe it is the prudent one. Safety is our primary value and nothing is more important than the health, wellness and safety of our people and the communities where we live and work.”

The statement added that “taking part in Stampede events could create unnecessary health and safety risks for our people and business partners.”

“We have communicated directly with our employees about our expectations with respect to acceptance of invitations to attend hosted business events,” said Wilton.

“We have not provided direction on what employees do on their personal time. Safety is a core value at TC Energy and it is our expectation we all abide by public health measures at all times.”

The Stampede is slated for July 9-18 but the chuckwagons won’t be running in the Rangleland Derby, and the Grandstand Show will be without headliner Paul Brandt. There will also not be a Stampede Parade this year.

Currently at Stage 1 of its reopening plan — which allows for outdoor dining and outdoor socializing in groups up to 10 people — Alberta could potentially move into Stage 2 next week, as more than 60 per cent of eligible lpeople have been vaccinated. That would see festivals and events allowed with up to 150 people in attendance.

All health measures will be lifted two weeks after the provinces reaches 70 per cent vaccination, Premier Jason Kenney announced last week, which will be Stage 3.

Several other major events in Alberta, including K-Days in Edmonton, the Ponoka Stampde, Edmonton Folk Fest and the Country Thunder music festival have announced cancellations for 2021.

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