Joe Carbury

Former Calgary Stampede chuckwagon announcer, Joe Carbury, said he would have enjoyed leading the annual parade. (CBC)

The long-time voice of the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede says he's surprised and disappointed by this year's choice for parade marshal.

TV host and celebrity contractor Mike Holmes, who lives in Ontario, was selected to lead the annual parade on July 3.

"The more I think about it, to be honest, the more upset I get," said Joe Carbury on Wednesday.

"Because if it had been a high-profile person, not even connected with Stampede, say Madonna, or something, I would have thought, hey, that's not a bad idea, you know. Get a big Hollywood star."

Carbury, who retired last year after more than four decades of calling chuckwagon races, said he's not familiar with the home improvement guru and isn't sure many other Calgarians are either.

"I thought maybe I might not have been a bad choice because I have spent 45 years down there, climbing those stairs to that seventh level, doing my job, and the chuckwagons really are the premiere event of the Stampede," said Carbury.

"I get along good with the people. They seem to like me, I thought. I wouldn't have minded being in front of that parade, but it didn't happen."

A Stampede official would only say that the parade marshal is always someone who represents the values of the Stampede.

As well as being Stampede parade marshal, Holmes will also act as spokesman for the WorldSkills competition, an international trade and technology event that Calgary is hosting in September.

Last year's parade marshal was Patsy Rodgers, the first Stampede Queen in 1946. Other marshals have included members of royalty, rodeo champions and athletes and actors.