Cowboy writes book about adventures, 'angels' on Calgary to Brazil horseback ride
'I like to cover a lot of land,' says Filipe Masetti Leite, as he prepares for new journey
A well-travelled cowboy from Brazil has released stories from his adventures in a new book.
Now he's known for travelling across North America in the saddle, normally with a few other horses in tow.
A few years ago, he rode from the Stampede to Brazil, then to the southern tip of Argentina. Now he's getting ready for an Alaska-Calgary journey.
"I like to cover a lot of land but it's a beautiful way to see the world, you know? You're travelling really slowly, atop a horse, no noise," Leite told the Calgary Eyeopener. "I just got addicted to it."
Leite wrote a book about his journey to Brazil, Long Ride Home: Guts, Guns and Grizzlies, 800 Day Through the Americas in a Saddle, that has just been released in English.
The journalism grad also filmed much of his long-distance journeys for a production company called OutWild TV.
"It was a lifetime in a few years, so you can imagine I was sad, I was happy, I was scared," Leite said. "We met a grizzly bear in Montana that nearly killed us."
'Very scary moment'
His horses saved his life, he said, because they smelled the bear and became agitated. Leite spotted the bear and pulled out pepper spray given to him at an earlier stop by farmers.
"I'm staring at this pepper spray at this point the size of an iPhone 6," he said.
"And I'm like, 'What am I going to do with this bear. He's going to eat the Brazilian and then just burp out the spice. It's not going to work at all.' Very scary moment."
'Always an angel'
Part of the goal of his trip was to raise awareness to the drug war in Latin America, an effort which media covered at the time his journey finished in 2014. He said he witnessed multiple deaths, violence and families arming children.
"At the same time that I saw those dark points, there was so much happiness, so much joy. The people that helped me along the way was the most special part of the journey by far," Leite said.
"Every single day, 30 kilometres a day and there was always an angel to help me along the way."
Before immigrating to Canada as a child, Leite said his family was involved with horses in Brazil. But in Ontario, they couldn't afford such hobbies, and he said his first Christmas present in this country was a mini hockey stick.
As a teen, his father arranged a trip for him to western Canada with friends. They watched calf roping at the Stampede.
An opportunity, he said, that changed everything.
"The world just went into slow motion and I was like, this has been missing from my life. So as soon as I got back to Ontario I joined the high school rodeo association," Leite said.
"If it wasn't for the Calgary Stampede, I don't know if I would've ever gotten back into horses."
He is planning to start his next journey, Alaska to Calgary, next spring.
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | SOS signal received by international group triggers Alberta kayakers rescue
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Trudeau visits Hehr's Stampede breakfast as groping allegation lingers
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Cattle research group warns farmers of elevated anthrax risk
- Read more articles by CBC Calgary, like us on Facebook for updates and subscribe to our CBC Calgary newsletter for the day's news at a glance.
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.