Calgary

Calgary Stampede Parade 2015: Thousands gather downtown for festivities

Hundreds of thousands of Calgarians got up at the crack of dawn to take in the kickoff to the Calgary Stampede, but no one was more excited than hometown girl Kaillie Humphries.

'I can honestly say being the parade marshal is a dream come true,' says Calgary bobsledder Kaillie Humphries

Hundreds of thousands of Calgarians got up at the crack of dawn to take in the kickoff to the Calgary Stampede, but no one was more excited than hometown girl Kaillie Humphries.

The two-time Olympic bobsled champion is the parade marshal for what is referred to as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Parade Marshal Kaillie Humphries says the rodeo is her favourite part of the Calgary Stampede. (CBC)

"I'm a product of this city and literally go the Stampede every year. It's ingrained. It's part of who I am," said Humphries.

"My family lives on a farm. We've got seven or eight horses. I've grown up riding and it's been a part of my life since I was a kid. I can honestly say being the parade marshal is a dream come true."

Humphries won the two-woman event at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and then successfully defended her title in 2014 in Sochi.

Last November, she piloted a mixed-gender team to the bronze medal in the Canadian four-man bobsled championships.

"This I prize very highly among the rest of all the other major accomplishments," she said.

"It made my day and my year so much better. I don't honestly think anything can top this."

More than 250K parade watchers expected

Previous marshals include Canadian actor William Shatner, astronaut Chris Hatfield, country singer Ian Tyson, Man in Motion Rick Hansen, Mickey Mouse, actors Leslie Nielsen, Jack Palance and Sam Elliot, as well as former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

An encore broadcast of the parade will air nationally on CBC-TV and cbcsports.ca on Saturday at noon.

More than 250,000 people line the streets of downtown Calgary every year for the Stampede parade.

Most businesses close and residents toss away suits and ties for cowboy hats, boots and jeans for the duration of the celebration of the cowboy way of life.

Humphries said the rodeo is her favourite part of Stampede.

"I honestly, first and foremost, love the rodeo," said Humphries.

"I love watching the chucks (chuckwagons) and as much as I think bull riders are insane, I enjoy watching them and I love the way this city transforms as well during Stampede."

The Stampede runs until July 12.

We'll feature a live blog on this page showcasing tweets from CBC personalities and Stampede fans.

Join the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #Stampede2015.

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