Ian Tyson named 100th Calgary Stampede parade marshal

The Calgary Stampede launched its 100-day countdown to its 100th year today by naming iconic western singer Ian Tyson as the 2012 parade marshal.
The Calgary Stampede launched its 100-day countdown to its 100th year Thursday. 2:14

The Calgary Stampede launched its 100-day countdown to its 100th year today by naming iconic western singer Ian Tyson as the 2012 parade marshal.

Ian Tyson joked that he will try not to get everyone lost on Stampede parade day.

The longtime Alberta rancher said he was surprised by the choice.

Ian Tyson's career as a western singer has spanned five decades and his love of western heritage is well known. (CBC)

"I knew there was kind of a movement afoot, but I didn’t think they were going to choose me, so I’ve got to get my old horse ready," said Tyson.

The head of the Stampede says they wanted to pick an iconic parade marshal who represented western values.             

Michael Casey says Ian Tyson was at the top of that list.

In addition, the Stampede will honour its historical partnership with First Nations people by inviting the seven chiefs of Treaty 7 to ride as honourary parade marshals.

Thousands showed up at Olympic Plaza to celebrate the 100-day mark before the Stampede's centennial.

Pancakes and white hats were handed out and Paul Brandt performed.