Stamps' horse may miss Grey Cup

It's a tradition that defines the Calgary Stampeders — riding Quick Six up and down the sidelines after a touchdown. But Toronto's Rogers Centre says he won't be doing that during Sunday's Grey Cup — he'll have to stay in the paddock.

'No horses allowed — that's my policy,' says Argo defensive end Ricky Foley

Quick Six may not be making an appearance at this year's Grey Cup because the stadium says it wouldn't be safe. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press )

Quick Six — one of the best-known members of the Calgary Stampeders — probably won't be in the stadium when his team meets the Toronto Argonauts in the Grey Cup on Sunday.

Quick Six is a horse, and the Rogers Centre says he won't be allowed to perform his patented run up and down the sidelines, which he does every time the Stamps score a touchdown. 

"We are just sitting, waiting to hear whether we are going to Grey Cup or not," said Karyn Drake, who has been riding the Calgary touchdown horse for nearly two decades.

She said there have always been concerns about safety in past Grey Cup years. Drake said while she is not always able to take her own horse, especially for trips to Toronto, she hopes the Calgary touchdown horse can make an appearance.

"It's a space concern," said Matt Maychak, vice president of communications for the CFL, explaining the decision. "There ... is no space for the horse to be, let alone to run back and forth after touchdowns."

Maychak acknowledged that the horse's gallop along the sidelines is a long-standing tradition, but just not safe.

"We'd love to make it happen ... but between extra television cameras for the Grey Cup with extra staging, an area reserved for TSN where their panel is up on a stage — as well there's virtually no space around the sidelines and the configuration of this particular stadium — to make room for the horse," he said. 

Some members of the Argonauts said they're happy to see the horse put out to pasture.

"I don't really think they should be allowed to have a horse in there. I mean they wouldn't let us go and bring a boat [into their stadium] and start rowing it on their sidelines if the Grey Cup was hosted in Calgary. So no horses allowed — that's my policy," said Argo defensive end Ricky Foley when asked for his take on the controversy.

Offensive lineman Wayne Smith had a different view on whether or not to allow Quick Six into the stadium.

"You know what if they can't score, the horse can't run," he said.

But there may be a compromise in the works. Stampeders fans shouldn't lose hope just yet, says Maychak.

"We're still trying to make room for the Stampeders' horse.  We'd still love to see the touchdowns celebrated that way, but right now we're running into a lot of road blocks. We're trying to work with Rogers Centre to solve them, but right now it doesn't look good." 

Fans who want to see a Calgary Stampeders horse can check one out on Thursday as the Calgary Grey Cup Committee attempts to follow an even stranger tradition — parading a horse through the lobby of Toronto's famous Royal York Hotel — just like rowdy Calgary fans did in 1948. 

With files from the CBC's Natalie Kalata in Toronto