CALGARY — Two-time Olympic bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries traded in her helmet for a cowboy hat Wednesday as she was named parade marshal for this year’s Calgary Stampede.
Humphries rode to the site of the announcement sitting in a bobsled on the back of a wagon pulled by two horses. She jumped out, removed her helmet and put on the hat as her name was revealed.
“I’m the most excited about this. When I got the call I literally started jumping up and down and I almost peed my pants,” said Humphries, who grew up and trains in Calgary.
“Through and through I am Calgarian,” she added. “Although I travel the world and do a lot of stuff, country music is really what I’m about. My family owns horses and I’ve grown up riding. For me to be able to be Stampede parade marshal is an absolute honour.”
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 of being named marshal. “Man it made my day and my year so much better. I don’t honestly think anything can top this.”
Her enthusiasm contrasts with Canadian actor William Shatner, who was marshal in 2014. Shatner told reporters at the beginning of the parade that the thing he was most excited about was for it to be over.
Stampede president Bill Gray said there were other people up for consideration when the selection process began last fall, but in the end it wasn’t difficult to decide.
“For me this was a pretty easy choice because of the year that Kaillie’s had, two back-to-back Olympics and being the Canadian athlete of the year,” he said.
“Not too many Calgarians can say that, man or woman, so that was for me a very easy choice.”
Previous marshals include 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.
This year’s parade is on July 3.
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press