Down at the grounds, ominous clouds were spotted rolling in fast around 4 p.m. No one thought much of it , most expecting a bit of drizzle before the day was out. Then, very quickly, the hail was coming down so thick you couldn’t see ten feet in front of you.
It piled up two inches thick in the corners of the midway while water poured down the middle of the streets. The drains were overwhelmed and stampede-goers were diving under tents, awnings and into buildings to avoid the storm.
At one point, the hail was coming down so thick and so fast, it almost looked like a snowstorm in July. And if you’re a true-blue Calgarian, you’ve seen one or two of those in your lifetime.
The barns, out of all the areas on the grounds, were hit the worst. There was water up to the knees, thick with manure and mud. Golf carts almost couldn’t make it through the pools of brown water, but the horses seemed to have no trouble.
The evening’s Put the Boots to Hunger sponsor, Fluor, was rained out for most of the evening while crews attempted to drain the water and attend to the wounded, one of our employees included!
But as far as the racing goes, we weren’t sure how this would affect our first-place driver.
“It hurts your visibility,” Gorst said. “You just got to keep going and be a little cautious.”
Gary said he’s optimistic, adding that his win the night before has made him feel better, especially since he’s racing on a borrowed wagon after an axel broke the day before.
We had a bit of a sweet tooth this afternoon before the storm hit, so we visited one of the food bank’s favourite food vendors down here at the Stampede, the Alberta Milk Stampede Cookie Shack!
Not only is it the cheapest food in the park, but all the proceeds go to the Calgary Food Bank! Last year was a record year, raising over $16,000 for us! That’s one way to Put the Boots to Hunger.