Prairie pachyderms at Hand Hills Lake Stampede
This year the Hand Hills Lake Stampede is celebrating its 100th year, and memories of its unique and exciting history are on the top of minds of many who have taken in the up-close and personal rodeo.
For Larry Rosin, one of theses unique memories is of elephants, and now he has photo proof.
“I can remember them, but a lot of people didn’t,” he tells The Mail.
He explains the committee has been working on a picture book to commemorate the rodeo, and as they researched, he talked about the elephants, but with no photo and not many others to corroborate, this one footnote in the Hand Hills history seemed destined to disappear.
He recalls vividly the elephant display that came with the Gayland Shows Midway.
Gayland Shows, according to the website Amusements of Western Canada, was one of the earlier shows out
of Western Canada, traced back as far as 1939. On its route were small town fairs and rodeos, throughout the prairie provinces and B.C.
Over the years it had a varied lineup including a wildlife menagerie, the monkey motordrome and dog and pony shows, to name a few.
Rosin, now 69, remembers the elephants when he was 11 or 12 years old.
“They had a show in a big tent, with other animals,” he recalls. “Ian Morri- son from Delia and a friend of his, they were 12 or 14. They were paid to pump water and take it to the elephants. They got paid 50 cents that day.”
He said the show would then move on to Hanna.
“I had been telling people for a couple years, but they would say ‘ no way,’” he chuckles.
Marilyn Vredegoor recalls Rosin talking about the elephants, but not many others had the same recollections.
"I remember that Larry did say ‘I remember the elephants’ and everyone kind of laughed at him,” she said. “Then I talked to Julie (Lenfesty) and she said she remembered something about it. Two weeks ago, she found the picture.”
While there might not be any elephants at this year’s event, it is shaping up to be a memorable show. As for Rosin, he is vindicated to learn his childhood memory has been confirmed. “I am glad they have a picture.” This year's Stampede will be held June 3,4, 5, 2016.
Julie Lenfesty came up with this photo dating from the 1950s of elephants at the Hand Hills Lake Stampede. It confirmed Larry Rosin’s memory of seeing the giant beasts at the rodeo. submitted