Merle Mor­ton se­lected as Hand Hills Lake Stampede Rodeo Opener

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Merle Mor­ton... Terri Hux­ley The Drumheller Mail

Long time sup­porter and vol­un­teer, Merle Mor­ton, will be open­ing the 102nd Hand Hills Lake Stampede this com­ing June 1, 2, and 3.

Mor­ton has been in­volved with the widely known stampede since he was born. He lives only a mile away from the Stampede Grounds.

“I’ve been at ev­ery stampede. Out of my 77 years, I’ve been at 76 of them,” said Mor- ton. “I’ve been work­ing there since I was about 15 years old.” Mor­ton will wel­come peo­ple at­tend­ing and of­fi­cially call the week­end open un­der the an­nounc­ers stand in front of the chutes.

He has helped in ev­ery way imag­in­able in­clud­ing time as pres­i­dent of the Hand Hills Lake Stampede board.

“I was pretty near on ev­ery po­si­tion so those are prob­a­bly some of the rea­sons why I was cho­sen,” said Mor­ton.

The lo­cal man is pleased to be se­lected for such an event.

“I’m quite hon­oured they asked me,” said Mor­ton. “They asked me quite a few years ago. I fig­ured I was too young at the time to be per­fectly hon­est, so I said I’d open the 100th Stampede but they got some­body else so they asked me this year.”

The Hand Hills Lake Stampede Grounds are lo­cated 38 km east of Drumheller and 36 km south west of Hanna on Range Road 16-2 and Town­ship Road 29-4.

Merle, 11, and sib­lings Dar­lene and Barbara get ready to go to the Hand Hills Lake Stampede years ago. Mor­ton is one of eight chil­dren in his fam­ily and lives a mere mile away from the stampede grounds.

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