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Diasporian News of Sunday, 3 August 2014

Source: bamendacity.com

Bamenda City Council partcicpate in Calgary Stampede

On the instructions of the Prime Minister and Head of Government, H.E. Philemon Yang, on the 3rd of June 2014, a Bamenda City Council delegation, led by the Government Delegate, Mr. Vincent Nji Ndumu, participated at the 2014 Calgary Stampede in Canada.

The delegation arrived at Calgary on Thursday, 3rd July 2014 and was warmly welcomed by H.E. Solomon Azoh-Mbi, the Cameroon High Commissioner to Canada, who led them to visit the different personalities and officials of the Calgary Stampede, and were genuinely impressed with the presentations, discussions and the question and answer sessions that followed. At the end of each visit, the Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council presented special gifts from Bamenda to the authorities and high level officials, including the Mayor of Calgary.

The special gifts were deeply appreciated by all the recipients and they promised to be of help in staging a similar Stampede back in Bamenda.

The Calgary Stampede is an annual Rodeo Exhibition and Festival, held every July in Calgary, Alberta.

The Calgary Stampede is a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit organisation, which preserves and promotes western culture, heritage and values. The ten-day event, which prides itself as the GREATEST OUTDOOR SHOW ON EARTH, attracts over one million visitors each year, and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, stage shows, midway, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuck wagon (chariot) racing, and first nations exhibitions.

Organised by thousands (over 2,500) of volunteers, the Stampede has grown into one of the world’s richest rodeos, one of Canada’s largest festivals, and a significant tourist attraction for the City.

The economic, social and cultural benefits of the Calgary Stampede are huge, indeed. Calgary’s national and international identity is tied to the event: “Stampede City” or “Cow-town.” It must be noted that other African official delegations to the Stampede could be spotted at this year’s event, namely Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and Kenya.

The 2014 Calgary Stampede offered good experience for a similar event to be envisaged for Bamenda, specifically at the designated site at the Bamenda I Sub Divisional Council area. All that is needed is sufficient awareness, meticulous preparations and good timing, and such an event shall offer Bamenda in particular, and the entire North West Region in general, a historic facelift, an economic growth through business opportunities, and employment to the many youths being turned out annually from our training institutions and Universities.

Though the Bamenda I Sub Divisional Council area may be some kilometres away from the City Centre, it has the peculiarity of being at the main entrance to the City; and just like the Calgary Stampede, which was introduced in the locality of Calgary 102 years ago to bring it to its present world class status, we intend to introduce a golf course here, and to build some hotels and other state-of-the-art facilities to accompany the BAMENDA HIGHLANDS STAMPEDE (BHS).

Were we to locate this event in the City Centre of Bamenda, we would never find the necessary land for such mammoth infrastructure that shall go into this venture; reason why the technical commission opted for this locality.

Thus, the wealth of experience and documentation acquired from the Calgary Stampede would be vital for the development of horse racing and rodeo in Bamenda; and considering that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, initiating a horse race of hope in Bamenda within the next two years, shall be a non-negligible input.

After all, Bamenda and the North West Region have the needed human, intellectual, material and financial resources to kick-start this venture under the auspices of the Bamenda City Council, with political, financial and moral support from Government.

As such, under the egis of the Prime Minister and Head of Government, the Bamenda City Council looks forward, within the coming weeks, to organising a strategy planning meeting to set the foundation and framework in this regard, followed by extensive information sessions with stakeholders and the selection of stock breeds for horse racing in the North West Region, in collaboration with some identified Calgary Stampede experts and consultants, who have readily availed themselves to offer some institutional support.