Bruce Roy is the longest-serving volunteer at the Calgary Stampede with 63 years of service and counting! He was once again the voice of the Heavy Horse Show this year, and happy to be back after the 2020 event was cancelled.
Born and raised in Southern Alberta, Roy knew right from the beginning that his place was at the barns. From his earliest memories of the Calgary Stampede back in 1943, Bruce wasn’t drawn to the midway like the other kids. The moment he saw the gentle giants that are the draft horses, it became the passion of a lifetime.
Roy has since become the voice of the Heavy Horse Shows and a very knowledgeable expert in the horses competing, recalling each of their background as simple facts. It is the family-like bond with the sport, horses and community that brings him back year after year.
Roy wishes his father, who took him to his very first Stampede, could be here now to see how far he has come. Roy says he would tell him all about “the descendants of the mares I raised throughout the years which have sold for four and five figures.” Throughout his life, Roy has always carried his father’s passion for the breed.
“The heavy horse world today is more active than any time I’ve ever known,” he said, remarking how the horses are increasing in price and popularity. Roy remembers the very first Percheron mare he bought for $300 dollars and says now they are going for as much as $120,000.
Seeing the Stampede as an annual carnival, annual exhibition and a great meeting place for Albertans, Roy thinks that the Stampede is the perfect place to showcase the heart of the province and western culture of draft horses as it has evolved over the last 63 years.
Roy has seen the Stampede through war, devastating floods and now a global pandemic.
“Calgary Stampede is the greatest. Long may it continue and long may the draft horses be part of it. They have been here since the time of the first Calgary fair, and here we are a century and a half later, and we are still showing the draft horses” said Roy.
And long may Bruce Roy reign as the king of the Calgary Stampede’s Heavy Horse Show.