The 2023 edition of the Calgary Stampede launched this July 7, getting an out-of-this-world start. The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth looked to the stars for this year’s parade marshal, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut, Jeremy Hansen.
Hansen, who is from London, Ontario and has a background as a fighter pilot, is set to become the first Canuck to visit the Moon as part of NASA’s 2024 Artemis II mission, the first manned mission to leave the Earth’s orbit since 1972. Wearing the customary white Stetson, jeans, and cowboy boots, Hansen looked the cowboy part as he led the parade last Friday to launch the 10-day event which has been taking place since 1912.
“This is pretty special. I am Christmas-kid kind of excited about riding Cisco today and being amongst all these cowboys,” Hansen told the CBC just before making his parade debut. “I am just a pretender today, I guess, but excited to be here. It feels good.”
Hansen said he turned to fellow Canadian spaceman Chris Hadfield, who was the first astronaut to be a parade marshal back in 2013, for advice on his parade debut. Hadfield offered up two choice tips: Make sure you ride your horse in advance and watch out for the fireworks. Sound advice! Hansen did get acquainted with his ride the day before, commenting on Facebook, “This may be my first Calgary Stampede, but not for my trusty ride Cisco! Cisco has been in numerous Stampede parades, and he was an absolute pleasure to ride yesterday. Looking forward to today!
And judging by the video, it looks like Hansen indeed had a great time.