Submitted by Stettler Regional Board of Trade
May 30, 2023 at 8:48 am
The 14th Annual Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede Parade will start at 11:00 am on Saturday June 10, 2023. We are honoured to host Jim Long as the 2023 Honourary Parade Marshal.
Jim Long is a character in and of himself. With the skill of every new farmer in his blood, and the backbone of those from the past, Jim spends many hours reliving and sharing an incredible part of our western heritage with anyone who wants to take part.
Moving to Stettler forty years ago, Jim brought along with him a passion for hard work, and a love of horses. Using equipment of the past and true horsepower, many hours are spent in the fields from seed to harvest- tilling, planting, nurturing, threshing, stooking, and baling. But he never does it alone. Jim has several teams of the most magnificent and mild-mannered Clydesdales and Percheron cross horses you will ever meet. When you put them all together, you are provided with an experience you soon won’t forget; and more often than not it’s all in the name of community.
Wanting to educate the curious, Jim has offered many opportunities to learn the western way of life over the years. Partnering with Alberta Prairie Railway for a period, Jim and the horses provided the power for wagon treks across the prairies. These two-day excursions allowed partakers the chance to experience the slower pace of the past and enjoy the beauty the world has to offer. Assisting and promoting local organizations and not-for profits in the Stettler region each year, Jim brings back that nostalgic feeling of days gone by. Working closely with the Stettler P&H Elevator Preservation Society, Jim and the horses assist with the fields planted to grow the crops for their annual threshing demonstrations and fundraisers, which in turn allow the elevator to step closer to becoming a fully functional living museum. The annual event is open to the public and Jim takes every opportunity to educate the care and attention needed for the horses as well as the proper way to work the fields as they did back in the day.
Jim continues his community involvement with the Stettler Town and Country Museum, providing wagon rides and assisting with many of their local events. Even if he is not able to be an active participant, Jim is behind the scenes offering advice on the way it once was and providing guidance on how to recreate that experience. Annually, he assists the Stettler Festival of Lights fundraiser with winter hayrides for families to enjoy, bringing back that Norman Rockwell feeling at an important time of year. Assisting to expand the western experience, Jim provides horsepower at numerous weddings and family gatherings each year, including earning the dedicated trust of Santa Claus as he transports him around the area several times a season.
Jim has and continues to spend countless hours creating and providing opportunities where he shares his wagons with local groups touring the community simply to make everyone smile. Allowing each participant a turn learning how powerful the horses can be and showing the proper way to drive, his favorite of these excursions is spending time showing the horses to seniors and reminiscing with them about days gone by when they themselves were able to work with the steady steeds. Jim always has the time to stop and answer any questions, helping educate anyone, young or old, on the way things were done in the past and how horsepower was the only power back in the day.
Taking pride and patience in everything he does, Jim has been a well-known and often thought of figurehead in the community when it comes to agriculture and preserving our western heritage. His humble demeanour has proven time and again that Jim is not only an expert, but a man of great passion.
The 14th Annual Steel Wheel Stampede parade will be held on Saturday, June 10 starting at the Rotary Spray Park at 11:00 am.
A copy of the parade route map can be found at stettlerboardoftrade.com.
For a list of events and information on the Steel Wheel Stampede visit steelwheelstampede.com.