For SAIT’s 100th birthday: Stories of SAIT and the Stampede’s shared history

SAIT is turning 100 this year–pretty incredible. Did you know that SAIT may not have reached this momentous birthday if it wasn’t for the Calgary Stampede? During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force used SAIT’s buildings as a Wireless Radio Training School for Allied soldiers. Rather than see the school shut down, the Stampede stepped up and offered SAIT space to run its classes. SAIT used the Grandstand as its temporary school until 1944, and even ran classes in July.

SAIT teaching under the Stampede Grandstand 1940

SAIT teaching under the Stampede Grandstand, 1940

The partnership between SAIT and the Stampede continues to live on. Chuckwagon drivers Ray Mitsuing, Jess Willard, Mark Sutherland and Luke Tournier all took a turn racing under The Friends of SAIT Chuckwagon Team canvas between 2003 and 2009.

SAIT Chuckwagon tarp

Then in 2015, SAIT’s Culinary Campus and the Stampede joined forces to host the Pancake Parade, a celebration of pancakes from around the world.

SAIT STAMPEDE PANCAKES

Today, the president of the SAIT student association, Gar Gar, also works at the Stampede. Gar escaped the horrors of the Sudanese Civil War in 2005. He did not speak a word of English when he arrived here in Canada. Eleven years later, Gar graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from SAIT. Gar works as a part time security guard at the Stampede and has fallen in love with western hospitality. He was a 2016 White Hat Nominee and rode in the 2016 parade, cheered on by 100 SAIT alumni who made up a sea of red shirts along the parade route, a memory that he, his wife and two children still talk about.

Gar gar

SAIT’s birthday celebration takes place on October 16. Festivities include a free BBQ, a family zone and kids’ activities, a performance by Dan Mangan and…fireworks! The event is free but you need to RSVP. You can find full event details here.

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