Couple celebrates chance meeting 40 years ago at Stampede
Published Saturday, July 7, 2012 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 7, 2012 11:55PM EDT
This year one couple will celebrate their 40-year romance on the grounds of the Calgary Stampede, the very place where they met by chance four decades ago and fell in love.
Over its 100-year existence the Calgary Stampede has welcomed visitors from near and far to celebrate the best of Alberta and its culture.
Over time families have flocked to the Stampede to enjoy the sights, snacks and sounds with their loved ones.
This year, on the 100th anniversary of the famous rodeo exhibition, one couple will be returning to the fairgrounds to celebrate another important anniversary-- the anniversary of their meeting.
As it turns out, their love would not have been possible if it were not for the Stampede.
John Ravenhorst remembers first noticing his wife Linda at the 1971 Stampede. John was from Chatham, Ont., and Linda was from Portland, Oregon.
They spent the day together, enjoying the midway and all the Stampede had to offer.
John told CTV News that even now, four decades later, he remembers the meeting like it was yesterday.
“There was definitely a connection, some chemistry that we didn’t know the full extent of,” he said.
But their happy day together came to an end.
Linda returned to Oregon and John was to remain in Calgary, and that might have been the end of their story were it not for John’s next moves.
John remembered that both he and Linda had entered a draw to win a set of encyclopedias at the Stampede.
So the next day he returned to the Stampede in search of Linda’s ticket with her contact details on it.
“I went back to the barrel and fished out her name,” he said. “I sent her a postcard.”
The couple still has that postcard. It’s a bit worn and the ink is faded, but it remains lovingly in their possession.
Linda remembers feeling surprised the day she received John’s postcard.
“I thought ‘What have you done this time Linda?’” she said.
But Linda decided to reply to John’s initial postcard. And over time, postcards turned to phone calls, turned to letters and a year later the couple was married.
Linda moved to Ontario and the couple went on to have three sons. The family eventually moved to Florida where they remain to this day.
And just as chance played a hand in their original meeting in 1971, it also played a huge role in their decision to return to Calgary this year.
The couple learned of the Stampede’s 100th anniversary while visiting their son in the military.
Their son showed the couple a poster advertising this year’s Stampede.
“There was a travel agency and a big poster on the wall and it said, ‘100-year anniversary of the Calgary Stampede,’” said Linda.
“He asked ‘Are you going Mom?’ I said ‘I guess we better.’”
And so this weekend in Calgary, amid crowds of other Stampede-going families, John and Linda will celebrate two very important anniversaries.
With a report from CTV’s Calgary Bureau Chief Janet Dirks