It will have a slightly different look, but the 7th annual Show Your Ride for Brandon Thomas remains a heartfelt tribute to a youth slain by an impaired driver that brings home the message "Don't Drink and Drive."
The auto community will be coming together this Sunday, Aug. 30 on lots 3 and 6 of the Calgary Stampede for an event approved by Alberta Health Services. Making sure all the COVID-19 safety measures in place may mean the gates won't open exactly at 7 a.m. sharp. There may be a slight delay.
Declared one of the best show and shines in Calgary last year, Show Your Ride has returned to a pristine location by the Big Four Building in the Stampede Park.
"That gives us probably double the footprint that we had last year, so we are able to do safe social distancing," says Kim Thomas, Brandon's mom who co-created the event with her daughter Kayla.
Brandon Thomas had just turned 17 shortly before he was killed by an impaired driver just outside town limits on Hwy. 22 south. He never got to wear cap and gown at his Cochrane High graduation.
In light of trying times for many, there won't be a set registration fee, says Kim Thomas
"We know this year has been financial tough for a lot of people," says Kim. "A lot of people laid off or jobs aren't there anymore so we're just asking for a donation. If you have a spare $20, $10 or 5 dollars, we're grateful for that. Just come. It's about the message, the "Don't Drive Impaired" message, not so much the money.
Money raised through the charitable event helps support an endowment at SAIT, Cochrane High scholarship, a victims funds and a number of other causes.
You can pre-register on line, but with such a short time line there's no need to pre-register.
There have been changes made to meet COVID-19 safety requirements and committee members are recommending people wear masks and bring along small bottle of hand santizer. There will be hand santizer stations and washrooms will be cleaned regularly.
When you get there, you'll be able to view the rides of other people, and there are some beauties. There's also a children's parade, a dyno, food trucks, and some raffle items.
At 3 p.m. there is a ceremony for Brandon.
People are asked to collect their disposable balloons (tied with a decomposable string) in advance and keep it in or tied to their vehicle. There will be the traditional rev for Brandon, followed by a few words from Kim, then the balloon launch.
There's also some trophies awarded for a number of different categories.
Through the ceremony, people are asked to stay by their vehicle rather than the tradition of gathering by the main stage.
Upon hearing the event was a go, emcee Brock Dennison booked a flight from new home in Winnipeg to come and participate. Sound is being provied by Zomongo and Derek Steman is the deejay.
The event runs until 5 p.m.