It wasn’t their plan to visit Red Deer but an impromptu stop at Gasoline Alley’s Tim Hortons was a game-changer for the Davis family on Tuesday.
The Davises were apprehended and detained as part of Westerner Days Fair and Exposition’s guest family most wanted list. A vehicle bearing an out-of-province licence plate is pulled over every year and its occupants are “arrested” in what has become a popular tourism promotion.
The guest family, Malcolm Davis, Mariana Chatron and children Richard, 11, Preston, 10, and Delilah, seven, from Sorrento, B.C., were on their way to the Calgary Zoo when Red Deer City RCMP officer Const. Shaun Marchand pulled them over.
The Davis family was picked out of thousands of people who travel Hwy 2 on a daily basis.
“It was shocking,” Mariana said at the Red Deer Airport.
“We were sort of wondering why he stopped us and Malcolm had a look on his face like, ‘Oh no.’
“Then he told us and we were like, ‘What?’ It was pretty surprising.”
The 2012 guest family will enjoy a lunch from Glenn’s Family Restaurant, one night accommodation at the Red Deer Lodge, western wear from Jones Boys Saddlery and Western Wear and Westerner Park, a hair cut and style from Tangles Hair Studio, dinner at Earl’s, a vehicle for a day supplied by Southside Dodge Chrysler Jeep and RV Centre, gate admission and midway passes from Westerner Park and the North American Midway and gifts from the City of Red Deer, Tourism Red Deer and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the guest family also got to board the plane with the Canadian Forces parachute team the SkyHawks as they made their tandem jump.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime treat,” said Malcolm, who was in Central Alberta with his family to look for work.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Preston said. The 10-year-old was more excited about seeing the SkyHawks than going to the zoo.
The surprise was definitely a first for the family, who had never heard of Westerner Days before they were apprehended.
Past guests of Westerner Days Fair and Exposition have included families from across North American, from as far south as Naples, Fla., and as far away as Christchurch, New Zealand.