Red Deer is pulling out all the stops by using a homegrown celebrity to wow the Canada Winter Games bid evaluation committee in August.
Former Red Deerians Ron and Cari MacLean were named honorary chair members to the city’s bid committee for the 2019 Canada Winter Games at a press conference on Tuesday.
Ron MacLean called the honour a “thank you” card. The MacLeans, who now call Oakville, Ont., home, attended the news conference in Red Deer via teleconference.
MacLean said many, many people in Red Deer shaped Cari’s and his love of sport and drove all the possibilities for them. The two spent their high school years in the city.
The sportscaster and eight-time Gemini winner said Red Deer has always been an exciting city with its first-rate facilities such as Canyon Ski Hill and the natural beauty of the Red Deer River. He talked about the wonderful local sports and volunteer community and the athletes that went on to compete in the Canada Games and the Olympics.
He said it’s Red Deer’s turn to step onto the national stage.
“I just know what a great (city) it is,” said MacLean. “It would be so great to showcase it to the future Olympians, the people who (use) the Canada Games as a launch pad. It will be just a real treat for them to experience Red Deer as part of their road to the Olympics.”
Cari MacLean said they are extremely honoured to be part of the committee because Red Deer is near and dear to their hearts. The couple have family and friends in Red Deer.
Darcy Mykytyshyn, bid committee member, said the honorary chairs were selected because of their community spirit, proven track record for helping the community, passion for sport and sport development and the ability to light up a room.
Mykytyshyn said it is very clear they have passion for a community that they only get to visit a few times a year.
On Aug. 22, the city will host the Red Deer is Ready Rally in the downtown. Residents are asked to pack the streets wearing red from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature music, arts, culture, sports, food and 29 bouncy castles.
The MacLeans will be on hand to act as tour guides for the games group and to partake in some of the festivities.
“We need to pull out all stops and showcase Red Deer,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “In order for us to do that we need our citizens to participate.”
Veer said they want to show the committee that Red Deer has what it takes to pull off a remarkable games and “one of the best games they have ever seen.”
Mykytyshyn said the event is not only about the bid evaluation committee but a community celebration.
“A small group of people put the bid together and now it is the time for the community as a whole to be part of the process,” he said.
Stay up-to-date on the festivities by visiting Red Deer is Ready on Facebook and Twitter and online at www.reddeer.ca